Map Monday: Saint Paul’s Rondo Neighborhood, c. 1950-1960

Here’s a (crap image of a) map spotted at the recent Selby Avenue Jazz Fest, showing landmarks of the old Rondo Avenue neighborhood. I was told by the people staffing the tent here that this map and research were done with help from the Minnesota Historical Society, and that a copy of this map is available for purchase there.

Here’s my photo collage [click to embiggen]:

The destruction of the African-American Rondo neighborhood for the construction of I-94 in the mid-1960s is a well-known story, but the exact layout and street grid of the old neighborhood is difficult to imagine today. This kind of map allows people who were too young to remember Saint Paul in the pre-freeway days to get a sense of what the old neighborhood might have been like.

[See also, The Theory Behind the 1935 Saint Paul Slum Map, History Theater’s “The Highwaymen” Hit on Some Crucially Unexplored Themes, Then & Now: Rice and University and Map Monday: Twin Cities Redlining (HOLC) Map, 1934.]

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2 thoughts on “Map Monday: Saint Paul’s Rondo Neighborhood, c. 1950-1960

  1. Karen

    Thanks. That street grid looks so appealing. Sad.

    My dad worked for State of MN architects office (VA, prisons etc) and when my parents first moved to Twin Cities in late 60s, my mom recalls many people (white people of course) in state government bragging to her about how putting in 94 got rid of undesirable ghettos. This wasn’t a bug of the interstate system but apparently to them, a feature.

    How are the plans to put a lid over 94 in this area progressing? Hope that can become community owned land that can be there for betterment of the neighborhood.

  2. Chris

    Adam ruins everything did a great bit that gives a little more context to the problem (link below). Black people were explicitly pushed out of many housing markets before land and housing prices skyrocketed so they weren’t able to benefit from the added equity of owning a home. Destroying Rondo wasn’t just morally wrong, it hurt St. Paul’s black populations’ ability to move up the economic ladder.

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