The Rise of the Selby Avenue Streetcar Line

 As the population of St. Paul grew, people began moving out of the city’s core and into quieter, cleaner residential areas west of downtown. One of the most popular areas to live in the late 1800s was the St. Anthony Hill (now known as Cathedral Hill) area. People still needed to get from their homes on top of the hill, to the offices, factories,...

The Metropolitan Hotel in St. Paul

Constructed in 1869-70, the Metropolitan Hotel once stood at the corner of Washington and Third Street in St. Paul. On June 27, 1870, proprietor Gilbert Dutcher opened the hotel in grand style and for many years the Metropolitan was identified as St. Paul’s premier hotel. Prominent local businessmen and out-of-town movers and shakers would meet at the hotel to discuss business and politics. The...

The End of the Line: Wildwood Amusement Park

Take any car for Wildwood at Wabasha and 7th Streets. Fare to Wildwood, each way, 15 cents; time, 40 minutes; distance, 12 miles. Past North St. Paul and Silver Lake, with pretty farms and ever-changing verdant pictures on all sides, the line sweeps into Wildwood, the beautiful, where one may find rest, comfort, coolness, and kindred delights of the good old summertime. – Twin...

The Original Plan for the Anoka Asylum

The serene group of cottages around a horseshoe shaped drive that we see today was not the first plan for the new asylum in Anoka. The original architect, Warren B. Dunnell, had a different vision for the site. Dunnell, a Minneapolis-based architect, was probably best known as the architect of the Fergus Falls State Hospital, the State School for Dependent & Neglected Children in...

Maple Hill Cemetery

Dedicated in 1857, the rolling slopes of Maple Hill became the final resting place of early settlers of Minneapolis and Civil War veterans. Over the next 30 years, more than 5,000 bodies were buried in the cemetery. Because little thought was given to the ongoing maintenance and care of the cemetery, the grounds quickly fell into disrepair. By 1894, just over 1,300 bodies and...

Walker Art Center’s Idea House

The Walker Art Center’s Idea Houses I and II were the first fully-functional homes built by a museum in the United States. Rather than selling a product, the houses were built to promote cutting-edge ideas in modern home design and the possibilities of the future. Idea House I was constructed in 1941–the height of an extreme housing shortage prompted by the Great Depression. Idea House...

A Turn of the Century Trestle in Akeley

If you travel north on Highway 64 through central Minnesota, you will likely pass through Akeley. It’s is a small town of about 400 residents and nearly as many lakes. Today, it’s hard to believe this sleepy community was once a lumber boom town. Around the turn of the last century, the first logging camp went up on the east side of the Crow...