|[The entrance to the world of Swede Hollow.]|
Swede Hollow is an ancient lost civilization, almost erased from memory. It's a gateway to a whole lost world of the earliest Twin Cities, a world filled with towering factory smokestacks, tumbledown handbuilt homes, a million languages, and turret topped mansions perched high atop hills. It's a world that we'll never find again, a world lost to us (though not as lost as those that came before).
Today, Swede Hollow is a forest valley whose past lives in the brewery ruins and stories and photos. The actual hollow is a valley falling down like a crack in the sidewalk, a little storybook in the middle of St Paul's East Side bluffs, an area filled with old homes and disheveled shops, ancient indian mounds, and crooked romantic trees.
This part of the city has two things that are particularly rare in these parts: history and hills. And they come together beautifully at the corner of 7th and North streets, where you'll find an old brick building that triangulates into an iron turret.
The street itself rises straight out of the sandstone buildings downtown to face the wide river valley with all its bridges and bluffs. As you walk down East 7th, you may squint and imagine you're looking West for the first time across the prairie, or that you're traveling the country with only a harmonica for company, or that you're a tree or a bird or a stream.
|[Rounding the turret, you find secret stairs to take you to the second story.]|
|[The street is filled with feetmade paths, overlooking the city in the distance.]|
Picking your way through Swede Hollow you feel like Hansel or Gretel on an adventure, pathfinding through a forest filled with ghosts and memories. The sidewalks of East 7th Street will expand your horizons. Leave a trail behind you.
|[A fountainside table.]|
|[Underfoot patio bricks.]|
|[An old tree overlooking bricks and benches.]|