Category: History

A contemporary (1890s) photograph of Mary Ward

The 150th Anniversary of People Being Killed By Cars

Mary Ward was the first person to be killed by a vehicle that we would recognize as a car. The 150th anniversary of her death was August 31, 2019. She lived in Ireland, raised some children, and published scientific work about entomology and the wonders of microscopes, a developing field at the time. You can […]

Ford Site Area C

Saint Paul by Bike: A Short Jaunt to Ford

August 30, 2019 3.9 Miles Highland Park The State Fair, or more accurately, a park and ride lot for the State Fair, gave me the chance to check out a usually off-limits part of the old Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant (TCAP) and grounds. The 22-acre area is between Mississippi River Boulevard and the Mississippi […]

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Hightailing It to Highwood

August 13, 2019 25.4 Miles West Seventh (West End), Downtown, Dayton’s Bluff, Highwood I had a simple plan for this ride. Bike the 11 miles-plus to Boys Totem Town for the closing ceremony and tour of the empty juvenile detention facility in Highwood. I estimated it would take about an hour and a quarter to […]

Highlandpark Streets

Neighborhood Character and Redlining’s Legacy

“Neighborhood character,” it turns out, can be legally defined and covenanted, as I learned recently when I spent a morning conducting research at the Ramsey County records division. I found the warranty deed abstract for the multi-block plot of land that includes my lot and house, and a significant swath of Highland District Council (HDC) […]

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A History of Traffic Management Technology

Earlier I wrote about the history of our Interstate Highway System (Part One and Part Two) and how they were partly a 1930s response to growing urban congestion, as big of a threat to the freedom of mobility as mud and ruts were only a few decades before. However the dream of ending congestion didn’t […]

Chart of the Day: People Per Car for Select Nations, 1900 – 2000

Here’s a fun chart from one of my all-time favorite books, Energy in World History, which you might remember from years ago. I was reminded of Vaclav Smil because he has a new book coming out, and has been making the round with interviews. Anyway, here you go, a fascinating chart that is a bit […]

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A History of Highway 100 Part Two: The Parks of Lilac Way

Previously I covered an overview of Highway 100, Lilac Way, including an overview of the roadside parks, Here’s a detailed look at all the parks, from north to south.   Lions Park Located in the northeast corner of what is now Bottineau Blvd, this wasn’t part of the original Lilac Way landscaping. It was very […]

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We Can Make A North Cedar Lake Trail Crossing Safer With Just Paint

A friend recently attempted a bit of tactical urbanism to make the North Cedar Lake Trail crossing at W 36th St in Saint Louis Park safer. The popular Cedar Lake Trail is closed and detoured to this section of the North Cedar Lake Trail, trail use has increased quite obviously here. He tweeted about it […]

65 Years Later: Twin Cities Streetcars

On June 19, 1954 the streetcar system in the Twin Cities shut down permanently. I consider it one of the biggest mistakes our region has ever made as we’re now spending billions and taking decades to rebuild a similar system albeit with arterial bus rapid transit (ABRT), BRT, and light rail. There are several causes […]

Highway 100 History

A History of Highway 100 Part One: Overview

Previously I covered the history of Minnesota’s trunk highway system. At it’s inception in 1920 the system contained what still is the core of the system. But the new governor, Floyd. B. Olson, championed a massive increase in size and scope of the state government, including a proposal to vastly increase the mileage of the […]