Friday, December 4, 2015

Urban Hike: Early Nordeast Houses

If I didn't know better I would walk right past this unassuming house. It looks to be about the right size and style for Nordeast (Northeast Minneapolis), and it's in a typical neighborhood.

A typical Nordeast neighborhood has a bunch of churches and bars. There's five churches within a couple blocks of this house, and plenty bars within staggering distance.

The house was built some time in the 1850's through 1870's making it one of just a handful of houses in Minneapolis surviving from that time. The Minneapolis fire of 1893 destroyed more than 23 surrounding blocks, but somehow spared this house.

I've been capturing points of interest in an interactive map while walking around Nordeast. One layer of the map is devoted to residential structures, including houses. I've discussed Nordeast in several posts.

The 1880's were boom years for Minneapolis. As the population went up three- to four-fold, demand for housing increased, and there was a push to provide greater density. The P. W. Lein duplex is a rather fine example, sitting in a block of single family homes.

P. W. Lein Duplex, 1888
Nearby there are other 19th Century homes, including the architect-designed McMillan-Lacy-Bros House.

McMillan-Lacy-Bros House (1886). 
The house feels a little snobby next to its more modest neighbors. An upscale neighborhood was supposed to nucleate around this house, but that never happened. At one point it was subdivided into thirteen apartments, but it is, once again, a single family home.

It's easy to spot the house on this Zillow map:
In a so-called "upscale" neighborhood it would fetch several times as much.

When I stand in the street outside the house and look east, I get this view:
Within a couple blocks, the area becomes (former) industrial. Three blocks away, a still-operating General Mills cereal plant dominates the skyline.

Nordeast is full of interesting juxtapositions; for example, this 1889 brick Queen Anne.

1889 House (left) next to 1923 House.
I first dismissed the more modest house next door as post-World War II. But then I noticed the old brick chimney and wondered if the house was an older vintage. It was actually built in 1923.

I expect to find many more interesting juxtapositions in future walks.


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