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It Began With a Tyrannosaurus

September 2, 2019

Downtown, Payne-Phalen, Railroad Island, Dayton’s Bluff

20.5 Miles

In all my rides around Saint Paul, I’d never seen a dinosaur, nor had I ever expected to. That’s why the tyrannosaurus gazing out from a building on Pine Street on the edge of Payne-Phalen caused me to lock up the brakes on my bike.

Plain as day – almost – a tyrannosaurus snarls through the windows of the garage at Caztek engineering at 628 Pine Street North at University Avenue.
Plain as day – almost – a tyrannosaurus snarled through the windows of the garage at Caztek engineering at 628 Pine Street North at University Avenue.

I saw a guy attending to the T-Rex so my reportorial instinct took over and I rang the doorbell at Caztek Engineering. Rob Roberts warmly welcomed me and invited me inside.

Rob Roberts paints the T-Rex he'll pilot off a 30 foot platform into the Mississippi River at the Red Bull Flugtag.
Rob Roberts paints the T-Rex he’ll pilot off a 30 foot platform into the Mississippi River at the Red Bull Flugtag.

Rob explained that he was building a craft for the Red Bull Flugtag on September 7th. The Flugtag (German for “flying day”) is a competition for homemade flying machines, which with a pilot aboard, are launched off a 30 foot ramp into a body of water. In Saint Paul’s Flugtag, that body of water was the Mississippi River.

Rob was always moving, painting, bouncing around the workshop, altering his focus between the T-Rex and my queries. He was quick to smile and quick to laugh as he detailed his plan for the green tyrannosaurus.

The team name they picked was “Metaphorasaurus,” which Rob told me involved a “larger metaphor with throwing a dinosaur off of a platform into the water.”

Rob Roberts' brother Dave works on the logo for team Metaphorasaurus.
Rob Roberts’ brother Dave works on the logo for team Metaphorasaurus.

Rob went on to explain the team philosophy of their flying machine. “Everyone was on board that we didn’t want to make it a functional airplane ‘cause it kind of sucks all the fun out of it. Doing something sculptural was what we were steering for. And then I have a thing for T-Rex.”

Rob took advantage of the unique Caztek Engineering facilities to build the T-Rex. Caztek, he said, is a designer prototype company focusing on mechanical engineering and machining. People hire Caztek if they don’t have an engineering department or if the engineering department is busy.

Rob got the Flugtag bug watching it in 2010, the other time Saint Paul hosted the Red Bull event. He wasn’t going to pass up the chance to crash into the Mississippi River this time.

The more fanciful the craft and offbeat the skit crews perform prior to flight, the better. Creativity, showmanship by each crew, and flight distance are what Flugtag judges look for. That was the impetus behind building a T-Rex flyer. “It was just something that was goofy and instantly recognizable and it would be cool to build. Plus we want to have it puppeteer a little bit. So instead of it just falling into the water, it kind of does stuff as it falls into the water, like the jaw moves and things like that.”

"Metaphorasaurus" measured about seven feet tall and close to 15 feet long.
“Metaphorasaurus” measured about seven feet tall and close to 15 feet long.

Rob led construction of Metaphorasaurus while he prepared to pilot it off the 30-foot platform and into the river. “I’ve been stretching a lot for the last two weeks, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta be able to fall.’ So I’m just going to do a lot of yoga and that’s about it. That’s my prep.”

I asked Rob if he’s a daredevil by nature. “I’m not at all,” he said. “I’m like the last guy. I’m afraid of heights.”

Rob tapped his wife for help. He explained, “she’s an actual theater professional. A lot of this was built around the fact that she has a lot of able friends.” At least 10 family members and friends helped build the flying T-Rex.

On Flugtag day, all the flying machines are lined up for judges and spectators to review. “That’s actually the part I’m most excited about is looking at other people’s entries up close,” Rob told me. “’Cause each one is in the air for about a second and a half. I’m most interested in people bringing in their craziness.”

