Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is 200 Years Old Today

His name lives on in South Minneapolis:

Happy 200th birthday, Longfellow

Longfellow’s popularity accorded him an influence far beyond that of other public figures. His poems gave human voice to Indians and slaves, promoted strong women, and held forth on the horrors of the Civil War, witchcraft in Salem, the suppression of the Quakers and racial prejudice. His writings were discussed by Americans across the growing country, shaping both their self-image and their ethic of tolerance. Longfellow’s unique ability to combine history with rhyme sang to the nation’s soul.

The Longfellow House Minnehaha Park is a replica of his Cambridge, MA home.

Though Longfellow never traveled to Minnesota or Louisiana, his epic poems “The Song of Hiawatha” and “Evangeline” have influenced both those regions, where the stories unfolded, and each still celebrates the poet. Scores of towns, roads, scenic highways, bridges, housing developments and hundreds of schools are named after the characters and locales of these poems, as well as for Longfellow himself.

Plenty more can be found at Wikipedia.

There is a Longfellow, Minneapolis page on Wikipedia, but it’s just a stub at this point. Add what you can.

46th & 46th Condos Update

From today’s LCC Insider:

46th & 46th Development Update
Longfellow Community Council hosted a meeting on February 22 to get an update from the developer of the 46th and 46th condo project. The project has been delayed by the slowdown in condo sales but the developer expects to re-start construction in June.

A major issue associated with the project has been the blocked sidewalks. The developer chose to pay for blocking the sidewalk during construction, but this created an unacceptable situation for residents who needed access to the sidewalk to safely use the 46th and 46th intersection. The developer made some changes that create safe walking areas for pedestrians along both 46th Street and 46th Avenue. There are some tweaks still needed, but over-all the area is much safer and accessible for pedestrians. (information reprinted from Ward 12 Update)

Aren’t there rules in place regarding a minimum percentage of sold units before development can start in order to prevent situations like this?

Previous post here.

Settlement in Longfellow / Metro Produce Case

The lawsuit between the city of Minneapolis and Longfellow based Metro Produce has come to a close with the city coughing up $2.3 million:

Neighbors in the Longfellow neighborhood had complained about the trucks idling all night at Metro Produce Distributors Inc. But the City Council’s attempt to outlaw the practice went too far and illegally hurt its business, Metro Produce claimed in a lawsuit.

Here’s my take from the 13th:

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. It sounds like the business was operating in the area before the law was changed. How does that play into the court’s decision?

It sounds like that was the key issue in the settlement.

Here’s what will happen next: Metro Produce will eventually decide to move. It may be a few years or decades. When they do, the city will take that as an opportunity to rezone the land for residential use, condos will go in, and the residents near Metro Produce will complain about the increase in their property taxes caused by the end of the industrial noise.

Twin Cities Coffee Review Site: Cafeapolis

Via, MNSpeak, Cafeapolis is a new blog written by a new Longfellow resident (via Madison) reviewing coffee shops in the Twin Cities.  The first review was of the Blue Moon Coffee Cafe:

“This coffee shop is truly a neighborhood living room. It is not the type of place that someone would drive across town to visit; it is filled with neighbors and regulars just wanting a relaxing place to talk or study or just enjoy a warm cup. Benches sit outside along the front window and, when the weather is warm, tables and chairs also occupy the sidewalk area on the east side of the building.”

Strangely, The Other Mike doesn’t appear in any of the photos from that review.

Industrial Bumping Up Against Residential in Longfellow

I think we’ll see more cases like this as new housing goes up along the Hiawatha corridor:

Lawsuit pits fresh produce against a good night’s sleep

“Herring and his neighbors in the North Longfellow Block Club have been locked in a long-standing dispute with Metro Produce Distributors Inc., which operates the trucks. Next week, attorneys for the company and the city of Minneapolis are expected to go to a mediator to try to settle a federal lawsuit over the matter.

