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November 2013 Volume 10 Number 11

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History in the making Dakota County Historical Society is under new leadership Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

Tim Spitzack Editor


hat do the following have in common? A Civil War mansion in Hastings, an authentic general store and post office in South St. Paul, intriguing traveling exhibits and smart phone technology that brings the past to the present for younger generations. The answer is that they are all under the purview of the new executive director of the Dakota County Historical Society, Lynn Gruber. Hired in July, succeeding Chad Roberts, Gruber is immersed in a field that she has always loved: American history. Now she is responsible for preserving history from throughout Dakota County and bringing it to life through exciting and entertaining exhibitions to help people understand how the past influences their lives today. The Historical Society and the Lawshe Memorial Museum are located at 130 3rd Ave. N., South St. Paul.

Open house planned for missing link of North Urban Regional Trail


Lynn Gruber at the Lawshe Museum. Gruber’s experience with leadership, collaborative work, fundraising and problem-solving made her the top choice of the Dakota County Historical Society’s board of directors. She has been a committed volunteer with the Wayzata Historical Society since 1990, serving as president, secretary, treasurer and newsletter editor.

In her new role, she is pleased to be working alongside board members and staff that, she said, are extremely dedicated to their work.

Keepers of history Currently 36,000 cataloged items are stored in a controlled environment in the Lawshe Museum,

including historical documents and papers, books, and other items. The Historical Society also manages and offers tours of the William LeDuc Civil War mansion and historical estate in Hastings. Gruber credits the Friends of the LeDuc House chapter of the HisLynn Gruber / Page 2

eventeen years ago the Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved a master plan for an 8-mile hiking-biking trail that meanders across northern Dakota County from the Mississippi River Regional Trail in South St. Paul on the east to the Big Rivers Trail in Mendota Heights on the west. Over the years the trail has been constructed inward utilizing both city and county trails but controversy over a one-mile link in West St. Paul has prevented its completion, until now. The missing section is near the Dodge Nature Center and Henry Sibley High School. In the past year, the project stalled twice as the county worked out a new alignment to appease both Dodge and Independent School District (ISD) 197. The County Board approved the final alignment on May 7 and Dodge and ISD 197 have pledged their support of it, but final details are still being ironed out. A public open house is scheduled for 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14 at Mendota Heights City Hall, 1101 Victoria Curve, to discuss the trail’s design and construction schedule, which is slated to be completed next summer. The trail connection will travel along the west and north boundaries of the Henry Sibley campus and provide connections to the school and athletic facilities. Plans also call for an outdoor classroom and native restoration along the trail in the northwest corner of the campus. It also travels through Dodge Nature Center property and will feature an environmental interpretive node there. The most significant part of the project is the construction of the Charlton Street Underpass, connecting Dodge Nature Center property and Garlough Park. The underpass will accommodate the many field trips to the nature center by teachers and students at nearby Garlough Elementary.


South St. Paul game shop relocates to Southview Shopping Center Library partnership spurs reading and gaming Bill Knight Contributor


t first glance, a library and a place known as a “one-stop-geek-shop” seem to have little in common. But after talking with Amy Commers and Tony Leitner, one can easily see how well they fit together. Commers is the youth services librarian at the South St. Paul Library and Leit-

ner is co-owner with Tony Hoaglund of Level Up Games. Since opening four years ago Level Up Games has grown so fast that in September the owners moved from their storefront on Marie Avenue to 207 13th Ave. S. in the Southview Shopping Center. They are on the north side with about three times the space of their former location.

Part of their success has come from working with various community organizations, including the library. “You literally couldn’t move around in the store, so that turned on a light bulb in our heads,” Leitner said of the old store, where they hosted numerous promotions and gaming tournaments. In their new store they

have video, card and board game tournaments daily. One game, Magic: The Gathering, draws mostly adults in their 20s to 40s. Another one, Yu-Gi-Oh, is played mostly by teens. Leitner said their enterprise is so popular that it has become “a destination store,” attracting gamers from neighboring states. Although adult males comprise the greatest de-

mographic, families enjoy the store as well. “There are a lot of parents coming in with their kids,” Leitner said. The adults are attracted to the vintage games they played when they were kids and now they want their children to be able to play the same games. “It’s just a cool, little one-stop-geek-shop,” he said.

Leitner and Hoaglund, both 31, have been friends and game geeks since middle school. “It was our dream to have a game and comic book store ever since we can remember,” Leitner said. Both graduated from Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights and Level Up Games / Page 3

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Lynn Gruber from page 1

torical Society for keeping things running smoothly there. The mansion’s fouracre estate includes a garden with crops that are consistent with what would have been raised there in its early years. The produce is shared with the local food shelf. Book clubs, artists and other community groups take advantage of the building’s rent-free spaces for meetings and gatherings. The building is owned by the

city of Hastings. One of Gruber’s goals is to reach out to the rest of the cities in Dakota County. The Historical Society’s museum is located about as far north in the county as you can get. South St. Paul was chosen as the museum site largely because of the efforts of Fred Lawshe, a South St. Paul resident and visionary. He was the first president of the Historical Society and started collecting artifacts in 1939 for what he envisioned as a museum in the future. His collections

were displayed in City Hall, but as he added to his collection he kept outgrowing his space there. Finally, his dream came true when the County built the museum in 1976. It has an exhibition hall and a charming Old Town section where visitors can catch a glimpse of what a post office, general store or blacksmith shop would have looked like during the early years of South St. Paul. Each section in the Old Town is filled with authentic artifacts that bring to life bygone days in South

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St. Paul. Gruber wants to take artifacts from these and other exhibits on the road and envisions rotating a variety of smaller exhibitions for short periods of times at different venues across the County. She is looking for grants and additional funding to make that possible. She also would like to make better use of technology and is overseeing the redesign of the Dakota County Museum and Historical Society website and use of social media.