Team Katie Hawk shows off prior to take off. Photo courtesy Jules Ameel / Red Bull Content Pool
Team Katie Hawk shows off prior to takeoff. Other teams included the Tater Tot Titan, Fire King Krewe, Quacky Chan and S’more Problems. Photo courtesy Jules Ameel / Red Bull Content Pool

Fun is the idea behind the Flugtag, but safety is nearly as important. According to Rob, Metaphorasaurus was built with that in mind. “It’s mostly insulation foam on PVC ‘cause I don’t want to have anything I’m not willing to land on be part of it. So I’m not gonna get harpooned by anything. It’s very collapsible.”

The insulation foam and PVC pipe is visible underneath the tyrannosaurus. The wheels will allow Rob's four teammates to push him and Metaphorosaurus off the platform and into the air, or more likely, the river.
The insulation foam and PVC pipe is visible underneath the tyrannosaurus. The wheels will allow Rob’s four teammates to push him and Metaphorasaurus off the platform and into the air, or more likely, the river.
An aerial view of the Flugtag site in Downtown Saint Paul on September 7, 2019. Photo courtesy Jules Ameel / Red Bull Content Pool
An aerial view of the Flugtag site in Downtown Saint Paul on September 7, 2019. Photo courtesy Jules Ameel / Red Bull Content Pool

Rob said the judges closely examine each craft to assure they’ve met safety standards. If there’s anything that could lead to injury, the team must correct it prior to the flight. Additionally, Flugtag rules mandate that the pilot wear an official helmet and all team members wear life jackets.

Metaphorasaurus is yet to fully clear the platform when gravity went to work. Rob "pilots" the T-Rex as three team members watch the flight. Photo courtesy Minnesota Public Radio
Metaphorasaurus was yet to fully clear the platform when gravity went to work. Rob “pilots” the T-Rex as three team members watch the flight. Photo courtesy Minnesota Public Radio
The view the Metaphorasaurus crew saw as Rob and the flying machine left the 30 foot high platform. Photo courtesy Jules Ameel / Red Bull Content Pool
The view the Metaphorasaurus crew saw as Rob and the flying machine left the 30 foot high platform. Photo courtesy Jules Ameel / Red Bull Content Pool

So what was Rob hoping for when Metaphorasaurus takes to the air?  “My ideal flight is that it doesn’t fall over until it leaves the platform, and then my ideal flight pattern is a belly flop. Ideally I’ll be on top of it or clearing it as opposed to it landing on me.”

Rob and Metaphorasaurus near the Mississippi River and the end of the run. Photo courtesy Saint Paul Pioneer Press
Rob and Metaphorasaurus near the Mississippi River and the end of the run. Photo courtesy Saint Paul Pioneer Press

The Metaphorasaurus team placed 36th out of the 38 teams that entered, which was just fine with Rob. “Since I built this thing to crash, I have no problems giving the judges an opportunity to have fun trash-talking us. My BIGGEST win is we got some really solid pics in the newspapers and everyone on our team had a blast!”

Team Metaphorasaurus after the flight, featuring (left to right) Rob, Dave Roberts, Phil Pakes, Jason Mohn, Nick Borscheid. Front row, Russ Roberts. Photo courtesy Rob Roberts
The T-Rex is visible through the windows of the garage door at Caztek Engineering.
The T-Rex is visible through the windows of the garage door at Caztek Engineering.

 

From Caztek, I resumed riding east on University until its end at Lafayette Road, which I followed northeast to Railroad Island.

This…this…representation of a steam locomotive sits next to a parking lot overlooking the railroad tracks below Lafayette Road at the western edge of Railroad Island. There is a solar panel atop the smokestack, presumably to power the orange lights, but for what purpose, I couldn’t determine.
This…this…representation of a steam locomotive sits next to a parking lot overlooking the railroad tracks below Lafayette Road at the western edge of Railroad Island. There is a solar panel atop the smokestack, presumably to power the orange lights, but for what purpose, I couldn’t determine.
In 1994, Officer Ron Ryan Jr. was shot in the Sacred Heart Church parking lot by a man who Ryan thought was sleeping in his car.
In 1994, Officer Ron Ryan Jr. was shot in the Sacred Heart Church parking lot when Ryan checked the welfare of a man who Ryan thought was sleeping in his car.

