Friday, March 15, 2019

Paradise Found and Lost?

               “There is no there there” ~ Gertrude Stein
Memories of past domiciles can, if one is prone to nostalgia, haunt. Every place I’ve ever lived previously is now completely altered: I really can’t go home again.

The first half of my life was spent living in four houses, at three locations in Minneapolis.
My early years were spent at 5122 North Third Street, in a tiny 2 bedroom house (built in the 1920s) that was part of a funky little neighborhood near the Mississippi River, the lot it was built on had been a livery stable at one time:

It was removed for the I-94 freeway in a process that took over 20(!) years. Ironically, where that house once stood never became part of the freeway, the greater part of it is taken up by a berm:

When I was ten, we moved to a much bigger 4 bedroom “Cape Cod” style house (5006 N. Emerson) that had been constructed in the post-war building boom on what had been a potato farm. It was architecturally nondescript, just like hundreds of others in the area:

It was taken out for a new housing “Greenway” project and has sat vacant for fifteen years already, although I have read that the project may be “started” very soon:

When I moved away from home I moved into a strange little building made of concrete blocks with a small kitchen (made of wood) tacked on (brown house on the left) and later moved next door to a Victorian duplex located on the fringe of the North Side industrial district:

This pair housed many of my friends over the span of twenty-odd (sometimes very odd) years. It too was scheduled for the I-94 highway but ended up being taken for “urban renewal” in a somewhat shady land grab and now hosts a bus garage:

I’m not one to cry over spilled milk; nothing lasts forever. The Highway carries tens of thousands of cars everyday; the bus company provides service for handicapped people throughout the metro. But the house on Emerson, the newest house, was torn down to build more houses of a similar size but cost much more. That the land has remained vacant (and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue over the years) in a time when affordable housing is at a premium does stick in my craw, however.

UPDATE: They have just started building on the old Emerson homestead:

R. Lewis

By Professor Batty


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