Troutbirder

Troutbirder
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Friday, February 15, 2013

The Old Neighborhood


It’s been cold and windy  here now for almost a week. Feeling trapped indoors, I keep busy reading and creating CD's from old family albums. It's a  time for nostaligia really. Having lived in rural Bluff Country (southeastern Minnesota)  for over forty years now, today I'm harking back to the neighborhood where I grew up. It was the "East Side" of St Paul, also known as "Dayton's Bluff" or more simply as "The Bluff."
People here refer to "The Cities" as if it is one giant Megalopolis. It is but then for me growing up, and my father, and perhaps, even his parents it was made up of  neighborhoods. In the days before suburban sprawl, families lived in the same St. Paul and Minneapolis  neighborhoods generation after generation. My paternal grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all lived within 5 blocks of each other.I was born in 1941 and we lived during the war in an apartment on Earl street. In 1945, we moved upstairs of my grandparents’ home near Indian Mounds Park. We're all dressed up in the picture on the lawn of my grandparents. Our neighborhood church was Daytons Bluff Methodist. We lived  close  to the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and downtown St. Paul. I attended Mounds Park Elementary school thru 8th grade. 
We played in the park and on the Indian Mounds (now forbidden out of respect) with games of imagination and baseball.
Girls and boys played equally, with no parental pressure or even supervision. It was called growing up. Living dangerously, we explored on the bluffs against our parents’ wishes and wondered about "Carvers Cave."
 
That was the location of a trading post in the frontier days of the city. Jonathon Carver was an early explorer of the area. It had been long bricked up after some children drowned there. This is my gang on the steps across from Grandma's. That’s me front row on the right checking out my weapon. 
Apparently it was cowboys and Indians that day and it appears the Indians outnumbered the cowboys! Those were the days my friends....
 

14 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

You had me going for an instant when I did my dyslexic thing and read 1941 as 1914. :)

Loree Huebner said...

Love the pictures and the trip down memory lane with you. Those Indian Mounds are amazing. We have some here in Indiana.

When I was young, we would go to Minnesota for vacation in August. One year we stayed on an island (called Big Island) in the middle of a giant lake, not far out from the cities. We fished and swam. The water was so clear. Then we floated down the Apple River and shot the rapids. Fun times.

Linda said...

Absolutely love the photos and a great time to reminisce!

Primitive Stars said...

Hello, wonderful pictures and memories.... thanks for sharing, Francine.

NCmountainwoman said...

Those were the days, my friend, oh yes those were the days.

Ms Sparrow said...

Dayton's Bluff is an area with a lot of history. (You've probably read Steve Thayer's "Saint Mudd" which gives a lot of city history.) Did any of your relatives work at the Hamm's Brewery? I have noticed that when you cross Lafayette Bridge toward the bluff, there's a spot from which you could take a picture with the combination of a barge or riverboat on the Mississippi, a train on the RR tracks, trucks and cars on the highway at the bottom of the bluff and an airplane taking off from Holman Field. Of course, you could photoshop it easily but it would be really neat to catch four kinds of transportation simultaneously!

Montanagirl said...

Those really were "The Days" weren't they? So much simpler, and when kids actually played together outdoors and used their imaginations!!

Dave Coulter said...

troutbirder - Last fall I did a paper (for a grad school class) about mapping and childhood landscape memories. It was a lot of fun, very interesting too. (If you'd like to see a draft, I can send you a copy) We were fortunate to grow up in the era we did - the world has changed since then. I have been thinking about writing more about this topic - someday!

Dave Coulter said...

BTW you can email me at

dcoulter@triton.edu

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great old photos and recollections..your Grands will appreciate them some day:)

L. D. Burgus said...

I am familiar with the parts of the city that you describe. My first wife's, late wife, still lives in St. Paul. I remember the drive down and over the river wasn't too far from where she lives. Her house is near a Catholic College and other colleges are all around her area. No names of streets are coming my way with this old mind but I could drive you through a lot of it. The stairs is a classic that she too has in her front yard going up to her house. Great memories that you write of your family.

Honest Abe said...

Cowboys and Indians was also my favorite game or playtime event. And then when I was about ten we began playing Japs and GI's but nobody wanted to play the Jap part. And nobody really liked playing a Nazi part either. I guess we saw too many RKO Pathe News films at the local theater.

Anonymous said...

For all of you that think that "those were the days" and kids don't play outside in their neighborhoods anymore, have you gone to visit any "young" suburban sprawl neighborhoods to see for yourself? Even better go volunteer at your local school and help these poor modern day kids that you think are missing out on so much.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Love your childhood reminiscences. Have you read "Last child in the Woods"? It is about the increasing gap between children and nature, even in the form of weedy empty lots to play in. Linked to this is the phenomenon "The Too precious child." People waiting till their late thirties and managing to crank out one or two children, who then must be protected at all costs.