Looking at the parking lot belonging to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, there’s nothing unusual about the block-long space on Sixth Street East between Hope and Sinnen Streets. However, it is the scene of the 1994 cold blooded murder of Saint Paul Police officer Ron Ryan Jr. that stunned the Twin Cities.

 

Ron Ryan Jr. Photo courtesy Saint Paul Police Historical Society
Ron Ryan Jr. Photo courtesy Saint Paul Police Historical Society

Officer Ryan, a rookie, was shot to death just after 7 a.m. on August 26, 1994 while checking on a man reportedly sleeping in a car. (Several hours later, the same person gunned down Officer Tim Jones and his canine partner, Laser, who were helping with the massive manhunt to find Ryan’s killer.) Police captured the suspect on the East Side about 1 p.m. The story was front page news for days. More than twenty-five years later, August 26, 1994 remains among the worst days in Saint Paul Police Department history.

 

In 1999, this section of Sixth Street East was given the honorary name of Ron Ryan Jr. Boulevard in memory of the fallen officer.
In 1999, this section of Sixth Street East was given the honorary name of Ron Ryan Jr. Boulevard in memory of the fallen officer.
Sacred Heart, or Iglesia Del Segrado Corazon, offers English and Spanish language services.
Sacred Heart, or Iglesia Del Segrado Corazon, offers English and Spanish language services.

 

As for Sacred Heart Catholic Church itself, it continues to serve the neighborhood at 840 Sixth Street East with English language services, and since 1998, Spanish language services as well.

Moving on from Sacred Heart Catholic, I zigged and zagged through Dayton’s Bluff in a mostly southern direction until I got to 953 East McLean Avenue, where I stopped to survey the decorated purple martin house about 20 feet in the air which features a custom paint job, an American flag and wind chimes.

The purple martin house stands in the front yard at 953 East McLean Avenue.
The custom purple martin house stands in the front yard at 953 East McLean Avenue.

There is a park just off McLean that confused me when I rode up to it and still had me confused as I began writing this. Mounds Park, on Cypress Street, is just south of McLean Avenue. My first thought was that it was part of Indian Mounds Regional Park (which is about a block south.) As I scoped things out, however, I reconsidered.

Mounds Park, the park that isn’t a park.
Mounds Park, the park that isn’t a park.

I did a thorough web search and found no record of “Mounds Park” in Saint Paul, other than the area being labeled on Google Maps. Even the list of parks on the City of Saint Paul website doesn’t reference Mounds Park.

Frankly, there isn’t much to this space aside from a weary basketball court on which a game was being played, and a timeworn tennis court.

The worn basketball court, foreground, and the two tennis courts, background, at Mounds Park.
The worn basketball court, foreground, and the two tennis courts, background, at Mounds Park.

What had been a softball or baseball field is unusable because of a pile of brush and dirt in right field.

No organized ball games for this old field.
No organized ball games for this old field.

A call to the Parks and Recreation Department cleared up the mystery. The very helpful Mike Charlier, a Park Maintenance Supervisor, told me the former Mounds Park is a Recreation Department maintenance facility.

Parks Department trucks are parked next to the former Mounds Park rec center building.
Parks Department trucks are parked next to the former Mounds Park rec center building.

Department trucks are parked in a fenced lot and cleaning supplies and equipment for snow removal and grass cutting are kept inside the building. All of that explains the garbage and recycling bins lined up along a fence.

Extra recycling and garbage bins are stored on the property of the former Mounds Park.
Extra recycling and garbage bins are stored on the property of the former Mounds Park. Some illegally dumped mattresses were dropped next to the dumpster.
A path south out of the former Mounds Park.
A path south out of the former Mounds Park.

