Elliot Park, just south of downtown Minneapolis, is bounded on the north by Fifth Avenue South and Fifth Street South, on the east by Highway 55, on the south by 18th Street East and on the west by Fourth Avenue South. The area was first surveyed in the 19th century, just four years after the founding of Minneapolis. The park that’s the neighborhood’s namesake was created on land donated by Dr. Joseph Elliot, a physician who owned a farm there. Many mansions were built in the neighborhood in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Those large homes were eventually converted into apartments to accommodate economic changes and a large influx of new residents. The neighborhood is home to two prominent institutions: Hennepin County Medical Center and North Central University.
Source: City of Minneapolis Neighborhood Profile
Angharad Guy responded to my request for neighborhood tour guides via Twitter. I was excited she signed up because she is the author of a food blog I enjoy, Eating for England, in which she posts recipes inspired by growing up in England and her adopted home of Minneapolis. Warning: her photos will make your tummy growl with hunger! Angharad also works for a non-profit arts organization. Since September 2009, Angharad has lived in Elliot Park with her husband Dan and their two cats, Juan and Jamal.
The Tour Route
We started our tour at Angharad's duplex which she and Dan share with the owner of the home. The beautiful home and garden are what attracted the couple to the neighborhood.
Several blocks in the center of Elliot Park neighborhood is North Central University, self described as a Christ-centered, Pentecostal school with a commitment to academic excellence.
Angharad's favorite spot in the neighborhood is The Band Box Diner. She describes it as a pretty awesome spot for breakfast. She believes it's been there since the 1940s and it's listed as a Minneapolis historic landmark. She loves the building. And the hash browns.
When I asked Angharad for recommendations of other people to talk to about Elliot Park, she suggested the cook at the Band Box. She said he is a super interesting guy with plenty of stories. She suggests visitors to the neighborhood pull up a stool, order some coffee, eggs, and hash browns and see what he has to say.
What used to be Drexel Hotel, is now an apartment building. Many mansions and hotels in the neighborhood are now affordable housing for the city's residents.
The Hinkle-Murphy House has been converted into office space but it has an important place in Minnesota's architectural history.
Built in 2003, the townhomes and condos at 553 S 10th Street echo the architecture of the neighborhood but have a much higher price tag than the other properties.
Angharad and I were both taken by the old buildings that were once homes to Minneapolis elite. They have been pretty well maintained from outside appearance.
Hennepin County Medical Center is an important part of Elliot Park, as it is a major employer in Hennepin County. We walked by the hospital but didn't walk through the large campus, which serves as a trauma center for both adults and pediatrics.
The infrastructure of Chicago Avenue recently received an upgrade which included new sidewalks and street lights making it safer for pedestrian and bike traffic.
One way to experience Minneapolis is by renting a Nice Ride bike. Elliot Park's station is just one of many throughout the city.
When I asked Angharad to describe the culture of Elliot Park, she said, "Elliot Park feels very residential to me but the park plays a big role in the community's culture. It's used by everyone and since the neighborhood has a super diverse population, visiting the park gives you a pretty awesome snapshot of what our area is like. Augustana senior living apartments overlook the park so you'll see many seniors sitting out in the warmer months watching the park goings on. There are students from North Central University who might be setting up for a rock show. We have a large East African population and the field is often dominated by East African guys playing soccer (so fun to watch). A good chunk of the population is African American and another good chunk is Hispanic. Big family BBQs, basketball on the courts, skateboarders on the ramps, kids in the splash pool. Really, it's a diverse place."
We ended our tour near our starting point. The Library is one of Angharad's favorite buildings in the neighborhood. It is North Central University's library which they have named, TJ Jones Information Resource Center.
Elliot Park Links
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I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment. What was your favorite part of this tour? What do you plan on visiting yourself? Do you live and/or work in the neighborhood?