Sunday, November 19, 2006

Moving Out

1146 North Fifth Street

After a protracted adolescence, it was time for me to move out. A neighborhood friend stopped in one day and said, “Why don't you look in the want ads?” There, in the houses for rent unfurnished, was an ad that read: 2 bedroom house, $80 a month + utilities. Not very much money for a place, even in 1971.

It was not much of a house either, as it was situated only a block away from a couple of of run-down bars. A few blocks away was the street where several businesses had been burned down in a riot in 1967. Still, it was something. Tiny rooms, in an odd concrete structure, but a place of our own. That house, and eventually the one next door (pictured above), and then three more on the next block, would become a de facto center for various cultural activities: a dozen or more musicians, a writer, a potter, a weaver and other artists would all emerge: living, loving, starting families. We knew that it couldn’t last forever, it had been scheduled for redevelopment, and twenty years later it was finally torn down by the city for some ill-defined project.

No one who ever lived there would want to return to that existence, yet it is hard to imagine a more vital time, a Bloomsbury in Minneapolis, a Café Society without the café.

There are zoning laws against this kind of thing now.

A North Fifth Street Story

By Professor Batty


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professor -
I remember well this small disorganized community of artists from my own season as a long-term guest. You and your friends gave me permission to "be" there, in ways my homogenous hometown didnt allow - ways I am still "being" today as I celebrate my 50th birthday. In gratitude to this hip hidden corner of the city of my formative years - Thank you! - JG.

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