I left the former Mounds Park via a narrow path that disappeared into some woods. A half block later the path spit me out on the 1000-block of Burns Avenue.

Flags in front of 1010 Burns Avenue.
Flags in front of 1010 Burns Avenue.

American flags decorated the boulevard up and down Burns Avenue. The patriotic display is courtesy of the Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts). It is a fundraiser called Flags Across America that one troop around Dayton’s Bluff does. Typically, scouts will put up American flags on several holidays, including Memorial and Labor Days.

American flags line the boulevard on Burns Avenue.
American flags line the boulevard on Burns Avenue.
The large garage is on Clermont Street but the house faces Mound Street, leading to the address of the property of 8 Mound Street.
The large garage is on Clermont Street but the house faces Bates Avenue, leading to the address of the property of 8 Bates Avenue.

A most unusual property sits at 8 Bates Avenue, at the intersection of Clermont Street. This five bedroom, five bathroom home was built in 1886, according to Ramsey County records, while the garage was constructed more than 100 years later, in 1994. It was immediately obvious that the garage was large, but moving several yards southwest on Clermont made it clear just how big it is.

A lot of effort was put into this property, such as the beautiful brick driveway, to the multiple retaining walls, three-story garage and impressive landscaping.
A lot of effort was put into this property, such as the beautiful brick driveway, multiple retaining walls, three-story garage and impressive landscaping.

Not only is it three stories, the garage has two levels of doors large enough for vehicles. The upper level may be a workshop or living space. All told, Ramsey County property records say the garage is just shy of 800 square feet.

Other items of note are the multiple strata of retaining walls which keep the steep hillside from eroding and the solar panel array near the hilltop.

Large decks come off the second and third floors of 8 Mound Street.
Large decks come off the second and third floors of 8 Bates Avenue.

Eight Bates Avenue is obviously well maintained. Gazing at the front, however, leaves little doubt that significant modifications have been made to the original structure. Among those are changes to the siding, roof, windows and front porch that have altered the original architecture.

The front and east side of 8 Bates provide a good idea of the home’s size and complexity.
The front and east side of 8 Bates provides a good idea of the home’s size and complexity.
This picture from 1916 of the house, known as the George Jameson House, shows just how different it looked about a century ago. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
This 1916 picture of the house, known as the George Jameson House, shows just how different it looked about a century ago. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
A second floor deck as viewed from the front of the house. Note the balcony that runs along much of the front of the home.
A second floor deck as viewed from the front of the house. Note the balcony that runs along much of the front of the home.

The two streets, Clermont Street and Bates Avenue, that run past the George Jameson House have interesting histories. Don Empson wrote in The Street Where You Live that Clermont is named after the first commercially successful steamboat, which was designed by Robert Fulton. Meanwhile, Bates (and nearby Maria Avenue) was named in 1857 for Maria Bates Dayton, the wife of Saint Paul real estate speculator Lyman Dayton.

The best view of the skyline of Downtown Saint Paul is from Indian Mounds Regional Park. Mounds Boulevard, in the foreground, curves toward the north. You can see where Clermont Avenue starts or ends, depending upon your perspective.
The best view of the skyline of Downtown Saint Paul is from Indian Mounds Regional Park. Mounds Boulevard, in the foreground, curves toward the north. You can see where Clermont Avenue starts or ends, depending upon your perspective.

Saint Paul has some remarkable parks, but Indian Mounds Regional Park might be the best of them all. The most notable feature of the 111-acre bluff-top sanctuary is the six Indian mounds from which the park gets its name.

The sprawling Indian Mounds Regional Park.
The sprawling Indian Mounds Regional Park.
One of the six Indian mounds that give this stunning park its name. The tower in the background is one of a series of airway beacons built nearly 100 years ago that defined airway corridors for US airmail pilots.
One of the six Indian mounds that give this stunning park its name. The tower in the background is one of a series of airway beacons built nearly 100 years ago that defined airway corridors for US airmail pilots.

