Having walked the eastern, park-dominated part of the Ericsson neighborhood on day 1 and half of the west on day 2, I was ready to finish off the rest of the west. In the route map below, the light blue tint indicates the full neighborhood, the dark blue line indicates the circuitous main path between two stops on the number 46 bus, and the red lines show spurs off of that main route, walked forward then back.
As I remarked on day 2, the 46th Street Station (point A) is home not only to light rail and bus stations, but also a mixed-used development. This consists of the Oaks Station Place apartments on the west and south sides of the lot and the forthcoming Venn Brewing Company, which is under construction in the ground floor of the southeast end.
South of 46th Street, the bicycle/pedestrian trail along Hiawatha Avenue moves west of the soundwall, so that it is between that wall and Minnehaha Creek rather than between the avenue and the light rail tracks. The following photo was taken once I turned west onto Minnehaha Parkway; you can see that another branch of the trail continues at grade level under the parkway’s bridge.
I took a photo of 3718 Minnehaha Parkway East not because it is an attractive house and garden (though it is) but because of what goes on inside and in particular what will be going on there (and elsewhere) this weekend. The little red sign to the right of the door announces that this is Laughing Waters Studio, where Bob Schmitt paints in a Chinese style. A larger temporary lawn sign (not shown) identifies it as site 62 for the LoLa Art Crawl, which the League of Longfellow Artists is staging September 16–17, 2017. I hope you are reading this before that is past! This was the first LoLa sign I saw but not the last; rather than pointing each out, I suggest you look at their web page for the full list.
After also exploring the 3600 block of the parkway, I turned north on 37th Avenue, toward the creek, stopping to photograph one of the many flowering plantings I saw in boulevards. My route then took me along the southern creekside on 47th Street and 38th Avenue, returning to 35th Avenue. The houses had a similar mix of ages and styles to what I had seen elsewhere in the neighborhood, with one possible addition. I don’t recall having previously seen any 20×20 one-story cottages, whereas I saw a smattering of them this day, starting with one in the 4700 block of 38th Avenue South.
The parkland along the creek is generally a rather narrow strip, but there are larger pockets wherever the creek’s meandering course turns a corner, presumably because the Park Board had to acquire land in rectangular, compass-aligned lots. This is particularly evident between 34th and 35th Avenues, where there are larger areas both north and south of an S bend. I saw the southern one as I turned south on 35th Avenue and then took a one-block westward spur on Minnehaha Parkway.
After returning to the east on the parkway, I headed north on 36th Avenue, crossing a pedestrian bridge over the creek. As usual, this afforded a good vantage point.
To the north of the creek, I crossed Crosby Place (which I was saving for later) and continued to 46th Street. West of Oaks Station Place, the otherwise unremarkable streetscape of 46th Street taught me a lesson about lighting technologies. A streetlamp post loudly announced that it was “INDUCTION TEST LIGHT BLOCK B,” part of the 46th Street Pilot Lighting Project, an exploration of the practical realities of energy-efficient, low-maintenance streetlights. (I also later saw Block A.) I knew what an LED lamp is, but until this I didn’t know about magnetic induction lamps, which are similar to fluorescent tubes but with the gas excited by an external electromagnet, rather than by penetrating electrodes.
At 9:30 in the morning, learning about lighting while outdoors on a sunny day may be the most excitement I can hope for. The brewery immediately to my east wouldn’t have been open at that hour, even if it weren’t still under construction. And likewise for Bull’s Horn Food & Drink, which I encountered just to the west, at the corner with 34th Avenue. The demolition and construction materials in the parking lot give some small clue as to how extensive the current remodeling is. They also partially obscure the work-in-progress mural of Lake Hiawatha that John Grider is painting on the rear wall. (I thank him for permission to show it here.) Photos of many completed murals are on the Broken Crow collaborative web site.
The side of the Bull’s Horn building and its corner entrance reveal the decorative details from the streetcar era enhanced by the patina of age. The weathered wooden frame on the upper part of the window was until recently hidden behind siding. Will the paint likewise be stripped off the brick? I don’t know. I regret having walked this neighborhood too early to see the completed project and to sample the wares, but I’ll be back.
