The Hiawatha neighborhood is located along the southeastern border of Minneapolis and is part of the Longfellow community. The neighborhood is named for its elementary school, Hiawatha. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the American poet born in 1807, made the names Hiawatha and Minnehaha famous in his poem, The Song of Hiawatha. The neighborhood extends from 40th Street on the north to 54th Street East on the south, and from the Mississippi River on the east to Hiawatha Avenue on the west and south. The light-rail transit line runs along Hiawatha Avenue, connecting downtown Minneapolis to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington. Minnehaha Avenue runs parallel to Hiawatha Avenue and clusters mixed and commercial uses, unlike the rest of the neighborhood with its mainly single-family houses. One-third of the neighborhood's area is open land: parks, including Minnehaha Park, and the Mississippi River's Lock and Dam Number 1.
Source: City of Minneapolis Neighborhood Profile
Brian (@emoeby) has lived in the Hiawatha neighborhood for 10 years, He and his wife, Tricia started in a home on 46th Avenue and then moved so they could have more room to start a family. Brian and Tricia love the neighborhood so much that when they were house hunting, the never looked outside of the Longfellow Community. They have a son, Dean, who at the time of our tours was learning to walk.
I was happy to have met Tricia and Dean but my main tour guide was Brian. He works as a Systems Analyst from home, a perk he enjoys as it keeps him in his community. In fact, on our second tour, I met him at Peace Coffee in the Longfellow neighborhood just to the north of his home. Brian's main interests are baseball, craft beer, scenic drives, BBQ, and learning about Minneapolis/MN history. He combines those interests on his personal blog, which he's had for more than 10 years, East-Lake Tumblr. He also contributes to a collaborative Twins blog.
Follow our footsteps by accessing the Hiawatha route on MapMyWalk.com.
You can take this walk by accessing Hiawatha part two on MapMyWalk.com.
On our way to Minnehaha Falls Park, church was letting out for the congregants of Debre Selam Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Minnesota. I approached a group of teens talking to see if they'd be open to having their photo taken and to my delight, they were excited to pose!
Hiawatha is home to two different pizza joints, one being Fast Eddie's.
"Minnehaha Falls Nursery and Landscaping was started in 1957 by Bob and Shirley Lindgren they started the company in LaCresent, MN and then moved it to Minneapolis. The company continued to grow and it became your “One stop Garden Shop” which it still remains today. Bob Lindgren, Jr. and his wife Jennifer bought the company in 2001. Minnehaha Falls Nursery and Landscaping has always been a local neighborhood garden store but with the generations of families that have shopped at Minnehaha Falls Nursery, people travel from distances because it is still their garden store."
Source: Minnehaha Falls Nursery and Landscaping website
Brian, Tricia, Scott and I specifically chose the date of our first walk so that we could go to Norway Day, one of many festivals and races that happen throughout the year at Minnehaha Park.
Norway Day was sponsored by the Norwegian National League of Minnesota which celebrates Norwegian heritage with music, arts and crafts and of course, lefse!
While I have visited Minnehaha Falls Park many times, Brian introduced me to parts of the park I hadn't previously explored. Fueled on lefse, Brian guided us on a trail that leads to the Mississippi River. We passed by a swimming area, beautiful stone bridges, wildlife and hand-carved caves.
There are more than 9 miles of trails around Minnehaha Falls Park. We lucked out and found a blue heron taking a break. I love the photo of the three boys headed to the swimming area with walking sticks in hand.
The large rock pictured above has a plaque which reads: At this point you are near the original mouth of Minnehaha Creek where it formerly emptied into the Mississippi River at a level equal to the top of the Falls. Close observation will reveal many of the physical features of the geological history. One can observe the the hard platville limestone formations at the upper level of the glen underlain by softer sandstone which is eroded by the waters eventually undercutting the limestone which breaks off falls down and caused the waterfall to slowly move upstream you will notice many large boulders of granite and basalt throughout the glen which were carried to our area by glaciation.
- Minnehaha Glen Development
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board - 1969
The trail we hiked leads to the Mississippi River where we saw both end of the river watercraft spectrum - a canoe and a paddleboat. Scott climbed into a cave carved out of the soft limestone. Brian reminisced about discovering these caves as a young boy and making up scary stories with friends on the origins of the skulls carved into the rock wall.
The Intercity Bridge is known as Ford Parkway Bridge or 46th Street Bridge. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989 and is historically significant because it is one of the largest reinforced concrete bridges ever built in Minnesota.
Sea Salt Eatery is in the Minnehaha Pavilion building within the Minnehaha Park. Here's a review by Heavy Table's Lori Writer and more photos from Heavy Table's Aaron Landry
Like most of the more popular parks and lakes, Minnehaha Park has a contract with Wheel Fun Rentals for bicycle rentals. Many people take these out on the trails to cover more ground than they may have otherwise.
As is the case with many of these neighborhood tours, I struck up a conversation with someone with an interesting story to tell. This tour introduced me to Kate Havelin, local author and part-time Park Ranger. She was conducting surveys of visitors since she was unable conduct them at Fort Snelling due to the state shut-down. Many people forget that the stretch of the Mississippi flowing through the Twin Cities is part of the National Park System and is called the Mississippi National River and Recreational Area.
A stop on the Grand Rounds trail system, Minnehaha Falls Park has many points of interest including Longfellow House, Stevens House, and Minnehaha or "Princess" Depot. Statues of Gunnar Wennerberg and Col. John H. Stevens are also in the park.
Parkway Pizza is a proud supporter of local schools, and your purchase will support a specific school depending on which day you dine. They also offer gluten-free crust.
Hiawatha Elementary School, built in 1916, is featured in the AIA Guide to the Twin Cities because of its unique architecture. It is called a "California Plan" and features classroom doors that open to the outdoors.
At the corner of 41st and 42nd Avenue, there are two salons across the street from one another- Alamane Salon and Unique Kreations.
Hiawatha and the larger Longfellow Community boasts an impressive number of bungalows. The amount of care that goes into the exterior (and presumably interiors) of these homes is impressive. LIke the look of these homes? Check out Twin Cities Bungalow Club.
Hiawatha Lumber has been serving the Twin Cities since 1940.
Since I grew up in a small Iowa town in which the local Hardware Hank was a major retailer in our little downtown, it warms my heart every time I see one. Falls Hardware offers convenient services and merchandise for the neighborhood.
Brian specifically pointed out Natural Bult Home which was started in 2005 to provide safe and sustainable building and finishing materials. I've been to the store in the past when shopping for FLOR carpet.
I am not sure who could walk by this garage without smiling. When I went up for a closer look, I think I spotted a price tag. Since I was not able to get the back story on this, I sincerely hope someone will leave a comment with more information.
Featured in AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, the above home was built in 1961 by Ralph Rapson. Described as an International Style box with vertical redwood siding painted white.
Featured in AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, the above home was built in 1960 by Herb Fritz who did an apprenticeship under Frank Lloyd Wright.
While Brian did not show me this part of R & R Automotive (we looked at this one), I went back to take a picture of it after reading about it in the AIA Guide to the Twin Cities as an example of Period Revival gas stations. The author points describes this as an English Cottage with a mock thatched roof (though I am unsure if the above photo is the same roof the author documented) and eyebrow window.
We first saw Minnehaha Academy's North Campus on the Cooper neighborhood tour. Founded in 1884 by Swedish immigrants, Minnehaha Academy's South Campus was purchased in 1981 and renovated in 2007.
Brian and I walked passed the backside of Becketwood on 40th Avenue South. I hope to tour Becketwood with their Marketing Director and a resident I recently met. Stay tuned!
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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?