The park features the best views anywhere of Downtown Saint Paul and the Mississippi River. Established in 1893, Indian Mounds Park hugs the bluff overlooking Warner Road, the Mississippi River and the Saint Paul Downtown Airport.

In this circa 1905 photo of Indian Mounds Regional Park, looking southeast, the Mississippi River is on the right. The park shelter is on the far left-middle. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
In this photo, circa 1905, of Indian Mounds Regional Park, looking southeast, the Mississippi River is on the right. The park shelter is on the far left-middle. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
A tug and empty barges head downstream on the Mississippi. In the background is St. Paul Downtown Airport (Holman Field) runways and Minnesota National Guard hangars.
A tug and empty barges head downstream on the Mississippi. In the background are St. Paul Downtown Airport (Holman Field) runways and Minnesota National Guard hangars.

The remarkable location of Indian Mounds Regional Park has been touted to residents and tourists for decades.

A postcard from about 1908 shows the view of the Mississippi River from the bluffs of Indian Mounds Park. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
A postcard from about 1908 shows the view of the Mississippi River from the bluffs of Indian Mounds Park. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

The 1915 edition of “The City of St. Paul and Vicinity – A Compendium of Information for Visitors and Citizens” described the park this way:

“Indian Mounds commands farreaching prospects of the hill-bound valleys of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, which are hardly equaled in America in their extent and magnificence. It is, without doubt, ‘The Prospect Park of the Northwest.”

Indian Mounds Park is packed with historical, cultural, artistic and scientific curiosities. According to Saint Paul Historical, artifacts, including pottery, carved pipes, stone knives, copper axes and ornaments, were found here that indicate indigenous people inhabited this area, perhaps as far back as 10,000 years ago. Archeologists and anthropologists believe the six burial mounds remaining atop the bluff in the park (and up to 29 others that were destroyed by early farms, houses and park construction) were built by the Hopewell Indians some 2,000 years ago.

Two other Indian mounds.
Two other Indian mounds within the park.

At least one study speculates that Woodland and Oneota cultures used the same burial mounds after the Hopewell Indians. More recently, the Dakota buried their dead in the area, either using the previously built mounds or constructing their own. The Dakota People occupied this land when Europeans made their initial entrée in the 1600s.

For nearly 100 years after Indian Mounds Park was established, the remaining mounds were not treated with the reverence or deference they deserved. Yes, etiquette in European American cemeteries was also different in the late 1800s. For example, picnics among graves on family plots were a common experience in many parts of the country. However, desecration and robbing of Native American graves continued for the better part of the 20th Century.

People atop an Indian mound, perhaps being photographed. Note the walking path up the mound. Circa 1910. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
People atop an Indian mound, perhaps being photographed. Note the walking path up the mound. Circa 1910. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

At Indian Mounds Park, roads were built around the remaining mounds, and paths over some mounds were made to give visitors better views of the curiosities and the surrounding landscape. Even electric utility poles were placed into some of the mounds.

In 1935 there was still unfettered access to the park's Indian mounds, and a road took motorists along the bluff. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
In 1935 there was still unfettered access to the park’s Indian mounds, and a road took motorists along the bluff. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

The City of Saint Paul undertook a major renovation of Indian Mounds Park in the early 1980s, first removing the roads that ran between the mounds and bluffs, and soon after, with the leadership of the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, installed fencing around the six mounds.

A sign within one fenced area reminds visitors of the sanctity of parts of Indian Mounds Park.
A sign within one fenced area reminds visitors of the sanctity of parts of Indian Mounds Park.

More changes are coming to Indian Mounds Regional Park to further protect the sacred Indian burial grounds and improve the park’s infrastructure. The most controversial part of the upgrade is removing the walking trails along the bluff. Several organizations of Native Americans came out strongly in support of the plan which would increase the buffer around the burial mounds and other sacred spots within the park. Some neighbors, meanwhile, object to the loss of park space and vistas. Signs alerting visitors to the proposed changes were posted conspicuously around the park. Click here for details of the proposed Indian Mounds Park changes.