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health care industry. She started in that field during college by working in the business office at North Memorial Hospital. She graduated from the University of Minnesota after studying English and journalism and went on to get a law degree. Her North Memorial experience proved valuable in landing her first job in 1978 with the Minnesota Medical Association, advising physicians on state and federal regulations. Gruber then worked with the Hennepin County Medical Society advising physicians on ethics and economic practices. This organization would give birth to Physicians Health Plan, better known as PHP, which would evolve into Medica. It was the first health maintenance organization (HMO) in the state. In 1987 she began working for Paul Ellwood, Jr., (the man who coined the phrase HMO) at InterStudy Health Policy, a pioneering think tank that had become the source for national HMO information. Ellwood, a pediatric neurologist at Sister Kinney Institute in Minneapo-

lis, believed in helping his patients be proactive with their health care instead of reactive. Gruber’s job was to maintain national surveys and share the results with the media. She also is one of the founding members of the Women in Healthcare Management, started in 1979 with the purpose of mentoring young women entering the health care field and assisting them in gaining better jobs. In 1990 she became executive director of the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, a nonprofit created by the Legislature in 1976 in cooperation with health insurance companies and agencies to cover individuals, retirees and those with pre-existing conditions who had no health insurance. She worked in collaboration with insurance companies in devising formulas of payment. She plans to transfer the enormous experience she has gained through her work in the health care industry to her encore career with the Dakota County Historical Society.

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Level Up Games from page 1

credit a teacher there with encouraging their entrepreneurialism. “We had a business teacher in high school who taught us some of the ins and outs of running a small business. He told us entrepreneurship is a most satisfying thing to achieve,” said Leitner.

A win-win partnership The collaboration with the library started when Commers and Leitner’s wife, Dara, a library volunteer, teamed up. “Tony’s wife and son came to many library programs,” said Commers. “I asked if she might have any games we could put into a display case in the children’s area.” The answer was yes, and after some discussion, they decided to incorporate various tabletop games into the library’s monthly family

A large crowd joined the fun during Level Up Game’s grand opening weekend. game nights that run annually from January to May. It turned out to be a great move. “It’s a matter of finding the right niche and the right time when families can come to the library and participate,” said Commers. “It’s literacy that we are

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interested in promoting.” Gaming is but one example of the many creative ways to promote literacy, she said. “If you think about board games, you have to read to be able to play,” she said. “So beyond the fun, there are a lot of reading skills that go on with tabletop games.”

The geeks of Level Up offer more to the library than just the fun of gaming. “They have been a big supporter of our summer reading program for the last two years with a monetary donation and gift certificates that we use as prizes,” said Commers.

At the end of the summer the library hosted a party for the kids who participated in the reading program, and the popularity of the certificates went beyond those youths. “Some of the teens who were volunteering for me this summer were at the

kids’ party asking, ‘So what if there aren’t enough kids? Can we have one of the gift certificates?’” Commers said with a laugh. “They kept trying an angle to get one of those prizes from me.” Leitner looks at the library partnership in a similar light, saying it’s about teaching people to play games, and from that, learn to read. Level Up Games is planning two new promotional events. “We get tons of free comic books so we’re thinking about having Comic Book Days at the library,” Leitner said. Another effort is a partnership they are trying to establish with schools in South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights called Games for Grades. “Every time a kid gets an A or B they will receive a credit they can use in the store,” said Leitner. They hope to have that program in place early next year.


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Live Music in November November 1 .................................................... Jug (Country) November 2 ............ The Rockin' Hollywoods, $5 cover November 8 .................Southwood (Country), $5 cover November 9 ............... Jonah and the Whales, $5 cover November 15 ........................ Scarlet Country (Country) November 16 .................The White Sidewalls, $5 cover November 19 ........River City Jazz Orchestra, 7-10 pm November 22 .................................2 Mile Final (Country) November 23 ................................................ Rino, $5 cover November 27 .......Iron Horse (Country), Thanksgiving Eve, FREE appetizers at midnight November 29 ........................... The Big Twang (Country) November 30 .................................. Eagle River (Country)

Free Tire Mounting & Balancing For veterans, current & retired military personnel and their families. $50 value. Expires 11/30/13.

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Food & Drink Specials Fish Fry November 1 and 8 Lunch 11 am-1 pm; Dinner 5-8 pm New Breakfast Special - $4.50! Sundays, 9 am-1 pm Sundays - Viking football: drink specials, free food, door prizes. Tables reserved for groups of 10 or more. Win a VFW/Vikes t-shirt. Build your own Bloodys @ Happy Hour prices, 10 am-5 pm; Open Mic Live Music, 7-10 pm Mon - Fri - 11 am-2 pm $1 small domestic tap beer, $1 Corn Dogs; NEW Happy hour, 3-6 pm Tues - $2 Burger Night; 2nd Tuesday Turtle Lake Casino Trip, 9 am, $5, get two free drinks upon return Wed - Bar Bingo at 7 p.m. $1.25 State Fair Corn Dogs Thurs - Chicken wing night, 5 for $3, Karaoke 8 pm-close; Ladies & Gentlemen Night, 9 pm-close; discount on all drinks and beer Fri - Sat - Live music, 9 pm-1 am; open until 2 am. Sat - Jalapeno Popper Night $4 , 7-10 pm, Mega Tacos $3 and meat raffle, noon-4 pm Lic. # 00052 Live music, 9 pm-1 am Burger Kitchen - open Tues-Sat, 5-10 pm Bomb specials - $3.25, all day, every day, except during street dances or special events

Hall rental & special packages available for fundraisers. South St. Paul Voice - November 2013 - Page 3

N ews Briefs Floats & Flicks pool parties A Floats & Flicks pool party is offered 6-8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8 at the Central Square Community Center pool, 100 7th Ave. N. Cost is $3.50 per person for swimming and a movie.