In 2005, the Minneapolis City Council added to existing ordinances prohibiting trucks from loading or unloading outside an insulated building near residential areas between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The new rules also banned trucks from idling or operating refrigeration units during those hours.

The city then cited Metro Produce for violating the rules, court documents say. Metro Produce sued, calling the ordinances vague and unconstitutional. Late last month, a federal judge sided with the company on several claims.”

The blocks along the railroad tracks, and the onces between Hiawatha and Minnehaha are probably the most problematic for industrial noise or dust encroaching on residential properties. Of course, it’s not always clear who’s encroaching on who. For example, if a person bought a home in the flight path of an airport, knowing full well that the airport was there, would they have a right to complain about airport noise?

Here’s a link to a map of the location in question. As you can see, the area (both 27th Ave S and 28th St E) is a dividing line between residential housing and industrial buildings.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. It sounds like the business was operating in the area before the law was changed. How does that play into the court’s decision?

46th & 46th Condo Development Update

I received this notice today:

What: Meeting on the status of the 46th St & 46th Ave development

When: Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 6:30pm

Where: Hiawatha School Park

It’s great that there is an update scheduled but why have a meeting to discuss what could probably be summarized in the meeting request itself? Send out an update so I know what’s going on. If I have a problem with it, THEN I’ll show up to the meeting to discuss the topic.

Another good place for updates would be on the 46th & 46th page of the developer’s web site.

My Visit to LoFo

Earlier tonight, I spent some time in LoFo, aka. Lower Longfellow. Or, as the city of Minneapolis tries to call it, Hiawatha or Howe or something.

It took me a while to pin down the differences between LoFo and Lake8, but I think figured it out.

Driving through, a person with untrained inner-city senses may not be able to pick up on the subtle differences. Both areas are dominated by bungalow style homes. Both share the exact same avenues. Both have nice parks, easy access to West River Road, and fast commutes to downtown.

The difference I found . . . is the aroma.

The fast pace of Lake8 comes with a price. Families have no time to cook, and are forced to stop at one of the two fast food restaurants along E Lake Street on their way home from their white collar jobs: McDonald’s or Taco Bell. The area wreaks of unfinished happy meals and half-eaten 7-Later Burritos.

LoFo, on the other hand, has a potpourri of home-cooked freshly chopped herbs, slow cooked stews & chili, and non-microwaved popcorn filling the air. It reminded my of a simpler time. Wobegone like, where the meals are all above average.

It’s Leave it to Beaver vs. American Beauty wrapped up in one sense: smell.

Longfellow Neighborhood Movie Stars

It’s amazing how many movie stars are from the Longfellow neighborhood.

First, you have Jesse Ventura, who grew up across the street from the Kohler household on 46th Ave S.

Then you have the Kohler household, which is ALMOST famous since it was filmed for the movie Fargo as the sheriff’s house, but didn’t make the final cut.

And now throw Aaron Landry into the mix for his cameo roll in An Inconvenient Truth.

Interestingly, all three examples come from Northern Longfellow, specifically Cooper. What’s the deal with LoFo?

I’m Big in South Minneapolis

While I’ve previously reported that I’m big in Minnesota, that’s nothing compared to being big in South Minneapolis. Imagine my excitement when I found out that a Longfellow blog, Jackalope Ranch, added a link to The Deets.

It’s worth noting that while Mike of JR and I both live in the Longfellow neighborhood, we are not neighbors. Mike resides in SoLo, aka. South Longfellow, while I’m in NoLo. Or am I in NoLo? Heck, I can’t remember. I believe the terms were coined by Mike, so maybe he can explain in the comments or on Jackalope Ranch.

Jackalope Ranch may seem like a strange name for a blog based in Minneapolis. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a jackalope running across the street in South Minneapolis. It’s rare to even find one mounted above the mantel in a South Minneapolis bungalow. It turns out that Mike’s some kind of transient who once drank a Lone Star while watching a Spurs game, so considers himself Texan. At least, that’s my one sentence explanation.