McKinley neighborhood on Minneapolis' north side is bound on the north by Dowling Avenue North, on the south by Lowry Avenue North, on the west by Dupont Avenue North and on the east by the Mississippi River. The neighborhood and its elementary school are named for William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States. In 1996, with approval of the City Council, McKinley neighborhood annexed the North River Industrial Area. This area is located along the river and extends to Interstate 94. Many of the homes are two-story, single-family homes with wood frames; bungalows and some small stucco Tudors. Most of the houses were built between 1910 and 1930.
Source: City of Minneapolis Profile
Jen N. and her spouse, Jane M. have lived in McKinley since 2003. They are proud parents of Eliza. They also both happen to be in the ministry. Our tour guide Jen, is a pastor at Salem Lutheran in south Minneapolis. When she is not pastoring, she likes to walk, eat, hike, camp, travel, and interact with people. This summer she has a 6 week sabbatical and will be doing some work for a Lutheran retreat center in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state (Holden Village), a remote location that is difficult to access. She's excited about the time out there (and is out there as I write this blog post!).
The Tour Route
Jen and I set our McKinley tour date for June 4, several weeks before the tornado tore diagonally through (PDF) North Minneapolis on Sunday, May 22. I inquired if it was appropriate to proceed and Jen felt that going through with our original plan would help her process all that had happened to the neighborhood. So, on a beautiful Saturday morning, my husband, Scott and dog, Stewie and I met Jen and Eliza at their home.
While Northside Food Market is cheery in color, it has been anything but cheery for the neighborhood as it has been called an "inconvenience store" and cited as location for drug deals and other illegal and nuisance behaviors. Jen believed that even though the sign says "open" that it has since been closed. A simple internet search will lead you to blogs where this property is a hot topic.
We stopped for tremendous skyline views from Perkins Hill Park. I will definitely be back to this quiet park for more great views of the city I love.
Eliza definitely enjoyed our break as she tried out all of the playground equipment! Since it was fairly early on a Saturday morning, besides a few kids passing through on bikes, she had the place to herself.
Stewie appreciates that the City of Minneapolis has him and his furry friends in mind when they install drinking fountains in the parks!
McKinley Community CSA is an urban agriculture social enterprise of the McKinley neighborhood in North Minneapolis. By embracing the model of Community Supported Agriculture we are to taking an active role in developing a new food system and rebuilding the economic, ecological and nutritional well being of our neighborhood. Source: McKinley CSA Facebook Page
The mission of Cityview Performing Arts Magnet is: Our school is a safe, positive, respectful environment. We welcome and celebrate diversity. Students are challenged and motivated to become productive citizens in our community and in the world. We value a nurturing, inclusive environment in which students, parents, staff and the community work collaboratively to succeed.
Source: Cityview Performing Arts Magnet website
As a pastor, Jen understands the importance of churches to community. She mentioned that Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, in particular, is an important part of the neighborhood. A parishioner looked quizzically at me while I snapped photos of the exterior. I explained my project and she told me drives in from Plymouth for services. She also invited me to get to know the church from the inside next time I am in the neighborhood. It also shares space with the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches Center for Families.
The sign should read "Beware of Dog (and Alien)".
We stopped in to buy bottled water at Lowry Food Market and struck up a conversation with Bassem Kablaoui, the gregarious owner. He told us of the shifting demographics of the neighborhood and talked about his deep roots in North Minneapolis.
The only restaurant we passed was Burger King.
We were perplexed by the small home in between two large homes.
Walking through the industrial section of the neighborhood was interesting because we all learned about companies we hadn't previously known about including Libra USA and International Paper.
Considered one of the largest trucking centers in the nation, Minneapolis-Saint Paul is served by 150 motor freight companies that provide overnight and four- to five-day delivery in the Midwest and major markets in the continental United States. Vital to the Twin Cities' role as a primary transportation hub is the port of Minneapolis, which together with the port of Saint Paul processes annually more than 11 million tons of cargo to and from domestic and foreign markets.
This is The Port of Minneapolis, a city-owned barge terminal that is operated by River Services, Inc. Truck traffic makes this a dangerous place for novices, so heed the no-trespassing signs. Almost any non-hazardous commodity may be present at this terminal, including grain, lumber, phosphate fertilizer, seed oil, steel, twine, paper, pipes, and salt. The igloo-shaped storage tanks are used for solids, and some are insulated to keep stored products from freezing into one large chunk. Several very large insulated liquid storage tanks are near the road. These tanks are not currently used, note the vegetation taking root on their roofs. These tanks were for asphalt oil and other heavy oils which need the insulation to keep stored product warm enough to be pumpable. Note the dike around the large tanks, required to keep the contents of the tanks from flowing to the river and streets if the tanks ever should rupture.
The Upper Harbor Terminal is one of only four remaining active barge facilities above the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. The others are Holcim Cement (RM 857.4), American Iron (RM 856.3) and Aggregate Industries (RM 855.9). The According to its “Above the Falls Master Plan” Minneapolis’ long-term plans for the property include converting the riverfront portion of the land to a new park and redeveloping the portion of the land further from the river as housing.
Source: Mississippi River Field Guide
The owners of this home are beautifying their community by landscaping their yard. I can't wait to go back to see how the garden is growing and taking shape.
McKinley neighborhood is united and it was clear to me that people I interacted with are committed to community building despite some challenges they have faced in recent months.
What did we miss?
Jen and Eliza showed us a large section of McKinley, but I am guessing we may have missed one of your favorite parts of the neighborhood. I'd love to come back and find out what you think makes McKinley a great place to live and/or work. Fill out the Tour Guide form and we can find a time for me to return to learn more!
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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?