Author: Christian Huelsman

Christian Huelsman

Christian Huelsman leads the Minneapolis Alley Initiative for Neighborhood Stimulation, a personal creative hub promoting public alleys as venues for art and culture. He also leads Spring in Our Steps, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit committed to bringing a brighter future to the city’s public alleys and stairways, through cleanup, programming, and advocacy initiatives.

Metropolitan Opera House and Palace Court, 1914

No Use for a Name: The Untold Story of Alley Identity and Utility in Minneapolis’ Palace Court

(The photograph above, showing the Metropolitan Opera House and Palace Court, was taken by C.J. Hubbard in 1914, Minnesota Historical Society) Historical and contemporary Minneapolis is not particularly known for its public alleys. They have served a more discreet role in the lives of Minneapolitans, unsung for getting private vehicles off city streets. Of course, […]

North 1st Street looking south toward 4th Avenue North in 1920

Historic Paving Tour of the Minneapolis Warehouse District – Sunday, May 16th

Minneapolis has oft been accused of not having done enough to preserve its historic structures, particularly in reference to the loss of the Gateway District, and especially when contrasted with successful efforts to save ornamentally clad buildings in Saint Paul. The jeers have endured decades of evolution or devolution in the Twin Cities, depending upon […]

What’s In a Name: Frankman Place, A Rare Named Alley, Resurfaces Briefly as Snelling Yards Development Gains Key Approval

As the 210-unit Snelling Yards development nears construction, a rare named alley appeared on site plans and city documents, leading the author down a rabbit hole to investigate this anomaly and double down on the need to apply names to even the most mundane public assets.

Alley east of 27th Avenue South in July 2020

The Lake/Minnehaha Rebuild Is an Opportunity to Redefine Our Alleys

Following the reprehensible conduct of police in the treatment and death of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, peaceful protests became agitated by subsequent aggression and retaliation by police in riot gear. Some strayed from the initial focus of the peaceful protestors upon the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct building, setting fire to neighborhood buildings […]

Trash along railroad tracks near Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Street

Revisiting Stepping Up MN: A Virtual Cleanup (April 2020)

Much has changed since initiating Stepping Up MN, a virtual cleanup launched at the end of April to mobilize eager volunteers for community betterment. COVID-19 had us cloistered and adhering pretty religiously to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines against viral transmission. Litter accumulated in the streets, with city workers reassigned or […]

Photo credit: Christian Huelsman

Where the Alleys Have No Name

“The alley is the outback world of the unmentionable, if not the unwanted, the displaced of modern society,” ~ Grady Clay, Alleys: a hidden resource Perhaps I will never be considered “from here”, having moved from Cincinnati nearly three years ago. I may not get invitations to house shows or hot dish socials, or share […]