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Two Rivers Gallery Prepares For Remodel

Two Rivers Gallery Prepares For Remodel

A drum with fresh ID tag waits to be photographed Curatorial Assistant, Sydney Ockenga secures an ID tag to materials in the collections Photos by Lydia Four Horns by BEN HEATH As the Minneapolis American Indian Center on Franklin Avenue gears up for its expansion over the next few years, Two Rivers Gallery is taking care of the art. Arts consultant Lydia Four Horns has the task of locating, identifying, documenting and safely storing all the works of art that Two Rivers Gallery has collected since its first art show in 1975, held at what was then the Minnesota Regional Native American Center. Since that first show, the gallery has built an extensive collection of works by Native artists from across the country. Some of the many artists represented include JoAnne Bird, Darren Vigil Gray, and Fritz Scholder. The estimated number of artworks held by the gallery is around 1,000, including the newly acquired American Indian Movement archives. Additionally, the immense George Morrison wood piece spanning approximately 700 square feet on the building exterior will be uninstalled and receive extensive restoration before being stored until construction is complete. Currently, Four Horns is working on an inventory of items. She says the process includes “photographic documentation and object condition reporting, with museum standards of proper storage and handling methods.” There are also plans to develop a long range preservation and conservation strategy. “A part of these goals will be to improve storage conditions and make the collection accessible to our community and for scholarly research, onsite and virtually.” After reopening in the summer of 2025, the expanded building will have more than 20,000 additional square feet, and the Two Rivers Gallery will relocate to the center of the Franklin Ave side, alongside the Gatherings Cafe. “This will allow the general public more accessible accommodations to move throughout the front areas, with [...]

2615 Park Avenue: Celebrating 75 Years of Cooperative Living

2615 Park Avenue: Celebrating 75 Years of Cooperative Living

2615 Park Avenue in the 1950s / Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society By Becky Gazca, Walt Weaver, and Lou Tiffany Welter How many of you have driven by this building on the corner of Park Avenue and 26th Street and wondered what it was? In front of the American Swedish Institute, “2615 Park” was built in 1929-1930 filling an empty spot in the neighborhood landscape. It was the dream of our founders and builders, Carl Anderson, Gustav Nelson, Andrew Rydell and Gustav Rydell, to build the most luxurious and elegant apartment building in this neighborhood. “Financing for the construction of 2615 was obtained by the financial skin of our teeth in 1929. The architect most often credited for creating the plans was Martin G. Lindquist. The construction firm was the Anderson-Nelson Company, owned by Carl Anton “C.A.” Anderson and Gustav “Gus” Nelson, both recent Swedish immigrants. Originally designed to be ten stories high, plans were scaled back to six stories thanks to The Great Depression. 2615 was to be a “residents” hotel but with all of the amenities of a typical “transient” hotel. Owned by a group of businessmen, it was managed by the Anderson-Nelson Company with C.A.'s son, Lars, acting as garage attendant, office manager, maintenance man, switchboard operator, boiler tender, and grounds keeper for its first twelve years. When did that man sleep? On August 20, 1947, the Star Journal announced: “First steps to turn 2615 Park Avenue, a million-dollar apartment building, into a co-operative with tenants purchasing their own apartments were underway today. ”Soon the era of chauffeurs, maids, cooks and laundresses became a part of 2615 lore. Loretta’s Tea Room served its final Sunday brunch more than twenty-five years ago. We know that some people with illustrious names at one time made their homes here: Ted Mann; Charlie Johnson of sports fame; popular newspaper columnist Bob Murphy; conductor Eugene Ormandy; teacher, [...]

