King Field is named after Colonel William S. King, ex-congressman and a prominent figure in national affairs who lived in Minneapolis in the 19th century and was active in the anti-slavery struggle. The neighborhood is located in Minneapolis’ Southwest community between Interstate 35W on the east and Lyndale Avenue on the west. The northern extent is 36th Street, and 46th Street is the southern boundary. The King Field neighborhood became part of Minneapolis in 1887 when the southern border of Minneapolis was extended from 38th Street to 54th Street. King Field is mainly a residential area with three-fourths of its single-family houses built before 1920. The King Field neighborhood has a number of amenities including churches, schools, a park named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and three- to four-dozen small businesses.
Source: Minneapolis Neighborhood Profile
Two people, independent of each other, offered to give me a tour of Kingfield neighborhood. I suggested that we take the tour together so that two neighbors could meet. We chose opening day of the Kingfield Farmers Market for our tour.
Andy Gifford found out about Minneapolis 81 from Twitter. He has lived in Kingfield (on & off) since 1983 and has also lived in the Stevens Square and Windom neighborhoods. Because Andy is currently unemployed, he spends a lot of time at home and walking around the neighborhood (when it's nice out). Andy maintains a Tumblr site dedicated (mostly) to Minneapolis history, Thomas Lowry's Ghost.
Ed Vogel first learned about Minneapolis 81 when I presented on the project at Give & Take in April 2011. Ed has lived in the Kingfield neighborhood since 2006. When asked what he does for pay and play, Ed says he strives for play but in lieu of full-time play, he strives for 50-50 and currently temps at a local medical company. He is also working on Twin Cities Piano Lab.
The Tour Route
We focused on the businesses and park along Nicollet Avenue. A thunderstorm prevented us from going into the residential area as well as going to the other business districts. Are you a Kingfield resident or business owner who would like to help me learn about the rest of the neighborhood? Fill out this tour guide form!
Sunday, May 22 was the opening day of the Kingfield Farmers Market, a neighborhood-run farmers market which has been operating since 2001. The Market is open every Sunday, May 22 - October 30, from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. located at 4310 Nicollet Ave.
Before meeting our tour guides, Scott and I fueled up for our walk with a Pedal Powered Smoothie made by Twitter friends, Kendra (@backroad) and Carson who work for Foxy Falafel (@foxyfalafel), a food vendor serving three local farmers markets.
It was clear that rain gear was needed and I couldn't help but take a photo of these sassy boots. I don't think anyone at the market could predict the kind of weather that Minneapolis would encounter later in the day. It was on this day that our neighbors to the north had tornadoes touch down, causing considerable damage.
After meeting up with Andy and Ed, we started our tour on the east side of Nicollet Avenue South at the building that houses both Anodyne CoffeeHouse [now closed] and Leonardo's Basement [moved locations].
Anoydyne, meaning something that soothes, calms, or comforts, is the perfect description for this coffeehouse which strives to bring the community together and has seating arrangements to encourage larger groups to talk to one another including a large table in the center of the room and overstuffed coaches and chairs on the side.
Leonardo's Basement is an organization offering hands-on workshops for children and their families to learn about science, art and technology creatively. Ed volunteers with this group and suggested that we check out one of their adult workshops.
Corner Table has enjoyed amazing press and recognition including a James Beard nomination for owner and Chef, Scott Pampuch. A unique dining option offered at Corner Table is reservations at the Kitchen Table for 2-6 people to enjoy multiple courses and interactions with Chef Pampuch.
When we toured Kingfield, Odds n Ends wasn't open but I hope to go back for a look at their antiques and furniture.
Nicollet Book Store is the site of one of Andy's jobs when he was younger!
Andy had quite a bit to say about Curran's Restaurant, which has been a family owned business since 1948, because his mom has worked there since 1979. The restaurant was started by Mike Curran after World War II and used to have a drive-in using one of the first two-way radios in the United States. The restaurant removed its drive-in in 1978 and around that time, Dennis, Mike's son, became a partner. Today, Dennis's son, Jeffrey is a manager.
The Kingfield neighborhood wrapped 25 utility boxes in locally made photography as a way to cut down on graffiti.
Martin Luther King Park used to be Nicollet Park. The park is slated to have $32K worth of improvements.
As part of the park improvements, the sculpture will be moved to a more prominent site.
A fun tidbit gleaned from Andy was the fact that Janet Jackson's album, Control, was recorded at Flyte Tyme recording studio, site of Flyte Tyme Records, founded by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, in the building now occupied by House Lift Remodeler at 43rd & Nicollet. Andy recalls walking by the studio and seeing the gold albums in the studio windows.
Nicollet Avenue between 40th and 45th Streets is a mix of commercial and residential buildings including both single-family and multi-family housing. The apartment buildings typically have a brick facade and interesting architectural details. When I told Andy that this particular building stood out to me, he said that his parents used to live there and that his aunt and uncle lived in the building next door. The two buildings are connected by underground passageway.
Our tour ended abruptly because the sky turned dark followed by a downpour. Scott and I ducked into Anodyne Coffeehouse just in time but my generous tour guides got soaked on their way home.
Invite me back!
Andy and Ed were great tour guides but due to a thunderstorm, I was unable to visit as much of the neighborhood as I would like! I want to return and get another tour! Are you interested in showing me around the remaining parts of the neighborhood? Fill out the tour guide form and I will contact you to work out the details!
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I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment. What was your favorite part of this tour? What places do you plan on visiting? Do you live and/or work in the neighborhood? If so, do you have additional information on any of our tour highlights?