The Cooper neighborhood is located in southeastern Minneapolis. It extends from 38th Avenue South in the west to the Mississippi River in the east and northeast. From north to south, Cooper extends from the 27th street railroad tracks to 34th Street East. The neighborhood's name is derived from an elementary school named after James Fenimore Cooper, an American novelist born in 1789. A mainly residential neighborhood, Cooper's most important commercial corridor is Lake Street. Parks cover the banks of the Mississippi River.
Source: City of Minneapolis profile page
Justin and Lucy were Cooper residents at the time when I started Minneapolis 81. They lived in a beautiful duplex which will be featured on the tour, but, they are now proud homeowners in the Minnehaha neighborhood!
Lucy works at the University of Minnesota in the College of Design as a career professional. Justin just graduated from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and is now job searching and working for a landscaping company. Justin and Lucy love to try new restaurants especially hidden gems around Minneapolis and St. Paul.
To access the map and walk this route yourself, visit Cooper on MapMyWalk.com.
Our tour began with Longfellow Grill's July patio party, featuring Stone Brewing beers and fish tacos. It was a great way to start the walk because it gave me a sense of how the business is a gathering place for the neighborhood. I witnessed many people walking and biking to the event. Even if you don't drink beer, the patio parties are a great way to get some good food and enjoy live music.
The patio party featured music by The Jupes. From their website: "The Jupes have been entertaining rabid fans and curious strangers since the late 1980's. Home base is the Twin Cities and their troubadour travels have taken them from the North Shore down to the Coulee Region and many points of interest that lie between. They have performed at classy bars and dirty dives both outside and in. Private parties of any kind are one of their specialties." Check out their songlist.
Completed in 2005, West River Commons is a mixed use development including retail and restaurant space, townhomes and apartments managed by At Home Apartments. In addition to Longfellow Grill, there is a Dunn Bros Coffee and Corazon, a local gift shop. A great example of how neighborhood business owners creatively collaborate is the Children's Summer Book Reading hosted by Longfellow Grill and Corazon.
When Lucy and Justin lived in Cooper, they appreciated having Dairy Queen within walking distance.
Minneapolis takes pride in being named the number one bike city by Bicycling magazine. There are a number of organizations devoted to adovacy for bike friendly policies and infrastructure such as easy access to bike parking. The city inventories and maps bike rack and locker locations (PDF).
Justin pointed out that Super America is a hub of activity for the Cooper neighborhood. Having a clean, friendly convenience store within walking distance of one's home can definitely be a perk.
Justin and Lucy highly recommend having a meal at Craftsman and suggest brunch on the patio. I've been to the patio prior to doing this tour and I agree that it is a fantastic oasis in the city. Here's a 2010 Heavy Table review by James Norton.
We all agreed that Dragon City Cafe has great curb appeal. None of us have had a meal there so check out what people have to say on Yelp.
From the American Rug Laundry website: "American Rug Laundry is the largest and oldest rug cleaning facility in the Upper Midwest. Established in 1895 our company has been a trusted name serving the Twin Cities community for generations."
From the Northwest Graphic Supply Co. website: "
As with most of my neighborhood tours, we were pressed for time and weren't able to enter every storefront. After learning more about Leviticus from their website, I will be back! Key words: esoteric oddities, statues, art gallery, and koi pond. I can't think of a better little vacation. Another great example of discovering getaways without leaving the city!
It seems as though many of the businesses on East Lake Street are thriving. I do hope that the spaces above will find the right tenants to add even more great features to the Cooper neighborhood.
While I was unable to go inside for some coffee on this tour, I have actually been to Blue Moon Coffee Cafe and have enjoyed it a great deal. I enjoy the sign stating "Everyone Welcome" above the door.
Larry Frattallone opened his first ACE Hardware and Garden Center in 1975. With sons, Tom and Mike, he now owns 16 stores across the metro. Lucy and Justin love this neighborhood hardware store because of the excellent customer service.
In 2005 Minneapolis Public Schools closed Cooper Elementary School. The playground remains a great park for the neighborhood children. The school was named after James Fenimore Cooper, which in turn inspired the neighborhood name. Cooper's most popular work was The Last of the Mohicans.
We stopped by Justin's friend from college, Adam's home as part of our tour. He has an amazing backyard that just screams summer. Adirondack chairs, grills, fire-pit, garden plots, and my favorite, raspberry bushes. He was quite the host and gave each of us a fresh picked raspberry.
In my opinion, one of the best reasons to walk down new streets in Minneapolis is to find unique homes. By changing up your usual route, you may find a home with a turret as the front entrance to a duplex, Spanish style architecture and possibly a dome house!
As I went to take a photo of this home, a woman riding a bike stopped. Something told me she was the homeowner and sure enough, she was! She was very kind and gave me permission to carry on with my picture taking. She informed us that it is quite rare to have a dome home on an urban lot but it can be done! From the Natural Spaces Dome website about this particular dome home: "This is a Natural Spaces Dome located in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota on a typical city lot 50' (15.24 m) wide. Look at the photos - you won't believe the home owners were able to fit all of the features on this small city lot."
Founded in 1884 by Swedish immigrants, Minnehaha Academy's North Campus was built in 1913.
Danish American Center is in Danebo, a building created as a home for elderly Danish men and women without funds. I like the history of Danebo (from the Danish American Center website history section): Appointed appeal was published in January, 1923 and we quote: "who needs such a home?" The Aged, someone of who have money, but who are alone and others who have no money besides being alone and in need. "We Danes come from a country where few have too much and few too little, and where the elderly are well cared for. Let us follow in those footsteps." "Remember, nobody knows what can happen before the end of day also to you." "Not a soul on earth is assured against a change of luck between morning and sunset." "Do to your neighbor as you would like to have him do unto you." If we get together with warm hearts and sincere intentions, then we can lift the burden and build this home", etc.
West River Parkway is part of Grand Rounds. This section is along the Mississippi River.
The bridge connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul was named in 1991by the Presidents of the City Councils of Minneapolis and St. Paul as a bridge dedicated to the goals of peace and goodwill amongst peoples and nations.
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Fill out the tour guide form if you want to take a walk with me and make multiple stops or fill out the neighborhood gem nomination form for me to consider featuring a specific person, place or thing!
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