Fare for All Express Fare for All Express will be held 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N. Fare for All Express is a cooperative foodbuying program that allows

Your community news and information source people to save as much as 50 percent on monthly groceries by purchasing “express packages.” No advance payment or pre-registration is needed to purchase packages and there is no limit to the number of packages that can be purchased each month. Fare for All is open to everyone. There are no income-based requirements for participation. Participation does not affect eligibility to receive assistance from a food shelf. For more information, call 651-3063690 or visit

Mississippi Market offers delivery to SSP Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op has expanded its delivery area to include South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Richfield and Minneapolis. Shoppers may order local, sustainable and organic food items at Delivery is available Monday-Saturday, with same-day or next-day service. Mississippi Market has stores at 622 Selby Ave. and 1500 W. 7th St. in St. Paul.

Senior Center activities The South St. Paul Senior Center, located at the Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N., offers many programs, trips and activities for adults age 55 and over. Ongoing activities include: Dancing and Social Hour - Offered 1-2:30 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month. This event features music and refreshments. There is no fee, but donations are accepted. Penny Bingo - Offered at 1 p.m. the first Monday of each month.

Affordable Rental Townhomes Available Inver Hills Townhomes in Inver Grove Heights - Opening January 2014 Riverview Ridge Townhomes in Eagan - Opening Summer 2014

The Dakota County CDA’s Workforce Housing Program provides affordable rental housing designed for families with children. The CDA manages 670 townhomes in 21 workforce housing developments throughout Dakota County.

Two new developments will open in 2014:

• Inver Hills Townhomes in Inver Grove Heights • Riverview Ridge Townhomes in Eagan Additional Workforce Housing Developments include: • Apple Valley: Chasewood, Glenbrook, Quarry View • Burnsville: Heart of the City, Parkside • Eagan: Erin Place, Northwood, Oak Ridge • Farmington: Twin Ponds • Hastings: Marketplace, Pleasant Ridge, West Village • Inver Grove Heights: Spruce Pointe, Lafayette • Lakeville: Cedar Valley, Country Lane, Meadowlark, Prairie Crossing • Mendota Heights: Hillside Gables • Rosemount: Carbury Hills

The South St. Paul Lions Club and Protouch Paint, Inc. are hosting the annual South St. Paul senior citizen Thanksgiving dinner, held 4:30-6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14 at the South St. Paul High School, 700 2nd St. S. The dinner is free to all South St. Paul senior citizens age 55 or older. The dinner will include turkey, dressing and all the trimmings. Takeout meals are not available this year. Additionally, the South St. Paul Lions Club is selling fruitcakes. For more

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information, contact Steve Doody at 651-552-9829.

Free GED classes South Suburban Adult Basic Education offers free classes to help adults age 16 and older learn English and prepare for the GED test. Classes are offered at various times and locations. Free childcare is available for some classes. To enroll or receive more information, call 651-457-9441 or visit South Suburban Adult Basic Education at 517 Marie Ave., South St. Paul.

Senior citizen Thanksgiving Dinner

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Applicants MUST meet eligibility requirements. Preference is given to applicants who currently live, work, are hired to work or go to school full-time in Dakota County. Rent:

Afternoon at the Movies and Movie Classics - Afternoon at the Movies (new releases) and Movie Classics are shown at 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month and third Tuesday of each month, respectively. Snacks and beverages are provided. Cost is $1. The “Active Times” newsletter with a listing of activities is available at the Senior Center reception desk and at A subscription is also available for $6. For more information, call the Senior Center at 651-306-3693.

Competing for Miss Pre-Teen The family of Marquerite Deflorin of South St. Paul wishes to thank Weierke Chiropractic, Troje’s Trash, Old World Pizza, Sandra Araujo, Bill Meyer and Jeff and Mary Chapman for supporting Marquerite in her quest to become Miss Pre-Teen Minneapolis/St. Paul. In mid October, she competed against other teens her age in modeling routines and interviews with a panel of judges. Marguerite didn’t place in the pageant but enjoyed the experience.

GA meeting A Gamblers Anonymous meeting is held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Miracle Centre Church/ School, 125 21st Ave. S., Room 113, South St. Paul. For more information, call 1-855-222-5542 or visit

Spanish Interpreters Needed! Compensation: $20-40

Garden & Associates, Inc., a foreign language agency, is looking for on-call interpreters located in St. Paul. We are also looking for Spanish interpreters in the Twin Cities area, especially in Maplewood, St. Paul, Woodbury, Shakopee and Burnsville for on-site work during the day, evening and overnight hours at hospitals, medical clinics, social service agencies, police departments, law firms, and other organizations. To apply, fax your resume to Rosa Maria Campbell, Director of Recruitment Department, at 952-562-8653, call her at 952-562-8677 or apply online at Individuals who speak other languages are welcome to apply for other positions.

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E V E N T S Call 651-554-3240 or visit

Author appearance Author, poet and educator Thomas Maltman will speak at the library at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14. He will discuss his book “Little Wolves” and read from various works. Come Write In! - In recognition of National Novel Writing Month this November, the library is hosting work space each Saturday in November, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., for budding writers participating in the challenge to write a 50,000word novel. Holiday closings - The library will be closed Monday, Nov. 11 in observance

of Veterans Day, and Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29 in observance of Thanksgiving. Rock, Rattle, and Rhyme is offered 6:15-7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4, 18, 25 and 3:30-4:15 p.m. each Wednesday in November. This program is for children age three and younger and their caregivers. It features rhymes, songs, sign language, books and play time designed to enhance early literacy and socialization skills. ECFE staff will be available to provide child development information and weigh babies.