One of many signs posted within Indian Mounds Park notifying visitors about the proposed removal of the walking trails along the bluffs.
One of many signs posted within Indian Mounds Park notifying visitors about the proposed removal of the walking trails along the bluffs.
This sidewalk is a tight fit between the mounds and the bluff’s edge. Note the fence on the right, which was installed thanks to pressure from the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council. This trail is one that would be removed under the proposed trail realignment.
This sidewalk is a tight fit between the mounds and the bluff’s edge. Note the fence on the right, which was installed thanks to pressure from the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council. This trail is one that would be removed under the proposed trail realignment.

There are many other things to see and do in Indian Mounds Regional Park, such as a look back at a slice of local aviation history.

 

 

The 110 foot The Indian Mounds Park Airway Beacon was built in 1929, one of about 600 beacons around the country to help pilots delivering mail. This beacon was one that marked the route between Saint Paul and Chicago.
The 110-foot Indian Mounds Park “Airway” Beacon was built in 1929, one of about 600 beacons around the country to help pilots delivering mail. This beacon was one that marked the route between Saint Paul and Chicago.
In the '90s the beacon was restored to its distinctive yellow and black color scheme. The Indian Mounds Park Airway Beacon, one of only a few that remain, continues to flash its rotating light every five seconds.
In the ’90s the beacon was restored to its distinctive yellow and black color scheme. The Indian Mounds Park Airway Beacon, one of only a few that remain, continues to flash its rotating light every five seconds.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission put in this plaque detailing the history of the Indian Mounds Park "Airway" Beacon.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission put in this plaque detailing the history of the Indian Mounds Park “Airway” Beacon.
Sacred Bowl is one of a pair of sculptures that were added to Indian Mounds Park in 2006 through the Minnesota Rocks! International Stone Carving Symposium. Chiseled by artist Duane “Dewey” Goodwin out of dolomitic limestone, Sacred Dish represents a Native Woman.
“Sacred Bowl” is one of a pair of sculptures that were added to Indian Mounds Park in 2006 through the Minnesota Rocks! International Stone Carving Symposium. Chiseled by artist Duane “Dewey” Goodwin out of dolomitic limestone, Sacred Dish represents a Native Woman.
“Usumacinta Meets the Mississippi” by Javier Del Cueto, represents the link between the waters of Mexico City and the Mississippi River. Two pieces of Kasota limestone were used for "Usumacinta Meets the Mississippi."
“Usumacinta Meets the Mississippi” by Javier Del Cueto, represents the link between the waters of Mexico City and the Mississippi River. Two pieces of Kasota limestone were used for “Usumacinta Meets the Mississippi.”
Architect Charles H. Hausler designed the prairie-style pavilion at Earl and Mounds Boulevard, which opened in 1916. Among Hausler's notable achievements were his appointment as Saint Paul's first city architect and his hiring of Clarence "Cap" Wigington as the City's senior draftsman. As such, Wigington became nation’s first African American municipal architect.
Architect Charles H. Hausler designed the prairie-style pavilion at Earl and Mounds Boulevard, which opened in 1916. Among Hausler’s notable achievements were his appointment as Saint Paul’s first city architect and his hiring of Clarence “Cap” Wigington as the City’s senior draftsman. As such, Wigington became the nation’s first African American municipal architect.
Puzzling, but good to buy used trash recepticles. This garbage can, in front of the park shelter, originally belonged to Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers baseball stadium.
Puzzling, but good to see the Parks Department buy used trash receptacles. This garbage can, in front of the park shelter, originally belonged to Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers baseball stadium.
This Miller Park pennant from 2001 features the same logo that is partially covered on the garbage can, above.
This Miller Park pennant features the same logo that is partially covered on the garbage can, above. Courtesy ebay/sportsnut5
Like any good park, Indian Mounds has a playground and picnic areas.
Like any good park, Indian Mounds has a playground and picnic areas.
The goldenrods looked like fireworks in the restored prairie.
The goldenrods looked like fireworks in the restored prairie.