Tales from the Cemetery: FAQs

Tales from the Cemetery: FAQs

The fish were biting at Cedar and Lake. Twenty-first century kids had the opportunity to play 19th-century games. Photo credit: Tim McCall By SUE HUNTER WEIR Frequently Asked Questions The answers to most, if not all of these questions have appeared in one of the Cemetery Tales that have been published over the last almost-20 years. Here they are all in one place. When was the first burial? Who was it? The first burial took place in September 1853. The funeral was for 10-month old Carlton Keith Cressey. His father was the minister of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis. Who owned the cemetery? The cemetery was privately owned by Martin and Elizabeth Layman, transplanted New Yorkers. They arrived in Minnesota in the 1850s and built the sixth house in what would become Minneapolis. They had 13 children, all of whom survived to adulthood. Although the cemetery was commonly referred to as “Layman’s Cemetery,” its legal name in its early days was Minneapolis Cemetery. Who owns the cemetery now? Between 1853 and 1919, more than 27,000 people were buried in the cemetery. It was full and no longer profitable. It was poorly maintained and local residents and merchants petitioned the City Council to close the cemetery. They voted to close it to future burials. Although they were not required to, families disinterred the remains of about 5,000 relatives and moved them to other cemeteries. In 1925, concerned citizens began a letter writing campaign and the state legislature approved a bonding bill that enabled the City of Minneapolis to buy out the interests of the Layman family heirs. When that transaction was completed, the name was changed from Layman’s or Minneapolis Cemetery to Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery. The City currently maintains the cemetery and owns the 5,000 empty graves and the physical structures (cottage, flagpole, fence, etc.). Occupied graves remain the property of family members. When was [...]

Tales from the Cemetery August ’22

Tales from the Cemetery August ’22

by Sue Hunter Weir Pictures courtesy Gretchen Pederson, cemetery caretaker. The good news and the bad news...The bad news: Several large tree branches have come down in recent storms and either have been or will be removed by the Park Board. On the Fourth of July, a stolen van loaded with fireworks crashed into the fence near the Cedar-Lake bus stop. The good news: The trim on the caretaker’s cottage has a fresh coat of paint, and the 50-foot-tall flagpole has also been repainted. Elizabeth Avenue, the cemetery’s only road has been seal coated. On July 8th, three new markers, all for infants, were placed. Architects from Miller- Dunwiddie have been surveying the limestone pillars and restoration will begin soon. When a street in South Minneapolis was renamed to honor John Cheatham, Minneapolis’ first Black firefighter, it was a big news story. It was picked up by all of the local television stations, by Minneapolis Public Radio and by the Atlanta Black Star and the Grio, a national news outlet that focuses on stories of interest to African-Americans. The fact that he was Minneapolis' first Black firefighter is an important story but it isn’t the whole story. His is also a story about character and community. One of the questions that wasn’t addressed is why John Cheatham was the first. Clearly, he was smart and hardworking. But he was much more than that. There were more than 50 newspaper stories about him that appeared during his lifetime. The answer to the question of what made him stand out—what made him special--is reflected in those stories. One of the words that was often used to describe him was “respected.” He was an important member of the City’s early African-American community, a person who would be described as a pillar of the community. He had close ties to several families who have members buried in the cemetery. His name first appears in Minnesota census records in 1875 when he was living with Morgan and [...]

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: 150th Anniversary and Still Proclaiming the Gospel

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: 150th Anniversary and Still Proclaiming the Gospel

The current home of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is at 1901 Portland Avenue South. Built as a Presbyterian church in 1887, the building was acquired by St. Paul’s in the 1960s. The congregation has worshiped in several nearby locations throughout its 150-year history.Credit: Photo provided by St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church By PASTOR TOM PARRISH, current pastor of St. Paul’s On Sunday July 10, 2022 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at Portland Ave S and 19th Ave will be celebrating 150 years of Jesus’ faithfulness and mission. That timespan takes us back to 1872, a mere seventeen years after Minneapolis was established, and the same year St. Anthony Falls and Minneapolis merged into one city. The proximity of Fort Snelling, built in 1819, was one of the major catalysts for the establishment of the two towns and their uniting into Minneapolis. 1872 was a mere four years prior to Custer’s defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Into this mix St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church was established. Throughout those 150 years the church has had but one goal. That goal is to clearly present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How did St. Paul’s go about this mission? The church did the typical things most churches do in providing worship, music, education, children’s Sunday School and member care. But over those years St. Paul’s did even more. World Missions have been an important part of the church's life in sending, supporting, and praying for hundreds of men and women who serve around the world. St. Paul’s has also been on the radio for many years under the leadership of Pastor Carrol Satre. More recently, Pastor Roland Wells has developed two inner city ministries for training students of college age and older how to teach, minister and change lives. Today St. Paul’s is still doing inner city and worldwide ministry. Under the church's mandate of purpose, which is “To know Jesus, to Grow in Him, to Share Him with [...]