Family story time is offered at 10:15 a.m. each Tuesday in November. This 30-minute program includes books, music, rhymes and more. Some story times may be followed by a short craft project (supplies provided). Little Learners - A club for 3- to 5-year-olds and their caregivers is held 10:30-11:15 a.m. each Wednesday in November. Some weeks feature music and movement, others art or science projects. All will include stories, hands-on exploration and lots of fun. Registration is required for this 4-class session. Read to Rover - All ages are invited to read to a therapy-trained dog 10:30 a.m.11:30 p.m. the first Saturday of the month. Reading to dogs is fun and helps build reading skills, confidence and fluency. Contact the library to reserve a spot for the next visit on November 2. A “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Party is offered at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 8. This event for children age 6-12 includes games and ac-

tivities based on the popular book series. Registration is required. Messy Art Club: Turkey Edition is held 1-2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 27 for children age 6-12. The Teen Writing Club will meet 3:30-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 6. This club offers teens a chance to practice creative writing skills, learn new techniques, read what other teen writers are working on and hear helpful comments on their writing. A Study Party is offered 3-4:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, featuring snacks, wi-fi and a few laptops to use. Mill City Hot Club Join guitarist Dean Harrington and his Minneapolis-based gypsy jazz band, Mill City Hot Club, for an evening of live music 7-8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4. Internet Basics - A class on the basics of the internet is offered at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Registration is required. eBook Basics - Learn more about downloading free eBooks from the library at these informational


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Mayor Beth Baumann • Midwest Fabrics 1226 S. Concord 451-6289 • South St. Paul Voice • Mike McPhillips, Inc. 825 Concord St. N. www.mcphillipsinc. com 451-4030 • Southview 66 Steve Mankowski On the Road Again President 725 Southview Blvd. 457-2774

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Thank you to everyone who has served our country. We appreciate your service and sacrifice.

Ruby Joswiak, 8, poses next to her artwork, “The Tale of Despereaux/Despereaux Falls in Love with Princess Pea.” This and other artwork created by local children in a contest this summer is being used to replace faded art prints in the library’s children’s area. The library will feature a new artist and their work each month. A video showcasing the contest and the artists is available at http://vimeo. com/75405262.

sessions on Tuesday, Nov. 19: 1:30-2:15 p.m. (Tablet); 2:15-3 p.m. (Kindle); 3-3:45 p.m. (Nook, Kobo, Sony and others). If you are unsure which session is right for you, contact Honora at 651-554-3243.

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South St. Paul Voice - November 2013 - Page 5

S ample St. Paul

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On the Town Artists’ Quarter

408 St. Peter St., St. Paul 651-292-1359

The Artists’ Quarter offers live jazz entertainment throughout the month.

Children’s Museum

10 W. Seventh St. St. Paul 651-225-6000

“Blue Man Group – Making Waves,” is presented through January 12, 2014. Dance, sing and move your way through this hands-on exhibit based on the Blue Man Group. Invent your own instrument with PVC tubes, rock out on a Theramin organ and experiment with patterns on a sand drum.

“Mastermind, Mold and Make” is presented through January 20, 2014. Invent, tinker, hack, design or make something cool in this constantly changing exhibit that is designed to spark creative thinking, collaboration and imagination. Tickets are $9.50. Explore the museum free of charge 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the third Sunday of each month.

Fitzgerald Theater

Nov. 9. Tickets are $40$45. “Gulliver Unravels: Kevin Kling & Chastity Brown” is presented at 8 p.m., November 29 and 30, and 2 p.m., December 1. Renowned storyteller Kevin Kling and singer/songwriter Chastity Brown present a unique program mixed with fact and fiction on the classic tale of “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift. Tickets are $35.

History Center

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Ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday,

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“American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” is presented November 9-March 16, 2014. Spanning from the dawn of

“Baby Case” is presented through November 3 at the History Theatre. the temperance movement, through the Roaring ’20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a Constitutional Amendment, this exhibition brings the story of Prohibition vividly to life. “Then Now Wow” highlights Minnesota’s history in the prairies, forests and cities. Visitors will encounter multi-media exhibits, artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse population and historic events.

Ongoing exhibits include “The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862,” “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk” and “Weather Permitting.” Museum tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, and $6 for children ages 6-17. The center offers free admission on Tuesdays, 5-8 p.m.

History Theatre

10 E. Tenth St., St. Paul 651-292-4323

“Baby Case” is presented through November 3. In 1932, the 20-month-old baby of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was taken from his crib. This musical follows the sensationalized searches, investigations and accusations that led up to America’s first “trial of the century.”

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Page 6 - South St. Paul Voice - November 2013 WoZ 5x7_StPPub.indd 1

651.224.4222 10/18/13 12:16 PM

375 Jackson St., Ste 250 Saint Paul, MN 55101

School Choice Directory Academia Cesar Chavez 1800 Ames Ave., St. Paul 651-778-2940 Academic Arts High School 60 E. Marie Ave., West St. Paul 651-457-7427

Community of Peace Academy K-12 471 E. Magnolia Ave., St. Paul 651-776-5151 St. Paul City School PreK-8 260 Edmund Ave., St. Paul 651-225-9177

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S ample St. Paul Tickets are $30-$40. “Christmas of Swing” is presented November 23-December 22. The Andrews Sisters are preparing to lift the spirits of America’s soldiers with a show full of Christmas songs, swing tunes and special appearances by their friends Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, and Abbott and Costello. This joyful celebration of music, family and patriotism mixes great holiday songs and comedy sketches with real letters from World War II G.I.s. Tickets are $30-$40.

Landmark Center

75 W. 5th St., St. Paul 651-292-3225

Minnesota music legends Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover will perform at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15 in the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium. Koerner, Glover and their colleague, the late Dave Ray, were stars of the 1960s folk music and blues revival. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. A St. Martin’s Day celebration is held 4-6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10. Celebrate the spirit of giving and commemorate the generous spirit of St. Martin through lantern making and a parade through Rice Park at dusk, led by “St. Martin” and his trusty horse. The event is free but donations are requested for Joseph’s Coat, a free clothing store for those in need. Ballet Tuesday is featured noon-1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12. Meet the new company of St.

