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.