Author Archive | Robert Roscoe

A Tale of Two Bridges

Two bridges spanning the Mississippi River — one connecting Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and a similar bridge crossing the river a mile and a half upstream — exhibit design characteristics reflecting significant changes in how people move across bridges throughout our cities.    The Saint Paul-Minneapolis structure joining East Lake Street and Marshall Avenue was […]

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My Annual Minnesota State Fair Experience

For the last however many years I ride my bike from my Prospect Park Neighborhood to Como Avenue, then park my bike in a bike corral next to an entrance near Snelling Avenue. A bike corral volunteer hands me a two-part numbered tag that I put on my bike, then I buy my State Fair […]

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The Abandonment and Rescue of Landmark Center in Saint Paul

In 1969, demolition of one of the most elegant Richardson Romanesque-Chateauesque-Style public buildings in the Upper Midwest seemed imminent. The federal government had declared the nearly vacant Federal Courts and Post Office Building (later named Landmark Center) in downtown St. Paul to be surplus property. Many public officials and business leaders in the city saw […]

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The Story of Rice Park

Through provident circumstances, Rice Park has been able to maintain the whole of its land and its remarkable features while its surrounding buildings have maintained their handsome architectural solidity, preserving strong edges to the park. In this aspect, these stalwart edges meet architectural historian Christopher Alexander’s statement, in his book A Pattern Language, that “The […]

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The Story of Saint Paul’s Selby Avenue Tunnel

As Saint Paul’s population grew in the late 19th Century, people began moving out of the city’s core and into residential areas adjacent to downtown. The Selby Avenue streetcar line was built in 1888 to provide people with transportation from their homes on top of the hill to the offices, factories, and shops downtown, and to […]

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Architectural Style: High Style vs Vernacular

We know well Winston Churchill’s famous statement, “ We shape our buildings, and they shape us.” But architectural historians know that how we shape our buildings is the outcome of cultural influences within the history of a particular time period. Realizing these factors is key to a deeper appreciation of architecture that goes beyond learning […]

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On the Street Where You Live: Residential Streets as Outdoor Living Rooms

“On the Street Where You Live” is a song by Frederick Loewe with lyrics by Jay Alan Lerner, from the 1956 Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.” Considered in another context, we recognize almost all of us live in places facing a street functioning in a practical role providing a means of travel to connect ourselves […]

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Can We Save the Electric Steel Elevator Site in Prospect Park?

The current historic preservation issue in Minneapolis right now is not a campaign to save a building because its gingerbread ornamentation is too precious to lose. The slightly rusty and unornamented round steel sides of the Electric Steel Elevator complex in Prospect Park, part of a large complex of tall concrete cylindrical grain silos, may […]

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