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Paul City Ballet dancers, learn about a typical ballet class, check out excerpts from the coming season, and do some dancing. Free. The Skylark Opera concert is presented at 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 17. This concert will showcase popular American songs from the beginning of the 20th century. Free. The Shubert Club is hosting the following free concerts noon-1 p.m. in Courtroom 317 of the Landmark Center: November 7 - Pat O’ Keefe, clarinet, and Paul Cantrell, piano; Alyssa Anderson, mezzo-soprano, and Joseph Spoelstra, guitar, music of Daniel Nass and Paul Cantrell; November 14 - Daria Adams, violin, Cléa Galhano, recorder, Layton James, harpsichord; November 21 - Zeitgeist, Margaret Humphrey, violin, Momoko Tanno, soprano, Asako Hirabayashi, harpsichord, music of Asako Hirabayashi. The Shubert Club is also hosting three multimedia evenings of chamber music and art

celebrating the paintings of Francisco de Goya. Concerts are held in Courtroom 317 of the Landmark Center at 7:30 p.m., October 29, November 5 and 12. Tickets are $12 in advance or $16 at the door. Cocktails with Culture - Layton “Skip” James will perform on the harpsichord November 14. This free event is held 5-7 p.m. on the second floor gallery space of the Landmark Center and features a woodturning demonstration. Cocktails are available for purchase during the happy hour event.

Ordway Center 345 Washington St. St. Paul 651-224-4222

The Shubert Club will host its next international artist series concert at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 19, featuring Christian Tetzlaff, violin, and Lars Vogt, piano. Tickets start at $25 and can be ordered at or by calling 651-292-3268.

Park Square Theatre

20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul 651-291-7005

“Mary T and Lizzy K” is presented through November 10. Step through the doors of the White House dressing room and eavesdrop on a conversation between two women from very different worlds: First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her talented seamstress Lizzy Keckly, a freed slave and successful businesswoman. Alternately bantering and sharing intimacies as Mary dresses for the theater, neither knows that this trip will change their lives and the world as they know it. As one woman’s skilled hands create beautiful garments, the other’s reality continues to slip further from her grasp. Tickets are $38-$58.

built like an ox but with the mind of a child. As they struggle to make a living as migrant workers, they dream of owning their own ranch. However, life’s harsh realities combine to test the limits of their friendship. Tickets are $38-$58.

is presented November 20-December 20. Ira Gershwin’s name is not as well-known as that of his famous brother, George, but he wrote the lyrics to many unforgettable tunes. Experience the quiet character of Ira Gershwin and discover his creative process of songwriting. Tickets are $38-$58.

“Words by Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook”

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“Of Mice and Men” is presented November 26-December 20. A poignant story about the American Dream told through the friendship of two men: George, a shrewd, fast-talking man of the road, and Lennie,

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South St. Paul Voice - November 2013 - Page 7

R iver Connections

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REFLECTIONS From the Riverfront Tim Spitzack Editor

War and Peace


n reflecting upon my travels throughout MNRRA this past year, I realized that I have spent considerably more time in the central and southern area of the corridor than the northern end. Before this year-long series comes to an end, I wanted to fully explore the northern reaches. On my to-do list was paddling near the confluence of the Crow River, visiting the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts and hiking within the Islands of Peace Recreation Area. These areas are significant because the confluence of the Crow marks the northern boundary of MNRRA and here the Mississippi is designated as a Minnesota Wild and Scenic River. The Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites, and Islands of Peace Park is important for what it promotes. One Saturday morning I drove to a boat launch on the edge of the small town of Dayton to start my paddle. The September morn was clear and calm

and I was pleased to have the river to myself. From studying my map, I knew this section has rapids but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly I would be upon them. The rapids, which are little more than a riffle, are only about a hundred yards from the launch but stretch across nearly the entire breadth of the river. They were challenging not for their swiftness but because of the low level of water that ran through them. Before I could properly scout my path, my kayak was scratching the rocky bottom, and then I became stuck. On shore the residents of Dayton were crowded in a city park celebrating their fall festival. I suddenly felt like I was part of their entertainment. I could hear their snickers of laughter and feel their judgmental stares and as I struggled to push myself along to find enough water to float through. I desperately hoped I wouldn’t have to get out and drag my boat over the rocks. Eventually I found deeper water and quickly paddled out of sight. Downstream I didn’t fare much better. I tried to paddle around an island

Every mile is a memory The 72 miles of Mississippi River that flow through the Twin Cities hold a treasure trove of memories in the making. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area this November, we are publishing a series of articles that explore life in the corridor and the many amenities it offers. Read the series at

but again was thwarted by low, impassable water. After learning my lesson, I stayed in the deep, main channel for the remainder of my outing. As I paddled back to the launch, I had trepidation about returning through the rapids and past the crowd. Fortunately, I found deep water on the opposing bank and expertly maneuvered around the rapids. I could hear cheers and applause from the park. I imagined it was for me but knew better. As I exited the parking lot I was surprised to see a large number of people lining the street. They were scurrying to set up lawn chairs for what I presumed was a parade. A small gaggle of wide-eyed elementary school girls jumped up and down excitedly when they saw my blue kayak perched high on top of my truck. I believe they thought I was the first entrant in the parade. I drove slowly through town and expected a sourfaced traffic cop to glare at me and wave me off the street, but none appeared. I imagined the pop of a public announcement system coming to life and an enthusiastic voice greeting

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the crowd: “And our first unit in this year’s parade is the fool who got his kayak stuck in the middle of the river.” The crowd cheered. I waved to them and tossed out Tootsie Rolls and other assorted candies. Before visiting Islands of Peace, I made a brief stop at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, located in Fridley near where Rice Creek spills into the Mississippi. This historic Greek revival structure once served as a tavern and inn. John Banfill built it in 1847 to serve soldiers, fur traders and other travelers along the Red River Trail. After the property changed hands several times, the Locke family purchased it in 1912 and used it as a dairy farm. After closing that operation, they made it their summer home. Today, the building serves as a community arts center. I went inside and viewed a display of abstract art in the gallery, my footsteps echoing loudly as I moved across the wooden floor from one piece of art to the next. The art wasn’t nearly as impressive to me as were the thoughts of how many travelers have passed through

these halls before me, and of the many families that have gathered in these rooms for special occasions and for everyday living. I walked up a creaky staircase and peeked into a room were a group of painters was quietly putting brush to canvas. It’s good to see that this historic structure has been preserved for the community. Islands of Peace Park is not far from the BanfillLocke Center. It’s a scenic sanctuary of three islands: Chase, Durnham and Gil Hodges. Chase is the only one accessible by a pedestrian bridge. Two structures near the trailhead commemorate the park’s homage to peace. The first is a granite memorial surrounded by flags, dedicated by American Legion Shaddrick LaBeau Post 303 as “A tribute to the men and women who served America in times of war and peace.” The other is a wooden sign bearing a quote from Edward T. Wilmes, who founded the park in 1971. It says: “Islands of Peace: Where Peace Is A Way of Life Every Hour of Every Day for All Those Willing to Share the Experience.” The words were encour-