Toward the west end of the park is the Carver’s Cave Overlook. The cave is known as Wakan Tipi to native Dakota peoples, who consider it sacred.

Another great place to watch trains, planes and boats is Carver's Cave overlook. A convenient parking lot is mere steps away.
Another great place to watch trains, planes and boats is Carver’s Cave overlook. A convenient parking lot is mere steps away.
This plaque details the significance of Carver's Cave/Wakan Tipi.
This plaque details the significance of Carver’s Cave/Wakan Tipi.
The sign at the west entrance of Indian Mounds Park.
The sign at the west entrance of Indian Mounds Park, near Mounds Boulevard and Plum Street.
Nice homes line Mounds Boulevard on the north side of the park between Plum and Cherry Streets.
Nice homes line Mounds Boulevard on the north side of the park between Plum and Cherry Streets.
The homes grow larger east of Cherry, on Mounds.
The homes grow larger east of Cherry, on Mounds.

Thorn Street is the northern border of the eastern part of the park. You’ll see wonderfully well kept homes on the 1000 block of Thorn.

1005 Thorn Street looks likes a summer cabin.
1005 Thorn Street looks likes a summer cabin.
Some of the other homes on the 1000 block of Thorn Street.

The last image for this ride is the signage at the west entrance of Indian Mounds Park. Some are places I’ll visit on future rides.

Waymarking signs on the western edge of the park, where Plum Street runs into Mounds Boulevard.
Signage on the western edge of Indian Mounds Park, where Plum Street runs into Mounds Boulevard.

Here is the route of this 20-plus mile ride.

Wolfie Browender

About Wolfie Browender

Wolfie Browender has lived in Saint Paul with his wife, Sue, since 1986. He is proud to live in Minnesota's Capitol City, specifically in Highland Park. Wolfie is a native of the Milwaukee, WI area. The father of two adult daughters, Wolfie bikes for fun and exercise. You can follow his travels throughout Saint Paul on his blog Saint Paul By Bike-Every Block of Every Street at http://saintpaulbybike.wordpress.com.

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3 thoughts on “It Began With a Tyrannosaurus

  1. Nicole SalicaNicole Salica

    thank you for sharing all this, but especially the delightful “positive thinking!” picture of the T-Rex. that is such a beautiful thing…..

  2. Jenny WernessJenny WernessModerator  

    It’s fun to see your photos of so many sites along my usual commutes! The title is fantastic, also.

  3. Pete Barrett

    This is a great article.

    The Mounds Park that confused you was Mounds Park Rec Center. It was decommissioned sometime after I played hockey there a few times in the mid 70’s. Since I played playground hockey (on formal teams, not rink rat) in Saint Paul, I must be officially older than dirt. Heck, most of the rec centers I skated at have been decommissioned: Prosperity, Frost Lake, & Margaret which was my home ice.

    When I was a kid, it was called “Mounds Park”. I guess we just knew they were Indian mounds, no need for the modifier. Originally, it was called “Mound Park”, without the “s”. The former Mounds Park school, on the south frontage of I-94, still bears the inscription “Mound Park”. It was converted to condos in the 80’s or 90’s.

    There was no fencing around the mounds & we were free to climb all over them, which we did. I’m good with the greater respect we show the earliest East Siders now.

    It’s a bit of a secret that the best view of the city is from Mounds Park. One interesting feature of the view from the bluff is you can see a rare sight. That is, all four major forms of transportation are but spitting distance from each other: Holman Field, the river, Warner Rd. & the rail road. you don’t see that often.

    I considered buying a home near Mounds Park. But it didn’t offer much for me in the way of businesses I could talk to.

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