Victoria Not-So-Secret

May 20, 2014  10.8 miles

Lexington-Hamline, Summit-University

I spent a good part of today’s ride in the Lex-Ham neighborhood, specifically at the newly rehabbed 869 Fuller. That story is on the previous post titled “A Cinderella Story.” I moved south on Victoria Street for the second part of the outing.

Maxfield Elementary School at St. Anthony (the north frontage road along I-94) and Victoria Avenue. The school’s namesakes are Louis H. and James T. Maxfield, who were in the wholesale flour, grain and provisions business, according to R.L. Polk and Company’s 1879 St. Paul City Directory. James T. also served two non-consecutive terms as Saint Paul Mayor in the 1860s and 1870s.

Maxfield Elementary School at St. Anthony (the north frontage road along I-94) and Victoria Avenue. The school’s namesakes are Louis H. and James T. Maxfield, who were in the wholesale flour, grain and provisions business, according to R.L. Polk and Company’s 1879 St. Paul City Directory. James T. also served two non-consecutive terms as Saint Paul Mayor in the 1860s and 1870s.

 

I'm not sure what to make of the garage door at 863 Marshall Avenue at Victoria.

I’m not sure what to make of the garage door at 863 Marshall Avenue at Victoria.

 

The building at 860 Hague, most recently the Shiloh Missionary Church, is for sale. It was built in 1909.

The building at 860 Hague, most recently the Shiloh Missionary Church, is for sale. It was built in 1909.

 

Unity Baptist Church formed in the mid-1990s from the merger of the Open Door Baptist Church, an African-American congregation and the white congregation of the former Park Baptist Church. The churches were about eight blocks apart in  Summit-University and are located in what was Park Baptist.

Unity Baptist Church formed in the mid-1990s from the merger of the Open Door Baptist Church, an African-American congregation and the white congregation of the former Park Baptist Church. The churches were about eight blocks apart in Summit-University and are located in what was Park Baptist.

The stained glass windows of Unity Baptist along Victoria Avenue.

The stained glass windows of Unity Baptist along Victoria Avenue.

 

 

Fire Station 5, designed by Clarence “Cap” Wigington, opened in 1930 at the corner of Ashland and Victoria.

Fire Station 5, designed by Clarence “Cap” Wigington, opened in 1930 at the corner of Ashland and Victoria.

The unique Fire Station Number 5 features a collection of noteworthy stories. First, the charming fire house is another of the City structures designed by Architect Clarence “Cap” Wigington. Wigington, as you may know, is considered the nation’s first African-American municipal architect. He is credited with many fire station, school and other public building designs around Saint Paul.

Dick Sarafolean with his house at   Ashland Avenue.

Dick Sarafolean, with his house at 870 Ashland Avenue, in the background.

As I took pictures of Station 5, I caught sight of a neighbor intently watching me. Dick Sarafoleon greeted me and began talking about Station 5, which quickly led to more tales. It turns out, Dick worked for the Saint Paul Fire Department for 33 years, including several at Station 5. “I started on the fire department January first of ’64. First they had me on the West Side, on the other side of the river, and then they had me out in the Midway.  I worked five years out there and I kept complaining that I wanted some action. I wanted to go where there was some work.”

The Victoria Avenue view of Station 5.

The Victoria Street view of Station 5.

Dick said winning the Jaycees’ Firefighter of the Year Award 1968” opened the way for his assignment to Station 5, “So when I got that award I went to the chief and I says, ‘Now can I get what I want? I want some work. I want to go to a busy house.’”

“When I was workin’ here, every night we’d have a fire in the neighborhood.”

Back then, Station 5 housed more rigs to keep up with demand, “We had a hook and ladder on one side and we had the engine on the other and we were out running all the time.”

The decorative drain pipe on Station 5.

The decorative drain pipe on Station 5.

By the mid-1970s, the workload at Station 5 decreased enough for Dick look for a new assignment, “Things changed and it got very quiet. So, in 1976 I said ‘I’m goin’ to go to the paramedic program; I’m tired of sittin’ and waitin’. So for the last 21 and a-half years I worked as a paramedic and I loved every minute of it. I would have stayed longer but my wife was dying with cancer and gave me my marching orders.”

Sadly, Dick’s wife, Dorothy, passed away 5 and a-half months later.

The cornerstone of Station 5.

The cornerstone of Station 5.

I asked Dick about the interior of Station 5. “The woodwork was pretty special. It was a maple; it wasn’t Birdseye maple but it was a really nice finish. The kitchen was upstairs and there was the chief’s car that went out onto Victoria where there is a door closed up; that’s where the kitchen is now.”

Station 5's kitchen is behind the wood and windows. At one time the space was a garage for the chief's car.

Station 5’s kitchen is behind the wood and windows. At one time the space was a garage for the chief’s car.

Originally, this front was all dormitory where the firefighters lived. The captains had their own rooms in the back  with their own bathroom. You know, rank has its privilege.”

Dick has lived in Saint Paul for 74 years, including the last 31 two doors west of Fire Station 5, at 870 Ashland.

Here is the map of the entire May 20 ride: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/468912562

3 thoughts on “Victoria Not-So-Secret

  1. Great story, Wolfie. Keep ’em coming. (Really? A fire every night? Yikes. That must’ve been a fun part of town in the late 60s!)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s