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aging. As of late, I’ve been too focused on personal issues, the fractures in our country, and the ever looming threat of more military intervention around the world. I, like many, come to the river seeking answers, seeking peace, and this park was an appropriate place to do just that. I ventured into the park and walked out to Chase Island to “share the experience.” There is nothing on the tranquil island except three benches and a paved trail that weaves through mature maple and basswood trees. On the southern end of the island is a wide beach filled with soft sand and smooth stones. It more resembles a beach on Lake Superior’s North Shore than the muddy, grassy beaches so common on the Mississippi. I walked down to the water and was amazed at how clear it was. I’ve never seen the river this clear anywhere else. Evidently the gracious amounts of sand and stone have filtered it clean. The river beckoned me to come closer so I kicked off my shoes, peeled off my socks and waded in, its cool water soothing my feet. I looked to my left and saw the I-694 bridge, with its steady stream of traffic and never-ending din. I wished it weren’t there disturbing my peace, but like the unrest in this world, I knew I had to accept it. I turned around and looked upstream. Nothing man-made was visible, just the verdant riverbank and the gentle rolling river flowing around the islands. I was happy I had turned around. That simple act changed my perspective and allowed me to see the beauty around me. And find peace.

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S ports Packer football shares in conference title

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For the Packer offense, it starts in the trenches John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer


espite suffering an excruciating 35-28 loss in a classic shootout against St. Thomas Academy on October 16, the South St. Paul High School football team finished its regular season with a 7-1 record and captured at least a portion of the Classic Suburban Conference title for the third time in the past four seasons. During this remarkable run, the Packers have compiled a 36-6 record, a winning percentage of .857. The reasons for the success of the 2013 squad are myriad. They are the heirs to a rich heritage, they have experience, they have depth, they are well-coached, they move about with a bit of a championship swagger and they unashamedly “buy in” to the team aspect of the game. Nowhere are those qualities more conspicuous than along the offensive line. The Packer philosophy on offense is not complicated: win the battles at the line of scrimmage. A positive outcome there creates open space for running backs and protection for the quarterback. Dominating in the trenches is not a new concept in South St. Paul. Two years ago, I did an article on the marvelous 2011 offensive line – Nick Colburn, Eric Hagert, Sam Hosszu, Ryan Boulter, Pat Rosvold, Nick Parker and Preston Woods. All of them were seniors, except for Woods, who now anchors the 2013 line on both sides of the ball.

The 2011 group saved its best for the unforgettable sectional championship game at St. Thomas Academy in November that year. Heavily outplayed for three quarters, the Packer offensive line took over in the fourth quarter. The team rushed for more than 140 yards in the final 12 minutes and scored two late touchdowns. They won it in overtime on a two-point conversion when Parker and company flattened the left side of the Cadet defensive line and Sam Sura skipped into the end zone for the 32-31 victory. The 2013 offensive line bears an eerie resemblance to its 2011 predecessor. Again, it is senior-laden, seven of them in all – alternating tight ends Ontario Jackson and Chris Lofquist, tackles Woods and Sam Pachl, guards Victor Boomgaarden and Mike Houle, and center Mike Funes. The lone junior is Cole Schneider, who took over at right guard for Boomgarden after he suffered a high ankle sprain against Irondale on September 13. I asked Head Coach Chad Sexauer what, if anything, separated them from the 2011 group. “In most ways, they are very similar,” he mused. “All of them have played at the varsity level for at least two years. The biggest difference is how they frustrate the opposition. The 2013 group has blended our ground and pound philosophy with a quick pass attack. It’s been a lot of fun to watch them grow as a unit.” It was my privilege to meet and interview this

bright and cohesive group in the school auditorium at 7:30 a.m. on October 9. I was on time and all eight of them were already seated in the front row. That’s teamwork. Within three minutes, the frosted donuts on a nearby table suddenly resided in the bellies of the members of the Packer offensive line. That’s a different sort of teamwork. I asked them to reshuffle their seating and face me in “formation” so that I could learn who was who. One by one they introduced themselves and revealed their jersey number and their weight. They average 245 pounds. That is two pounds less per man than the 2011 offensive line and about ten pounds more per man than the offensive line of the 1961 Gopher football team that won the Rose Bowl and featured Pro Football Hall of Famers Bobby Bell and Carl Eller. Not surprisingly, this group has been close knit for several years. “Most of us have been on the field together since we played in the in-house leagues in grade school,” said Funes. Added Woods, “My lasting memory of the 2011 offensive line was how they stuck together. They had each other’s backs and were inseparable on and off the field. This line is just like that.” They express unanimous respect, almost reverence, for their line coach, Wayne Price, who is a 1968 alumnus and has coached at the high school and collegiate level for more than 40 years. “What he stresses the