Retreating back eastward on 46th Street to 35th Avenue, I initially turned south in order to walk Crosby Place. This took me along the northern of the two atypically large pockets of creekside parkland, which I previously mentioned. It also took me to the T intersection of Crosby Place with 34th Avenue, which according to Google Maps didn’t exist. (They showed Crosby ending in a cul-de-sac about two-thirds of the way to 34th Avenue. This may be fixed in the meantime, as I’ve reported it.) From an automobile perspective, the truth isn’t much different; the intersection is blocked by planters. However, for a pedestrian, that’s no barrier. Had I known the truth when doing my route planning, I could have done less backtracking and saved myself a couple tenths of a mile.
Throughout this area, I saw gardens signed as pollinator friendly and watershed friendly. I’d add pedestrian friendly to that list. Certainly all of the smaller details would be lost to anyone going by at the speed of an automobile rather than a pedestrian or insect. Take, for example, this diminutive plant growing on a street corner.
From Crosby Place, I took 35th Avenue back northward, continuing until it curves into westbound 44th Street. That street brought me along the front of St. Helena Catholic School, which consists of an original portion from 1925 and addition from 1950. The following photo is centered on the junction between these two.
Turning north on 30th Avenue, as I neared the northern border of the neighborhood (42nd Street), I once again found myself unable to resist photographing a boulevard planting.
Even though this day I only walked two blocks of 42nd Street, that was enough to see an interesting assortment of commercial buildings. Twin City Scale Company is “one of the most recognized scale companies in the Upper Midwest” while Nokomis Pet Clinic serves “the companion animals of the Minneapolis Nokomis Community and surrounding neighborhoods.” (The two different geographic scopes make sense in light of the respective businesses.) There’s also a chiropractic clinic, just visible at the right of the pet clinic’s photo.
Some of the beauty I see while walking doesn’t make a good photo. Trees feature prominently in this phenomenon. I see lots of good-looking trees but almost always am disappointed by the photos I take of them. Thus, I was happy when the foliage over 29th Avenue proved amenable to photography. But still not as happy as the experience of having actually been there!
From 29th Avenue, I turned east on 43rd Street. That took me between the two remaining components of the St. Helena campus. (I had seen the school on 44th Street.) To the north of 43rd Street, the building now holding parish offices for St. Helena Catholic Church was built in 1950 as a convent. Notice that the windows on the west wing and central section are plain, whereas the front part of the east wing has arched windows (and an arched niche) on the ground floor. I suspect this was a chapel within the convent.
On the south side of 43rd Street is the church itself. Because of lighting issues, I wasn’t able to get a decent photo from the front, but once I wrapped around onto 33rd Avenue, I was able to get an adequate side view.
The 33rd Avenue side of the campus also gave me a back view of the school. The sober brick building got a colorful accent from the dragons parked by it. What was that about? By then, it was no mystery to me, as I had passed plenty of signs advertising the Autumn Daze Festival, September 15–17, 2017.
By this point, my walk was almost over. Indeed, I had already passed through the 43rd Street bus stop (point B on my map) and just needed to wrap back around to it. This entailed following 33rd Avenue as far south as 46th Street, then 34th Avenue back north again. This little loop had its own payoffs. Two of them were at the intersection of 46th Street with 34th Avenue.
On the southwest corner of this intersection is a duplex. So what? I see plenty of duplexes. But of all the different styles of duplex in Minneapolis, this is probably the rarest: ranch-style with garages in the middle. And on the northeast corner, I got a more complete view of the building housing Bull’s Horn and the Freshly Cut barber shop.
The northern end of that block has another streetcar-era retail building. I photographed the corner door on day two as I walked past on 45th Street. Now that I was on 34th Avenue, I could photograph Frameadelic Custom Framing, Scott Garber Glass Studio, and Twisted Groove Handcrafted Gift Emporium, which offers “tie-dye clothing for everyone.” That seemed like a fitting note to end on after twisting my way through a neighborhood full of color.
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 September 14, 2017. We’re sharing them here at streets.mn.