Clear-cutting of Kenilworth Corridor set for mid-May

After a torturous, blundering, contentious planning process to route a commuter train from the southwest suburbs into downtown Minneapolis, it’s finally come to this: on May 13, 2019, the Kenilworth Trail will be closed and earthmovers will lumber in a few days later to scrape the corridor clean.

The battle has gone on for almost 40 years (see the October 1984 Hill & Lake Press front page, below), and it’s been epic. The loss of irreplaceable urban woodlands and critical pollinator habitat will be felt by the hundreds of thousands of people who bike, walk, and savor the Kenilworth Corridor’s rare oasis of open-air beauty. The loss will also be felt by the couple hundred thousand Minneapolis residents who will never get to use the train, even though their taxes are paying for it, because this $2-billion mass-transit behemoth completely bypasses the densely populated south side of the city.

Here is the story from the April 26, 2019, Hill & Lake Press.

Here is an August 2009 article, “Southwest Minneapolis’ Transit Route Selection Process May Rule Out Light Rail to Uptown,” from The Transport Politic website, detailing why the Kenilworth route was “the wrong decision.” The reasons from ten years ago are even more valid today. The highlights are mine.

Here is the front page of the October 1984 Hill & Lake Press, with its prescient headline.

Isles Ensemble’s 2018-19 season

For fifteen years the members of the Isles Ensemble have been bringing marvelous chamber music to the heart of the Hill and Lake neighborhoods on four Sunday afternoons at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church.

The first concert, on September 30, included works by Carolyn Shaw, Brahms, and Schubert. Here is the story.

The second concert, on November 11, included works by Bruch, Haydn, and Shostakovich. Here is the story.

The third concert, on February 24, included the monumental Tchaikovsky piano trio in addition to works by Haydn and Arvo Pärt. Here is the story.

The fourth and final concert, on May 5, was quite a gathering, featuring eight of the 11 Isles Ensemble members. The program included the Brahms Sextet in G Major and pieces by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Here is the story.

Minneapolis Woman’s Club, vibrant at 112, holds spring Gala

The Minneapolis Woman’s Club has a storied history. Their beautiful Clubhouse across from Loring Park has received historic designation. But what’s even more important is the Club’s present and future. Here is the story about the Club’s 2019 Gala.

The Club’s 412 Restaurant is open to the public. Go here for hours, menus, and information about the fabulous Sunday brunch.

Thomas Lowry Park without Seven Pools fountain?

One of two concept designs for Thomas Lowry Park proposed replacing the nearly century-old Seven Pools fountain, which is at the end of its serviceable life, with a “nature play” area. The Friends of Thomas Lowry Park and the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association are ready to underwrite the entire cost of rehabilitating and restoring Seven Pools — if the donation passes Park Board muster. Here is the story.

Here is the 2018 Thomas Lowry Park Assessment Report on the historic features of Thomas Lowry Park commissioned by the Friends of Thomas Lowry Park and the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association board.

Here is the Friends of Thomas Lowry Park’s website:

Seniors, kids make perilous ascent up Lake Street bridge

True, February 2019 was the snowiest February on record and the fourth-snowiest month since modern record-keeping began in 1885-86. True, shoveling and plowing all that snow is a herculean job. And true, clearing sidewalks on bridges is problematic when the plows throw snow from the road back up onto the sidewalk. But really … four days after the last snowfall and this is what we still have to deal with? Here is the story.

Southwest Project Office inspects some homes but not others

Depends on who you know and whether you’re in the right place at the right time. It kind of slipped out at the February 14 Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association that some residents had received letters from the Southwest Project Office informing them that the SWLRT contractor’s subcontractor would be doing a pre-construction status inspection. When several people who live within a stone’s throw of the construction zone asked why they hadn’t received a letter, an SPO spokesperson said you had to live within 95 feet of the construction zone to be eligible. WHAT?!!  So if you live 96 feet from the zone and weren’t at the CIDNA meeting, you’d know nothing about this. And when construction of the 60-foot-deep tunnel causes damage to your home, without that pre-construction inspection you’re out of luck. And the SPO wonders why we don’t trust a word that comes out of their mouths. Here is the story.

A missing time capsule, the Warner mansion, and Leonard’s Flowers

At noon on Tuesday, July 21, 1953, a time capsule was ceremoniously placed inside the cornerstone of the new Ministers Life Casualty Union headquarters building at 3100 West Lake Street. When demolition of the Ministers Life building began just over 65 years later, in December 2018, anticipation and curiosity ran high: what documents, treasures, and ephemera did those four sober-sided gentlemen choose for generations yet unborn to know them by?

Apparently we’ll never know, because when the cornerstone was removed from the building, the contractors said, there was no time capsule. How does a metal box encased in concrete just … disappear? Do you have any clues? Here is the story.

Here are two articles from the Minneapolis Star about the laying of the cornerstone: July 20, 1953 and July 22, 1953.

Since we were asking for help in solving the mystery of the missing time capsule, it seemed opportune to ask readers for help with the history of two neighborhood landmarks: the little-remembered Leonard’s Flowers and the long-forgotten E.C. Warner mansion, both not much more than 100 feet from 3100 West Lake.

Spoiler alert (March 1, 2019): the story of Leonard’s Flowers arrived a few weeks later from a most unexpected source and will be published in Hill & Lake Press in the near future. Meanwhile, here are two contemporaneous newspaper accounts from July 22, 1961 and May 31, 1964.