The Packer offensive line is dead serious, even when posing for a photo. Front row, left to right: Ontario Jackson, Mike Funes, Mike Houle and Chris Lofquist. Back row: Preston Woods, Cole Schneider, Sam Pachl and Victor Boomgaarden. most is repetition,” said Boomgarden. “We run our plays until our assignments become second nature. We love him and he loves us.” “He prepares us for the task at hand,” said Woods, “and he treats all of us the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the first string or the third string.” Statistics may be for losers, but they don’t lie. Through eight games, the Packers have rushed for over 2,273 yards – about a mile and a quarter. They average nearly 300 yards rushing per game, 6.5 yards per carry and have scored 31 rushing touchdowns. Some of that success is due to gifted ball carriers, including running backs Max Oelerking and Marco Freeman, and quarterback Bill Brandecker. But it is the offensive line that creates the seam that allows the backs to run to daylight. The long hours of attacking the blocking sled with Coach Price bombarding

their eardrums have paid huge dividends. I received a variety of answers when I asked them about their favorite Packer football memories. Woods and Funes pointed toward the victory at Mahtomedi earlier in the season. “We beat them in ‘The Pit’ last year,” said Funes, “but it was the first time we’ve won at their place.” For Houle and Schneider, it’s been the bus rides to and from games. “The victorious rides home are really special,” said Houle. “All of the camaraderie, all of that hard work paying off – it’s a great feeling.” “My fondest memory was last year when I reluctantly abandoned my beautiful blond hair and dyed it black for the team,” chimed in Boomgaarden, who is obviously the clown in the bunch. “I will always remember the speeches of encourage-

ment delivered by David,” said Jackson, referring to David Benning, who has Down syndrome and has been an integral part of the Packer football family for more than two decades. And the immediate future for this football team? Our interview took place before the regular season finale against St. Thomas. It was the last time the two teams would meet as conference rivals and I asked them how they would approach it. To a man, their response was “it’s just another game.” It was a mature attitude that affirmed my suspicion that these kids were zeroing in on a far larger prize – a journey that would commence with their first postseason game on October 26 and culminate with a trip to the 32nd and final Prep Bowl at the Metrodome. Who’s to doubt them?

We are the champions! Over 200 youth participated in this fall’s flag football and tackle football programs. The South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department thanks Coordinator John Wilcox and all of the coaches and assistant coaches for their time and commitment to the program, and the players and parents for their contributions to a successful season. The 3rd and 4th grade tackle champions are the Raiders (Black Team, bottom left). The 5th and 6th Grade tackle champions are the Saints (Gold Team, bottom right).

South St. Paul Voice - November 2013 - Page 9

C ommunity Columns

Neighbors, Inc. By John Kemp Executive Director

For the last three years Neighbors has been conducting a capital campaign to raise the $2.5 million needed to pay for the purchase of our building at 222 Grand Ave. W. and the costs of renovating it. As you can imagine, this was an ambitious program for a community-based organization like ours. However, it was important that we successfully complete this campaign so we could pay all of the costs associated with our move into this space with no long-term effect on our operating funds and reserve. Earlier this year I received the best phone call I could imagine. In February, Russell King, president of the Peter J. King Family Foundation, called to tell us that the foun-

Your community news and information source dation had decided to provide a $835,000 grant to Neighbors, enabling us to successfully complete our campaign. A gift of this kind is not made quickly or easily. The foundation spent a lot of time studying us to assure themselves that Neighbors was an organization that deserved support of this magnitude. The work they did included a visit to Neighbors by all the foundation’s board of directors, an exhaustive review of a large stack of financial documents, and interviews with staff and volunteers. By the time they were done they knew us well. On August 15 we held a celebration. We celebrated the successful conclusion of our capital campaign, and in recognition of the role it played in helping us complete that campaign, we put a new sign on the south end of our building honoring the foundation by naming the building the Neighbors, Inc., Peter J. King Family Foundation Center for Community Assistance. Neighbors is still the same organization we have always been. We are still community based and community focused. We still depend on our community for everything we need to serve the people of our community, from funds to food to clothing to household items to the volunteer labor that makes our programs possible. The King Foundation name is on the building solely to recognize the incredible gift they gave to Neighbors, and to this community.

Recently I have heard that a few people have misinterpreted the inclusion of the King Foundation name on the building. They had been told, or concluded on their own, that the King Foundation has taken over Neighbors. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the foundation made this large gift to Neighbors because of our independence and because of the relationship we have with the people of our community who have supported us so well for so long. The foundation awarded us the grant, accepted our thanks and moved on to other projects. They are a charitable foundation, not an operating foundation, and they have no relationship with the recipients of their funding once they have made the award. We hope that everyone in our community will join us in celebrating this gift and in appreciating the effort we have made in permanently recognizing the Peter J. King Family Foundation for the extremely generous role it played in making our building our own, our home. Meanwhile, Neighbors is still Neighbors. We are still independent, we are still here to serve as a conduit between those who wish to help others and those who are in need of help. We still depend on you for all that we have and all that we do. Your gifts of food, funds, clothing, household items, and especially your time, are still used by us to benefit others in our community.

River Heights Chamber offers trips to Ireland, Austria and Germany

Jennifer L. Gale, president

On October 8, 20 members of the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force helped make history when they joined 18,000 other youth at the Xcel Energy Center and celebrated We Day MN. Tickets could not be purchased to the event. We had to earn them though one local service act of giving back to the community and one global act that took place over the past year. We Day MN is a movement of young people leading local and global change. Speakers and performers included Gov. Mark Dayton, the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen, Barbara Pierce Bush, Mia Farrow, MarPage 10 - South St. Paul Voice - November 2013

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce our partnership with Chamber Explorations to provide two unique travel opportunities in 2014. Next spring we are hosting a trip to Ireland, beginning April 12. This trip includes many of Ireland’s most scenic and historic sites, including the capital city of Dublin, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the esteemed Trinity College, the old Jameson Whiskey Distillery, the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle and the legendary Blarney Stone, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Killarney National Park and a tour of the Muckross House and Gardens to see how Ireland’s wealthiest families lived in the Victorian era. For those who would rather travel in the fall, we are hosting a tour to Austria and Germany, beginning September 22 and featuring Munich’s famed Oktoberfest. Chamber Explorations offers over 100 years of group travel experience, a nationwide team of travel consultants and first class travel programs. The River Heights Chamber

tin Luther King III, members of the Minnesota Vikings, Queen Noor of Jordan, and The Tenors. Our youth particularly enjoyed the inspirational speeches of Spencer West and Molly Burke. West is a double amputee who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on his hands and in his wheelchair. Burke, who is visually impaired, speaks out against bullying and for the power of hope. Our youth heard many great quotes during the event, including “This is the generation to make it happen,” “Never stop believing in yourself,” “This is the most powerful room in the world today,” “We are united as one voice,” “This room is the top news story of the day throughout the entire state of Minnesota,” and “Changing the world starts at home.” With speakers offering quotes like these and great music and performances throughout the day, it was impossible not to be inspired. While waiting for the bus and on the ride home, our inspired (and tired) task force members discussed their favorite parts of the event. Wyatt was glad to participate because he viewed it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and he learned so much, including that there are a lot of people who want to help change the world to make it a better place. Emma liked the entire day, but was especially motivated by Molly Burke. The event inspired Emma to do more charity work. Taja learned that there are many different things we can do to help people in need. Her favorite part was hearing people’s different stories and ideas on how everyone can make a difference. Elizabeth learned that not everyone has a home or a school. Now she wants to offer help to as many people as possible.

