Walking All the Streets in Northern East Harriet

Gardens, artwork, and other points of interest gave me plenty to look at in the northern half of East Harriet, notwithstanding that I walked past far fewer residences than in the southern half. The two walks were of similar length (7.2 and 7.4 miles), but this second one circumnavigated a large area of cemetery and parkland.

The starting and ending point of my loop was at the boat launch on the northern shore of Lake Harriet. This is also where Wheel Fun Rentals rents kayaks, paddle boats, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, and bicycles. At 7am, the rentals were not yet available, but some people were fishing from personal boats.

Wheel Fun Rentals at Lake Harriet

Fishing on Lake Harriet

By following the northern shore of the lake, I came to Roseway Road, which as the name suggests has the Lyndale Park Rose Garden along one side. I didn’t go into the garden, but even its fence was home to some pretty flowers.

Lyndale Park Rose Garden Fence

At the Lyndale Park Rose Garden Fence

Less apropos to the road’s name, it also runs alongside others of the Lyndale Park Gardens: the Annual and Perennial Garden, the Perennial Trial Garden, and a personal favorite of mine, the Peace Garden, which includes both arid areas and water features.

Lyndale Peace Garden Arid Zone

Lyndale Peace Garden Waterfall

The Peace Garden is adjacent to the eastern entry of the Roberts Bird Sanctuary, a narrow strip of wetland between Lake Harriet and Lakewood Cemetery. I’ve enjoyed walking through there on other occasions but decided to leave it out of the scope of this day’s walk. Instead, I continued up Roseway to Dupont Avenue (King’s Highway).

These two roads took me past six of the seven sculptural cairns that constitute the Pathway to Peace. I saw the seventh later, at 40th and Bryant. (Technically, that’s the first rather than the seventh — the pathway leads to the Peace Garden, not away from it.) Each has a limestone pedestal topped with a collection of stones specific to the particular cairn. The pedestals are engraved with pairs of words, which are useful for contemplation because they shift into different combinations as one walks around the cairn, alternating between looking at a flat face and looking at a corner where two faces come together. For example “be simplicity” shifts to “simplicity — be softness,” which in turn shifts to “be softness — live,” and then “live softness.” The installation was created by Teri Kwant and Greg Ingraham in conjunction with Hoesington Koegler Group Inc., 1999–2003, as part of the Neighborhood Gateways program.

A Pathway to Peace Cairn (Detail)

After taking Dupont Avenue all the way to 36th Street, I backtracked to 37th Street for an eastward traverse to Lyndale Avenue, ending with another backtrack, this time to Aldrich Avenue. Before heading south on Aldrich to 41st Street, I explored northward to 36th. Among other things, that allowed me to see another example (as in the southern part of neighborhood) of a 1920s apartment building that was converted into condos. The Richelieu, built in 1923, has 14 2-bedroom units.

Richelieu, 3603 Aldrich Ave. S. (1923)

I used 41st Street to shift one block eastward to Lyndale, which I initially took north as far as 38th Street before returning to 39th. As I crossed 40th, I noted that it is a commercial node — there’s Harriet’s Inn and Larue’s boutique on the southwest and northwest corners, plus a couple other commercial buildings further into this block of 40th.

Harriet’s Inn, 4000 Lyndale Ave. S.

Larue’s 3952 Lyndale Ave. S.

One house on 39th Street fascinated me because of how a small modification had utterly transformed it from a basic rectangular box to an exemplar of the streamline moderne style. Going by the building permit index card, the house began in 1904 as a 24-by-28-foot frame dwelling. Next, in 1944 it gained a 12-by-14-foot addition in the back. (You can barely see the corner of the addition in the far right of the photo.) That additional space would have been valuable from a functional standpoint, but it would have left the style unchanged. But then in 1950, there were “minor alterations” to the dwelling. I would bet anything that those minor alterations included converting the front entryway into an enclosed vestibule, using glass block to provide light and the sleekly curved corner. Certainly that can’t date from 1904 — glass block wasn’t mass produced in the US until the 1930s. In the 1930s and 1940s, this kind of curved glass-block wall became common in architect-designed commercial buildings. By 1950, it was ready to come home to an ordinary house on an ordinary street.

719 39th St. W. (1904, 1944, and 1950)

At Byrant Avenue, 39th Street terminates at Lyndale Farmstead Recreation Center. I was able to continue, though, crossing diagonally through Lyndale Farmstead Park to the corner of 40th and Dupont. A sharp turn onto 40th took me eastward along the southern border of the park, from which I could see the Theodore Wirth Home and Administration Building, the convoluted history of which is well worth reading.

Theodore Wirth Home and Administration Building

Crossing back over Bryant Avenue on 40th Street, the northwest corner contains more 14-unit apartment buildings from 1922 — interesting to me because of their continuity with what I saw elsewhere. The southwest corner, on the other hand, has a commercial building that I found interesting precisely because its tenants were new to me.