Tales from the Cemetery #200: A Peaceable Fourth?

Tales from the Cemetery #200:  A Peaceable Fourth?

Caption: Jan Hamorrik's marker is typical of markers placed on the graves of Slovak immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.Credit: Tim McCall by Sue Hunter Weir Reporters who covered Fourth of July festivities in 1906 had a peculiar notion of what a “peaceable” Fourth looked like. The Minneapolis Tribune described it as the “most peaceable Fourth that the city has seen.” They then went on to list 29 injuries and accidents, including two children blinded, three people who lost fingers, and numerous people, mostly children, with burned faces, hands and arms. The Journal’s headline described the day’s events in its headline: “Man Murdered, Boy Blinded, Many Patriots Injured.” The man who was murdered was 24-year Jan Hamorrik, a Slovak immigrant. Little, other than the fact that he was employed as a laborer, is known about him but he appears not to have lived in Minneapolis more than a year or so. His wife, Anna, gave birth to their daughter, also named Anna, on June 5, 1906, about a month before her father was killed. On the Fourth of July, Hamorrik was drinking with his friend Andrew Shurba in a saloon owned by Shurba’s son-in-law. Shurba’s son, Steven, who had been drinking heavily, came into the saloon and demanded that his father give him money to buy fireworks. His father refused and Steven struck him. Hamorrik intervened, striking Steven. Steven went to the back of the saloon and replaced the blank bullets in his 35-calibre gun with live ammunition. He headed toward the front of the saloon where he fired three shots. Two of them struck Hamorrik, one of them in his heart. He died on the way to the hospital. Although there was never any question that Steven shot Hamorrik, there were a number of complicated issues that came out during the trial. The majority of witnesses described Hamorrik as a Good Samaritan, a “peacemaker” who was trying to, if not defuse the situation, protect Andrew Shurba. During the trial, however, [...]

A Sister Remembered #199

A Sister Remembered #199

By Sue Hunter Weir Carolyne's grave. Her name was most often spelled Carolyne but is spelled Caroline on her marker. Photo credit Sue Hunter Weir Captain Nudd / Minnesota Historical Society Maude Wiggin is the forgotten sister in the Wiggin family tree even though she isn’t really all that hard to find. She was named in the 1870 census and when she died on December 12, 1877, her obituary appeared in the Minneapolis Tribune and it is easily accessed online. Maude died from something called “spinal disease,” most likely spinal meningitis. She was 13 years and nine months old. Her sister, Carolyne, was 12. There were also two other younger sisters, Nancy and Mae. Carolyne, Nancy and Mae appear on several family trees on ancestry.com but there is no mention of Maude. It’s almost as though she never existed, yet she is buried in the Wiggin-Nudd family plot near her grandmother, Nancy Wiggin Nudd. Her cousin, Captain Charles Nudd, a Civil War veteran, is buried there, as is a woman named Mary Nudd, whose connection to the family is something of a mystery. The Nudd-Wiggin family was typical of most of the cemetery’s earliest burials. They were transplanted New Englanders, many of whom could trace their families back to the American Revolution. Carolyne and Maude’s great-great-grandfather, Andrew Wiggin, “immediately responded to the call for soldiers made in 1877. James Wiggin, their great-grandfather, one of Andrew’s 17 children, also enlisted. Andrew was 37 at the time, James was 17. Andrew was described in the History of Wolfesborough, New Hampshire as a man who “had little education, but was a man of probity and sound judgment, as evinced by the responsible positions in which his townsmen placed him. He held few offices on account of his lack of educational attainments, but no citizen was more respected, and few had greater influence in directing public affairs than he. He had much to do with the building of the town meeting house, [...]