selected them to host our tour because they are committed to providing the highest level of service, quality and value to our chamber travelers. These tours are designed to create a great travel experience with a networking opportunity unlike any other. Chamber of Commerce members, community leaders and area residents who want to travel with like-minded individuals are welcome to attend. You don’t need to be a Chamber member to participate. Participants will enjoy quality hotel and resort accommodations, selected for a combination of comfort, amenities, service and location. The goal of our travel program is to expose business leaders and community members to new and different cultures at reasonable group rates. We will be hosting a meeting in late fall for our Ireland trip. For more information on our travel program, contact Jennifer Gale at 651-451-2266, or visit

Emma Lewis (left) and Jenny Barrrett at We Day MN. Jenny couldn’t single out her favorite part of the event because there were so many highlights for her. She is now eager to start another service project. Going forward, the task force will participate in We Act, which is a full-year engagement program and support system for youth, families and communities to turn inspiration into action. Stay tuned to see how the task force will turn inspiration into action here in South St. Paul. Task force members are eager to work on new service projects to earn our way to We Day MN 2014. For more information, contact Deb Griffith, community affairs liaison, at 651554-3230 or

South St. Paul Voice - November 2013 - Page 11

B ack in Time A neighborhood no more Lois Glewwe Contributor


he history column in last month’s South St. Paul Voice pointed out that the city’s first elementary schools were built in locations where children could walk to school without crossing the huge ravines that divided the city. Those schools defined a particular part of the community that soon became identified as unique and specific neighborhoods. In the earliest days of the area that became South St. Paul there were very few settlers. The steep bluffs and deep ravines made farming impractical. Those who did stake claims were located mostly in the southern and western fringes of the city. The only site that could be identified as any sort of residential development was the former Dakota Indian village of Kaposia. The Dakota people had been forcibly moved to reservations by 1852 and the village remained as the site of former missionary teacher John

Aiton’s home, where the first Dakota County Board of Commissioners met in 1853. The only public schoolhouse for the area was built in 1857 where the I-494 highway ramps meet Concord Street. Today that spot seems particularly unusual for a school site. It has been business or industrial property for decades. Many residents have no idea that the area east of South Concord Street was a booming neighborhood for nearly 100 years with platted lots, streets and plain yet comfortable family homes dotting the landscape leading to the river. The area was attractive for several reasons. It was flat and accessible by the only major thoroughfare through the area, the St. Paul and Hastings Road, as Concord was then called. Travelers could avoid the steep climb to the top of the bluffs and travel north or south without a problem, at least when the spring floods didn’t make Concord Street impassable. It was also close to the rap-

idly growing meatpacking industry where most new immigrants found their first jobs. Several small businesses also located in the riverfront neighborhood on the east side of South Concord from just south of Richmond, north to Messer Avenue and Maltby and Malden streets. The site of the schoolhouse on the Motz farm continued to be used as a school. In the late 1880s, the Riverside School on the site became home to the First German Baptist Church, which eventually built its own little chapel in 1905 on the southeast corner of Concord at Church Street, now I-494. Joe and Katie Pechanec purchased the Riverside School building in the spring of 1890 for $75 and moved it to the northeast corner of Concord and Church Street so the city could build a new Riverside School, which opened in December 1891. By 1907, Riverside School housed more than 160 students. The following year a four-

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The unique fire escape chute on the 1908 Washington School at what is today the southeast intersection of I-494 at South Concord was a huge source of fun for the 160 students who attended the school that year. The building was demolished in 1929 when a new Washington school was built at First Avenue and Dale Street. The neighborhood where these children lived disappeared between 1959 and 1980, when homes in the flood plain were bought up and redeveloped for industrial use. room addition was built to accommodate the growing number of families in the neighborhood. That same year the school was renamed Washington in honor of the nation’s first president. The children who attended Washington School lived on the “flats,” as the Messer Avenue neighborhood was known. Their families shopped at the constantly expanding business district along Concord Street and had no reason to venture up the steep bluffs when the first shops were starting to be built “on the hill.” The 1908 Washington School was demolished in 1929 and a new Washington School was built on

First Avenue at Dale Street in a completely new neighborhood. In the 1930 Polk city directory, the Maltby, Malden and Messer neighborhood was still home to 26 families, even though South Concord was rapidly being transformed into industrial use. The residents had learned to live with the annual flooding of the Mississippi. However, by 1961 all of the residents of Messer Avenue except one had been bought out and removed from the flood plain. Only five residences remained on Maltby and Malden. Ten years later, four homes remained, and by 1982, Paul French, the last person to own a private



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home there, at 925 Messer Ave., was gone, too. Today, Messer Avenue, which is for some reason identified as Messer Street south of Richmond and Messer Avenue north of Richmond, is only a short two blocks leading to the cul-de-sac driveways of the industrial companies in the area. Malden and Maltby extend less than a block and lead nowhere. The greenhouses of the former Schumacher’s Garden Center on Messer Avenue (renamed Schumacher Street) are still visible in the tall grass that covers the site. There is no remaining evidence anywhere that hundreds of school children, dozens of families and several small business owners once headed to Messer, Maltby or Malden, to their neighborhood homes near their neighborhood school.


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Page 12 - South St. Paul Voice - November 2013

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