August 4, 2013
Desnoyer Park, Summit-University, Como Park 19.4 Miles
I spent a good deal of the ride today either on the U or near the U. I’m referring to University Avenue and the U of M’s Saint Paul campus, respectively. But first I had to get there.
My research leads me to believe the boundary between the cities runs down the middle of this sidewalk.
The Hubbard Broadcasting empire housed here began with just one AM radio station which became KSTP. Today, in addition to KSTP-AM, FM and TV, Channel 45 and FM107.1, Hubbard Broadcasting corporate headquarters call 3415 University Avenue home.
The border between Saint Paul and Minneapolis splits Emerald Street right down the middle south of University Avenue.
The U of M’s Geological Survey office relocated to the building sometime between 1979 and ’85. I missed out on an obscure but cool museum because the office isn’t open on weekends. Beside the expected rock and fossil exhibits, there is meteorite debris from northern Minnesota, and displays of vintage compasses, and instruments geologists used in the 1800s and 1900s and, for the cartographer, plenty of maps. For more particulars on the Minnesota Geologic Survey, go to the website at http://www.mngs.umn.edu/
The Court International Building was designed and built as an assembly plant for the Willys-Overland Company, a predecessor of Jeep. During World War I the facility was used as an aviation training school.
Tractor maker International Harvester purchased the building from Willys-Overland in 1928. International Harvester Company used the property from late 1928 through the early 1950s for truck, tractor, and power unit sales and distribution. In the 80s the building was converted to offices and renamed Court International.
Bonio Bokun is a divinity student at Luther whom I met while biking through the pastoral Pastoral campus. Bonio’s relaxed, friendly demeanor became apparent moments after we began talking. He came to the U.S. about two months ago from Papua New Guinea, a South Pacific island 100 miles north of Australia. “I was a minister back home and I was teaching at our only Lutheran School. It’s a layman’s school; we call it a college.”
Bonio told me he prepared young men and women for youth ministry work. After graduating, they move to remote parts of Papua New Guinea to work with children.
Bonio said he likes America and Saint Paul and the August weather agrees with him. “Right now I like it. The weather is fine, the weather is good to me I would say.”
Although he’s been in the U.S. for only two months, Bonio already knows this weather isn’t going to last. “I heard from the missionaries, from the stories I read and from the pictures I see, from the movies and from all those.”
So, I asked, how will he deal with his first cold winter? “That’s a good question.” And then he paused and said, “Maybe you can help me and we’ll find a layer of clothing.” Bonio laughed and added, “Two or three (layers) and a jacket on top.”
Adapting to our food may be a bigger adjustment than the weather. “Back home I eat root foods like casaba, taro, yam, sweet potatoes and all this, because it’s a tropical country. All year around we grow crops, I mean vegetables, tropical fruits, it’s all there.”
Bonio earned a scholarship for the two-year program at Luther Seminary. Upon completion, he’ll return to his wife and five children and his home in the town of Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.
Bonio’s final comment to me concerned his family, “I miss home. I have my family and kids and all this. I pray, ‘OK God, keep them safe.’”
Ralph Rapson, a prominent and highly regarded architect and designer, came to Minnesota in 1954 to teach architecture at the University of Minnesota. Rapson was a self-described modernist with strong Bauhaus influences. Rapson retired from the U in 1984 but continued to work until the day before he died in March 2008 at the age of 93.
An interesting side note. The border of Saint Paul and Falcon Heights runs through the middle of Hoyt Avenue here. Therefore, the Daly House and its neighbors on the south side of Hoyt are in the Capitol City and fall just outside of the unique University Grove neighborhood. “The Grove,” as it’s called by its residents, has 103 architect-designed houses (including about 10 Rapson homes) on lots in Falcon Heights owned by the University of Minnesota. Residents purchase the houses but lease the property from the U. At least one resident of each home must be or have been a U of M employee. There is much more to the University Grove story which you can check out at http://www1.umn.edu/ugrove/welcome.html .
The Saint Paul campus of the U of M is actually in Falcon Heights, not Saint Paul. Nevertheless, Saint Paul proper has plenty of campus-related facilities, which I’ll get to in a moment.
The Saint Paul Campus is nicer than its Minneapolis counterpart for several reasons. First, with a residential neighborhood to the west and the State Fair grounds to the east, there isn’t the tumult, noise and congestion. Second, as the Agriculture campus, you’ll find a barn or two, so you’ll occasionally hear a cow moo, a neighing horse or the clucking of chickens, all superior to the sounds of honking horns and screeching tires at the Minneapolis campus. Third, fields of crops dot the northern edge of campus, adding to the rural feel.
Now, a small sample of the U-related entities in Saint Paul along the west (Saint Paul) side of Cleveland Avenue.
I frequently flirted with the borders separating Saint Paul from its neighbors. Then there were the sights, sites, sounds and even a few smells of University (Avenue) and University (of Minnesota Saint Paul campus.) Until my next ride…
This is the link to the map of this ride: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/346530763