I moved to Minneapolis in 1974 and spent the ensuing decades, as young people are wont to do, working hard at my career, raising a family, tackling home maintenance projects, and savoring our glorious Minnesota summers, falls, and winters. Although I’ve always read the newspaper every day, local and state issues rarely pinged my radar. Who were my city, county, and state elected officials? Um, can I get back to you on that?

That all changed as I settled into retirement. I now had time to learn about my community and get involved, and as I did so I started paying more attention to a small newspaper, Hill & Lake Press, that had been appearing on my doorstep periodically. (It was, and still is, a monthly.) There was a wealth of events, issues, and goings-on in my neighborhood, and I began to read Hill & Lake Press instead of just giving it a glance and a toss into the recycling bin. Gosh, I thought, this paper does a darned good job. I was hooked.

Hill & Lake Press first rolled off the presses in March 1976, the brainchild of several young folks in Lowry Hill and East Isles who wanted to build community and create neighborhoods where they and their kids could put down roots and stay for a while. Within a few years like-minded folks in Kenwood and Cedar-Isles-Dean joined in, and Hill & Lake Press was off and running as a community-run, neighborhood-financed, advertiser-supported enterprise. And today, well into its fifth decade, when almost all of the other 38 Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhood newspapers from the 1970s have either ceased publication or gone digital, Hill & Lake Press soldiers nobly on.

I edited my high school yearbook and college newspaper and spent a summer as a beat reporter for my hometown newspaper. I even considered doing a graduate degree in journalism but veered off into education instead. What a stroke of good fortune it’s been that in my retirement Hill & Lake Press and its tireless, dedicated, long-time editor Jean Deatrick have offered me a return to my journalistic roots. And the four Hill and Lake neighborhoods have provided fertile ground for a writer/reporter: there’s never been a shortage of events, issues, and goings-on to cover, with the battle over the Kenilworth Corridor alignment for Southwest Light Rail towering above all.

As a history major in college and an armchair historian my whole life, I’ve also deeply appreciated the opportunities afforded by Hill & Lake Press to dig into and write about neighborhood history.

Hill & Lake Press is readily available online, clear back to Volume 1/Number 1, but I wanted a site where I could gather my contributions to the paper, mostly articles I authored and in a few instances “special reports” consisting of articles by myself and several others on a single topic, which I edited. All articles on this site are reformats, as I call them, with color photos substituted where black-and-white versions had to be used in (and sometimes omitted from) the print version, and with corrections of the occasional errors that may have slipped past Jean and me.

I am interested in your comments and will post them so long as they are constructive and civil. Comments will be reviewed by me before posting. I may edit submissions for clarity or brevity or double-check with you on facts if warranted. Please be patient if it takes me a bit of time to get to your comments.

I am particularly interested in your comments about the neighborhood history articles. Send me your recollections and additional information so we can enrich the historical record for everyone. If you have photos, let me know and we’ll find a way to post them. And if you have a story to tell, let’s get it onto the pages of Hill & Lake Press!

Michael Wilson

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