Lauderdale sits at the crook of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, where the two towns rub against each other, slightly abrasive. The seam of Highway 280 marks the border, hedging an industrial park on one side and a large wall on the other, obscuring something. And there lies Lauderdale behind its rampart, high on a hill, hemmed in here by brown walls and there by the yellowgreen grass of golf courses.
The first question you will be asked when walking round Lauderdale is, "Do you live in Lauderdale?" So much depends on the answer, and most fail the test.
Part of the challenge lies underfoot. That there are no sidewalks here. Or, in fact, there are. But only two. Small bits of concrete laid bare, that end and start abruptly. Who made these? When? Why do they stop? Hopscotch grounds for agoraphobes. Still, it's fun to walk on them, pivot on one's heel, and march back again to the omega.
|[One of the two sidewalk fragments.]|
|[A Lauderdale sidewalk ends.]|
|[The street becomes the sidewalk.]|
|[Lauderdale City Hall.]|
|[A sidewalk painting project.]|
|[There used to be an overpass here.]|
Lauderdale is a paradox, an old suburb, its homes ranging the ages from just before the war. They are small and precise, unemcumbered by grand gesture. Meanwhile, small gestures are everywhere. A rock garden, fountain, or flag stand higher next to a Lauderdale house. Everything seems like a project, something someone created.
The age means that homes are as small as homes can be. Most have rear garages and alleyways snaking behind the quiet streets. The alleys are the real sidewalks of Lauderdale, backyards with front doors, gardens, swimming pools, workshops, old car storage. Approximately one-third of the garages don't even have pavement connecting them to the alley. Odd to see a garage not meant for cars, but that's what you find here.
|[An alleyway garden growing wild.]|
|[Alleyway, garage, child care center.]|
|[No Trespassing along a Lauderdale edge.]|
Along the other sides, Over here, the sight of an abandoned onramp, now just a patch of grass waiting for a monster truck. Elsewhere, long fences of golf courses, white balls scattered like pennies in the wayward shrubs. No Trespassing. One golf course bleeds into the next, and a small path runs between them, a tightrope between the greens.
|[An alleyway / driveway / pathway.]|
|[The path to the overlook park.]|
|[The end of the Lauderdale sound wall, an abandoned onramp.]|
|[Red British telephone boxes lurking in a yard.]|
But of course there is art hiding here. Each fence conceals a vintage car. A yard on a hill contains seven red British telephone boxes, partially obscured.
Unlikely, but nonetheless. You will not find yourself in Lauderdale without reason. An overlooked overlook.
|[A Lauderdale water feature.]|
|[A less exciting Lauderdale road.]|
|[Falcon Heights street sign in foreground, Lauderdale in background.]|
|[Corner house with a garage inside it.]|
|[The view from Lauderdale.]|