August 14, 2015
Macalester-Groveland, Merriam Park, Lexington-Hamline, Como Park
The people living at 2040 Selby make their support of the US military very clear.
Cleveland Avenue, because of its proximity to my house, is the north-south street on which I ride most often. Despite that, I am still surprised by a sight or two on or near Cleveland. On Selby Avenue, three houses east of Cleveland, is a home and yard dedicated to honoring the United States military.
Patches and badges from the Vietnam war through present military campaigns decorate the yard at 2040 Selby Avenue.
One of the many patches displayed at 2040 Selby that honor US service people.
Blue star and Gold Star flags decorate the windows. The Blue Star banners recognize immediate family members serving in the armed forces of the United States, during any period of war or hostilities in which US armed forces were engaged. The gold star replaces the blue when a loved one is killed during service.
The delightful brick and stone house at 1937 Selby Avenue dates to the Victorian era – 1888 to be exact, according to Ramsey County property records.
This granite block on the boulevard in front of the house looks like a grave marker. In reality, it was a stepping stone for passengers exiting their horse drawn carriages.
This granite hitching post for horses was frequently used when the home was built in 1888 and for years after. It has likely been a century or more since the last horse was tied to the post.
Lex-Ham (Lexington Hamline)
The Snelling Avenue Bridge over I-94 wasn’t officially open yet, but no one questioned me when I rode across.
After months of inconvenient detours, noise and dust, the Snelling Avenue bridge over I-94 was fewer than 24 hours from opening. Crews gathered up stray construction materials and completed other minor tasks.
A street sweeper is nearly obscured by the cloud of dust it kicked up.
The stretch of Snelling Avenue between Selby and University is one of the busiest in Saint Paul. (The Snelling-University intersection is often erroneously identified as the busiest in Minnesota.)
Inside the a city truck and engineer was completing wiring and programing the stop lights for the best traffic flow at Snelling and Concordia Avenue frontage road.
The inside of the control box for the stop lights at Snelling and Concordia are a mass of controllers and cables.
A city engineer spliced cables as he readied the stop light control system for activation.
There are places in Saint Paul that are separated by barriers – natural and man-made – which make them essentially unknown to anyone but residents. One of those in Como is six abbreviated north-south streets, bounded by Chatsworth to the west, Como Avenue to the north and east, and busy Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks on the south.
The hidden streets just south of Lake Como, from west to east are, Kilburn, Ryde, Colne, Milton, Victoria (not labeled) and Como Place. Map courtesy Google Maps.
Working from west to east, Kilburn Street was the first I investigated. I snapped a couple of shots of 1092 Kilburn because of the prodigious pile of logs methodically stacked along the side of the house.
Neatly stacked, the large number of logs should keep everyone warm all winter.
The tall smoke stack near the front of the house and the bountiful supply of wood at 1092 Kilburn make me suspect a wood burning stove is the primary source of heat.
Ryde is the next street to the east of Kilburn and off Como Avenue.
Ryde, Kilburn and the other four streets are a block or less long and end at some thick woods which hide most traces of the railroad tracks only a few yards beyond.
These unusual streets have some unusual signage.
Keep in mind that where Kilburn, Ryde, Colne, Milton and Victoria intersect Como Avenue is less than a block from Lake Como so there are some nice views.
As you might imagine, many of the houses in the neighborhood are very well kept. This is 928 Como (at Ryde).
936 Como, on the other corner of Como and Ryde.
The unique deck at 910 Como Avenue is a great hangout.
Victoria Street is the only one of the six streets in the neighborhood here that is unimproved.
Not only is this block of Victoria unpaved, it still has wood curbs .
Kilburn, Ryde, and Colne are unusual street names so I turned to the ever present “The Street Where You Live” by Don Empson. Colne and Ryde, says Empson, were named in 1885 after cities in Lancaster County, England, while Kilburn, also christened in 1885, comes from a section of London.
The corner of Como Place and Como Avenue is an interesting spot. The picture taken from Como Avenue and the street in the background is Como Avenue.
Como Place, which intersects only with Como Avenue (Union Avenue long ago), is a block east of Victoria. Oddly enough, the street in the background is also Como Avenue.
The 1908 plat map of the six streets south of Lake Como on which I rode. Map courtesy of H. M. Smyth and U of M John R. Borchert Library.
The Como Place sign is the only street sign with black letters and white background I’ve seen in Saint Paul that is not in honor of a person or place.
Usually, Saint Paul street signs with black print on a white background denote honorary street names. I have no idea why the Como Place sign shares the same color scheme.
The three houses on Como Place.
Como Place has been privatized according to these signs.
A portion of the original 1917 Como Park Elementary School. This is such a striking piece of design that it should be wide open, not blocked by the two trees.
A couple of blocks to the northeast of the Como Avenue-Como Place intersection is this unusual and beautiful school. You might be surprised by the name of the school. Or not, if you’ve caught on to the theme in the area. Como Park Elementary opened in 1917, with the first expansion in 1924.
The school name is cut into the concrete above the main entrance.
V.R. (Vivian) Irvin’s two year term as mayor of Saint Paul overlapped the completion of Como Park Elementary. The needle-like pieces of metal above the two pillars are pigeon abatement.
The original main entrance with its prominent frieze above it faces Wheelock Parkway.
The administrative office is next to the original entrance.
The most recent addition to the building was completed in 1974. It included a new main entrance and uniquely, a 55 seat planetarium.
The Como Planetarium primarily hosts school groups but is open to the public on occasion.
I admit that I am captivated by sights that many would probably consider mundane. I see them on a majority of the rides. One example from today is the neighborhood of six streets between Como Avenue and the railroad tracks, especially Victoria Street with its gravel surface and old wood curbs. Then there is the unusual signage in the same area. It is curiosities like these that contribute to Saint Paul’s identity and allure. If you’d like to share a sight, big or small, at which you marvel, please comment so I can check it out.
As usual, I’ll close with a link to the map of this ride.