My first tour happens to be first on the alphabetical list of neighborhoods and my [former] home neighborhood of Armatage! Because I live in Armatage, I plan on highlighting several mini tours as a way to get to know my neighbors.
Located in the southwest corner of the city, Armatage neighborhood is bounded on the north by 54th Street West, on the east by Logan Avenue South, and on the south and west by the city limits at Highway 62 and Xerxes Avenue South. The neighborhood grew around the school named for Maude Armatage, a distinguished community leader. Armatage is built up with mostly single-family housing and some multifamily buildings. The neighborhood also has a park with a community center.
The retail space in the neighborhood consists of individual neighborhood stores and is mostly located along Penn Avenue South. The great majority of housing was built between 1949 and 1969, while about 5 percent of the dwellings were built before World War II.
Source: Minneapolis Neighborhood Profiles
Even though Lisa and her family has lived about 5 houses around a corner from me for the past 5 years, I hadn't met her until I asked permission to take a photo of her girls for my photo 365 project. Getting to know my neighbors is one of the reasons I am most excited about this project as well as the Armatage 365 project for which I am a photographer.
Lisa, her husband Chris and their daughters, Veronica and Iris have lived in their current home on the block of 57th & Oliver since 2007. The family of four moved from another Armatage home on the block of 59th & Russell. So, they have been in Armatage for quite awhile. Both Lisa and Chris have been in the area their entire lives- Lisa grew up in neighboring Fulton and Chris grew up in Linden Hills.
Lisa is an artist and told me about many of her current and past jobs. She currently is a freelance stylist assistant which takes her to fun places like Costume Rentals, a public-use costume rental shop from The Children's Theatre Company and The Guthrie! Chris is a licensed general contractor and through his business, C-Craft, he focuses on residential remodeling, primarily in the neighborhood. Iris, 4, attends pre-school at Armatage Community Center and Veronica, 6, is in kindergarten at Armatage Montessori.
The Tour Route
Lisa and I decided to meet for lunch at Cafe Maude, located at 5411 Penn Avenue S. Cafe Maude is named after Maude Armatage, whose family owned the farm that is now the Armatage neighborhood. Choosing from the varied menu was difficult for both of us but Lisa had the Butter Lettuce salad and I had the Soup and Sandwich combo with cream of asparagus soup, and Maude's Favorite, a smoked turkey sandwich with avocado, sprouts and herb aioli.
After lunch, we needed to pick up Iris by 1:00 PM from pre-school at the Armatage Community Center, located at Armatage Park and adjacent to the Armatage Montessori school. Iris showed me her locker and demonstrated how she could fit in it!
Iris and Lisa often play at Armatage Park after school. Lisa told me that one of her favorite spots in the neighborhood is the community outdoor swimming pool, which opens after school is out for the summer. Iris then showed me her favorite toys at the park.
We then walked north on Russell so that we could see their first Armatage home. Iris was 9 months when she moved to her current home so she doesn't have any memory of living there. Lisa shared with me that after they moved, their cat had a hard time with it and always walked the two blocks to return to the Russell home. The homes in Armatage were all built between 1947-49 and unless there has been significant remodeling, they are mostly one story or story and a half homes.
After looking at their first home on Russell, Lisa and Iris told me another of their favorite activities; buying Laffy Taffy at Super USA! After Iris picked out Laffy Taffy for herself and her sister, Veronica, they read the jokes (actually, puns) to me.
After our Super USA adventure, we walked to my home where I gave them a tour of the remodeling we've done which led to discussion about how people in the neighborhood have adapted their homes to make them work for our modern needs. I still shake my fists at the 1940's era architects who didn't consider bulky winter coats and boots when designing the landing in the back entry!
We picked up Veronica from school at 2:00 PM and spent time on the playground again. This time Veronica showed me her mad skills on the monkey bars! That girl has upper body strength!
We ended our time together by walking to their current home. It is on the 5700 block of Oliver Avenue South and is part of Penn Model Village, the first homes to be built in this development. To purchase and build a home, one had to be a service member of World War II.
Oliver Avenue South between 57th and 58th streets, curve and at the northern tip create a green space called Triangle Park. I live near this patch of land and never knew it was a recognized Minneapolis park with a name!
Like many of my Armatage neighbors, Lisa and her family take pride in their gardens and spend a lot of time in their backyards. Lisa's favorite part of her backyard are the two evergreen trees "Ma and Pa," named in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder's ma and pa.
What did I miss?
I know we didn't cover the entire neighborhood. What are your favorite parts of Armatage? Do you know some of the history of Armatage? I'd love to get to know you and take a walk around the neighborhood to continue to highlight our neighborhood gems.
Sign up by filling out the tour guide form and I'll be in touch to set something up!