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Saturday June 24th 2017

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“Tell Me a Story”…in Joyce Krook’s words

Joyce Krook as she tells her story on youtube.com/VisitLakeStreet. Joyce grew up near Lake Street, took first job as a secretary in a medical ward at Northwestern Hospital at her mother’s suggestion, “you don’t have to stay there all of your life, just to get some experience,” well, stay she did—retiring after 48 years mostly being “the face” of Abbott-Northwestern Hospitals and Allina to the entire southside of Minneapolis working from her leadership position in community affairs. Her last office was in the new Allina’s Commons portion of the old Sears Roebuck building in which her mother worked in the dry goods department. She was one of the original Board of Directors of the Lake Street Council decades ago.

Lake Street Council is working hard this year to collect and promote the history of the Lake Street area. The first stage to this project is collecting oral histories of longtime residents. We started with Alley ally Joyce Krook. Here are some excerpts of Joyce recalling her childhood growing up in the Hennepin & Lake area.

Please visit youtube.com/VisitLakeStreet to watch the whole video interview with Joyce and others! And if you are a longtime resident who remembers well the Lake Street from decades past, and would like your story recorded, please get in touch with us!

Call 612-824-7420 or email coien@lakestreetcouncil.org.

Joyce Krook Reminisces about childhood near Lake Street
About the apartment Joyce & her family lived in near Lake Street

After we moved to 29th & Dupont, we lived there until 1955 so that was quite a few years. … It was a four-plex. I have no idea how old the building was. We lived upstairs. It was a one bedroom apartment and it was my mom and dad and four kids, and we were cramped. My sister and I slept on a rollaway, and in the summertime we could open up our front porch and double our bedroom space. My brothers then had the porch, so that was nice. Otherwise, it was a pretty small place: kitchen, bedroom, bath, dining room, and then the porch in the summertime. I remember that there was another fourplex right next door, and the people next door got the first TV of anybody in any of these buildings. We could sit in our living room window and look over and see their TV on. But then we were the next ones to get a TV. It was a Muntz TV, it was huge. The people in my building would come over to watch TV in the evening, and my dad had to get up really early to go to work so he’d say “I’m going to bed now, turn off the TV when you go home.”

About visiting Lake Street

We shopped at the stores up and down Lake Street. We either walked to the stores or took the streetcar. Some of the stores I remember going to were Hove’s, a bakery that was just a block away from us. There was a delicatessen called Abram’s that was just a block away from us. We’d walk down to Hennepin & Lake to get Chinese at Port Arthur. … And of course we shopped at Sears, and we bought all of our shoes at Roberts Shoes. They had this cool machine that once you were trying on your new shoes you could slip your foot in this x-ray machine and it could see the outline of the shoes and you could see your toes in there so you could see how much wiggle room you had, how long you’d be able to wear those shoes. They don’t use those anymore. [There is this type of foot X-Ray machine on display at the Science Museum of MN showing where it leaked radiation from several places and mostly affecting the sales person. Ed.]

And we went to Calhoun Elementary School, which was located where Calhoun Square is currently located. That was just four blocks from our house so we walked to school. … I was in Campfire Girls when I went to school there and one of our summer projects was, you’d get a badge for gardening, so I’m a gardener now and that’s how my gardening started. I had a little triangle shaped garden at our house and planted some flowers and it was good enough to earn a badge. That’s how my gardening career started.

Right across the street from us was this huge building, called the Buzza Building at the time. It’s now where Minneapolis Public Schools has some offices and that’s where community ed offices are, but when it was the Buzza Building it was military personnel. I don’t know what they did there, but that’s what I remember was there.

At Hennepin & Lake there two movie theaters which are still there, the Uptown and the Suburban World. The merchants in the area would give out passes to kids so that we could go to the movies. It was either free or it cost 5 cents, and we’d go to the Saturday matinee. And I really don’t remember going to the movies any other time except when we got those passes from the Lake Street businesses. The merchants would just give them out, we’d just stop in and we’d get this pass and we’d get to go to the movies.

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