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Preservation — 6 Comments

  1. I’m so grateful that you are proactively taking a stance against Californication. It’s amazing what can be lost (in long past, streetcars) or won (recently, no parking meters on Grand) when the community stands together and insists on being heard. Thank you for your good work. I am mildly concerned by recent attempts to rezone MacGroveland for mixed housing units in certain areas. If there is no vigilance over these proposals at the outset, they can come back to haunt in the worst ways when they are made manifest further down the line.

  2. Thanks, Michelle. I hope the vigilance of citizens will suffice to save our residential neighborhoods from the current blight.

    I was recently walking on Sargent down by the river, and there is one block with a teardown completed and construction in progress; and on that block ten or a dozen other houses featured “Save Our Neighborhoods” yard signs. I haven’t seen as high a density of the signs anywhere else. It could not be any more clear that the locals hate what is happening, but it doesn’t look like their animus has deterred a grave offense against aesthetics being perpetrated on their block.

    I think we are going to need help from new ordnances. Law and court precedent are all on the side of property owners at present, and neighbors really have little say about what happens on any nearby lot.

  3. AND you didn’t even get down to Woodlawn and the Mississipi River Blvd.

  4. Susan, I just went down and drove Woodlawn from Randolph north to Goodrich. I only saw one house I would flag as a Californication — on the river side near Jefferson. If it were a trailer it would have to be called a double-wide. It took up a good deal of the lot’s frontage. Was there something else you meant to point out on Woodlawn?

    As far as the River Drive — yes, a similar phenomenon is in play, but on a wholly different scale. I heard someone say a builder had purchased two adjacent houses there for $3.7 million and either has or was about to tear them down to erect a real monster. I haven’t seen this work in progress. But what is going on with homes costing $1M-$2M currently represents such a rarified slice of the market that I can’t get all that exercised about it. Besides, Mississippi River Blvd. would have a much better shot at designation as a historic district, if they chose to go that way, than more ordinary St. Paul residential neighborhoods would.

  5. Oh I couldn’t be happier that this is becoming a dialogue! Our home is a beautiful example of a Praire construction. I believe that we are stewards of this lovely style of home. We are to care for these as you would a work of art! I wouldn’t dream of altering its footprint or its architectural expression. That would be so disrespectful.

    My friend across the street no longer has any sun coming into her kitchen. Her neighbor next door constructed a very high addition in the back of their house, so she has no sunlight nor can she see the sky from her kitchen window!

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    You might be interested in this book I saw reviewed on MinnPost today. Larry Millett has been photographing midcentury architecture around the Cities and across the state since the 1960s, and seems to have been one of the driving forces behind the growing awareness in these parts of the need for preservation.

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