Facing Bryant Avenue, the Farmstead Bike Shop strikes me as a brilliantly located business, in that a large number of bicyclists pass it; Bryant Avenue is a designated bike boulevard. Meanwhile, the 40th Street side of the building has the entry for The Warming House, which describes itself as “a listening room,” that is, a place for listening to live music in an intimate setting (audience capacity 40). Organized as a nonprofit, it has been open since May of 2016. The Star Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider has more background on it and similar venues.

After exploring 40th Street, I returned to Colfax Avenue, which I took to 41st prior to returning northward on Bryant. At a bar recently, someone asked me what the point was of walking every block even in residential areas: isn’t one block of houses much like the next? To which I could now reply, yes, but how many of them have rooster sculptures out front?

Rooster Sculpture Outside 4037 Colfax Ave. S.

Incidentally, if anyone recognizes the artist who created this sculpture, I’d like to give credit. The homeowner tells me they bought it at an estate sale without any information about its origin.

On the northeast corner of Bryant Avenue and 38th Street, the Walker Methodist Health Center is a skilled nursing facility. Immediately north of it in the same campus (and visually similar), Walker Methodist Place provides independent and assisted living apartments for seniors.

Walker Methodist Health Center, 3737 Bryant Ave. S.

On the northwest corner of 37th and Bryant, the Remington stands as another example of a 1920s apartment building, this one from later in the decade (1929). Although only two stories plus a garden level, it has enough footprint to accommodate 8 one-bedroom units, 2 two-bedroom units, and 3 efficiency or studio units.

The Remington, 3654 Bryant Ave. S. (1929)

At the northern border of the neighborhood, where Bryant Avenue meets 36th Street, a vibrant mural celebrating “LOVE” has newly been painted on the side of Calhoun Pet Supply by brookita corazón (artist name for Brook Helen Thompson) and Jesse Quam, who collaborate under the name Meta Project. I gratefully acknowledge their permission to reproduce it here.

Love Mural (Meta Project, 2017), Bryant Ave. S. at 36th St. W.

To the west of Bryant on 36th, Our Kitchen attracts a breakfast and lunch crowd disproportionate to its 42-by-60-foot size. In fact, the facility is even more heavily utilized, in that on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, “Curry Diva” Heather Jansz pops up there.

Our Kitchen, 813 60th St. W.

I’d been walking long enough to deserve a second breakfast, so I went in and took a seat at the counter. Most people seemed to be ordering standard breakfast-menu items: eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns, sausage, omelets, toast, coffee. Bold adventurer that I am, I strayed from the printed menu to the hand-written slips taped to the walls, which offered eggs benedict. Given the size of the hashbrown portions and that I had already had one breakfast, I was grateful that there was an option for a one-egg version.

As I waited, I watched owner Danny Ziegler working steadily to keep up with not only the on-site clientele but also a significant number of orders to go. I couldn’t say for sure, but he may be the hardest-working man in Minneapolis. Given that nearly every order included hashbrowns, he constantly kept much of the flat-top covered with staggered batches of them all the while he was cooking individual eggs, pancakes, and omelettes. Practice clearly makes perfect, in that when my order came, the hashbrowns were cooked to perfection. They were right up to but not across the line: every bit of the potatoes’ flavor was extracted without any burnt bitterness. (And should anyone not appreciate the mild flavor of well-cooked potatoes, the counters have four different hot sauces: the local Cry Baby Craig’s as well as CholulaFrank’s Red Hot, and Tabasco.)

As to the benedict itself, I’ve shown it in its half-eaten state in order to illustrate the distinguishing feature of this particular benedict’s construction. The smoked, cured pork product (ham or Canadian bacon) here takes the form of a thick stack of thin slices, which contribute a lot of flavor.

Half-Eaten Egg Benedict at Our Kitchen

After breakfast, I continued east on Bryant to Lyndale, then south to 38th, west to Dupont, back to Colfax, and north to 36th, where I was finally ready for the long westward shot past the Lakewood Cemetery. Along the way, I passed auto service and parts businesses, a park maintenance and forestry site, and more single-family and apartment housing. One standout was the house on the northwest corner of Lyndale Avenue and 38th Street, which is decorated with an eclectic assortment of items, most notably a painting by the artist Limpio, who granted permission for this reproduction.

3752 Lyndale Ave. S. (Limpio, circa 2015)

Lakewood Cemetery is an enormous site (operated as a nonprofit) that houses Minneapolis decedents famous and otherwise dating back to 1871, and yet still has room for more.

Lakewood Cemetery Entrance on 36th St. (3600 Hennepin Ave. S.)

Before returning to my starting point via William Barry Parkway, I walked along the small portion of Lake Calhoun that is within the East Harriet neighborhood. This includes a fishing pier. Across the street from the lake is a station for the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, which uses restored historic cars.

Lake Calhoun Fishing Pier

Como-Harriet Streetcar Stop

Editor’s Note: Max Hailperin is walking each of Minneapolis’ 87 neighborhoods, in alphabetical order. He chronicles his adventures at allofminneapolis.com, where the original version of this article was published July 9, 2017. We’re sharing them here at streets.mn.

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