Obscure Local History #11: Anti-semitism on Minneapolis' Mt. Curve

[Mansion on Mt. Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, 1950.]

Here's a quote from the fascinating documentary about Minneapolis' early Jewish community, We Knew Who We Were, of man who grew up in Minneapolis then-Jewish Near North neighborhood. 

My father became restless, he was was always a the kind of guy who liked to move a little bit outside of the lines. I recall that one time I went with him to look at a house on Mt. Curve avenue. This must have been in the early 1910s, and he had the money to pay for it. But after driving around, and after he checked into it, he found out he might not be so comfortable being Jewish there. 

So he took his money and he found a house on Washburn Ave N and within about a year or two after we moved in you could tell the movement of the population was going the non-jews were moving out, the Jews were moving in, and building homes. And it became a predominantly jewish neighborhood for a long time….

(Note: At first I thought they were talking about St. Paul's Mt. Curve Avenue, but given the timeline and geography, that makes little sense. That part of Highland was still farmland in 1910, and Minneapolis. Mt. Curve is surely the one he's talking about.)


Obscure Local History #10: Metropolitan Building, c. 1890 and 1961

[Metropolitan Building, 1960.]

I happened across this wonderful film made in 1961 by U of MN students, focusing on the famous and tragic Metropolitan Building in the Gateway District. It includes the speech given at the opening of the Metropolitan Building in 1890...

This day in 1890 shows that men of rare business ability are not afraid to place their money in a building investment involving many hundreds of thousands of dollars. All Minneapolis units today to pay tribute to the men who have built in this great structure not only a monument to their own usefulness in the community, but an enduring testimonial to the gigantic progress of the greatest city on the vast valley of the Mississippi. 

... and then continues to show, to a then-contemporary cool bop soundtrack,  the demolition of that same building seventy years later. It's a well made film about one of Minneapolis' huge mistakes. Check it out.


Obscure Local History #9: William Marvy Eats 14 Coneys in 1926

[The Marvy Company c. 1984.]

William Marvy is one of the greatest inventors in St. Paul history, and his barber supply factory still sits on St. Clair Avenue churning out rotating barber poles. But it's a little known fact that he also liked coney dogs.

(Crossover alert!)

Here's an excerpt from the delightful book, The William Marvy Company of St Paul, all about the history of Marvy and his incredibly rotating barber pole, describing Marvy as a young teen with a head full of ideas:

Bill had one foot in the adult world of sales but was still a sixteen-year-old kid. On February 2, 1926, he 'bet Mr. Deutsch I could eat 14 Coney Islands in less than 40 minutes. I won the bet by eating 14 in 22 minutes.'

That long ago, he probably got them from the Original Coney Island on St. Peter Street! 


Twin City Sidewalk Vendors #6


[University Avenue, St. Paul.]

[Mendota Heights. File photo, author at right.]

[Payne Avenue, St. Paul.]

[Payne Avenue, St. Paul.]

[Frogtown, St. Paul.]

[Como Avenue, St. Paul.]

[Concord, OH.]

[Location forgotten.]

[Mendota Heights. File photo, author's sister at center.]


Twin City Street Musicians #23

[Tokyo, Japan.]

[Lowertown, Saint Paul.]

[Union Depot, Saint Paul.]

[Summit Avenue, Saint Paul.]

[Mississippi River, Saint Paul.]

[West 7th Street, Saint Paul.]

[Downtown, Saint Paul.]

[Downtown, Saint Paul.]

[Grand Avenue, Saint Paul.]