# 198 Jack Ferman

# 198 Jack Ferman

Tales from the Cemetery by Susan Hunter Weir November 20, 2021, was a bittersweet day in the history of Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. It was a sad day because it was the day that his wife and daughters buried Jack Ferman. It was a sweet day because he was buried where he wanted to be—in his family’s plot near the cemetery’s Lake Street gates. Jack’s was our first burial in 22 years and the first in the 21st century. If you attended one of the movies that we’ve shown in the cemetery and bought some snacks, there’s a good chance that you bought them from Jack. He attended every Memorial Day program for at least the past 20 years and possibly before that. He was at all of our fundraising events, always present and always helping out. He was on the Board of Friends of the Cemetery. He wrote about his immigrant grandparents who are buried in the cemetery in an Alley story published in January 2016. He followed politics, both local and national, closely and was a frequent contributor to e-democracy.com. He loved to tell jokes, most of them awful. Jack spent four years in the Navy. He had traced the story of his Norwegian seafaring family back to the 17th century. He had a Ph.D in metallurgy and worked on projects for General Motors and Westinghouse in the University’s Physics Department. Later, he worked for the Pollution Control Agency. One of the questions that we are most often asked is whether it is possible to be buried in the cemetery. The answer is almost always, “maybe, although it’s not very likely.” More than a century ago, in 1918, the City Council voted to close the cemetery to future burials. In 1935, they voted to allow exceptions for people who met certain conditions. Those who want to be buried there have to own a plot purchased before 1918 and to have a family member already buried in the cemetery. And the City has to approve the burial. Jack had the original deed to his family’s plot. It is dated [...]

Phillips Neighborhood history book wins award

Phillips Neighborhood history book wins award

Top photograph by alley contributor Paula Williamson/ University of Minnesota Press by BEN HEATH As part of the 2022 Minnesota Book Awards, scholar David Hugill is the recipient of the Minnesota History award for his book Settler Colonial City. Hugill's book, published last year by the University of Minnesota Press is a critical look at some of the social forces in Phillips after WWII. Our present city and our neighborhoods are not neutral places where history is suspended, instead they are founded in settler-colonial relations, where white supremacy and non-white oppression are by design. The author lived and worked in Phillips as he completed his research. Hugill describes the neighborhood of Phillips in terms of “sites of articulation”, meaning places where the interactions between two or more social factors are especially visible. Minneapolis is the Settler Colonial City, and Phillips is where the record is rich in material. This a study of racism and inequity. It should come as no surprise that our community has seen much. Over the years and decades since white settlement, our city and state institutions have thrived because of the prevailing settler-minded attitudes of exploitation and domination codified by government policies of Indian termination, removal, and relocation. These policies continue to effect many residents of our neighborhood. In response, our community is also the site of resistance. From the beginning of the book, Phillips is established as a community of people largely excluded from the decision-making and rewards of so-called urban renewal or urban change. Largely because of this exclusion the community has been of interest to well-meaning liberal anti-racist organizations who unfortunately used racist settler-minded thinking to develop and administer their programs. The author implicates these organizations in the perpetuation of inequity, rather than as significant challengers against it. There are other examples of [...]

Tales from the Cemetery: Righting History

Tales from the Cemetery: Righting History

Bryan Tyner, Minneapolis’ first Black fire chief, pays tribute to Captain John Cheatham, Minneapolis’ first Black firefighter. By SUE HUNTER WEIR Something important happened in Minneapolis at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 17, 2022. Street signs along the nine-block stretch of road between 34th Street and 43rd Street in South Minneapolis were replaced. What had been known as Dight Avenue became Cheatham Avenue. It’s the kind of change that causes some folks to rage about “cancel culture,” but others will see it for what it is—honoring John Cheatham, an honorable man whose contributions to the city’s history should have been recognized long ago. Charles F. Dight, a Socialist, served on the Minneapolis City Council from 1914 to 1918. He was one of three Socialists on the City Council at the time but the only one who lived in what was more or less a tree house that he built on 39th Avenue and Minnehaha Creek. He was described as a “conservative Socialist” meaning that he opposed the use of violence to effect social change which was not in and of itself a bad thing. If it stopped there, he might have gone down in history as an amiable eccentric. But he was not. He advocated for the forced sterilization of those who were deemed “defective.” It got worse. In 1933, he wrote to Hitler, praising him for his support for eliminating “mental defectives.” So how did he get a street named after him? The honor was conferred on him by his City Council colleagues at the end of his second term. To be fair, his belief in eugenics was not widely known. That became clear in 1923 when he founded the Minnesota Eugenics Society. It appears that the honor was bestowed upon him because his colleagues and local newspaper editors believed that he had come to his senses—that he had become a “Bad Socialist,” someone whose political party refused to endorse his candidacy for reelection. In the midst of the “Red Scare” that followed the [...]

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