Waite Park neighborhood, in the city's northeast corner, is bound on the north by 37th Avenue Northeast, on the east by Stinson Boulevard, on the south by Saint Anthony Parkway and on the west by Central Avenue Northeast. The neighborhood is named for Edward Foote Waite, judge of the District Court of Hennepin County from 1911 to 1941. In 1887, the city incorporated most of the land in the neighborhood. By that time the railroad had built a large repair facility, the Shoreham Yards. The facility is still in use, but the land it's on is expected to be redeveloped. Waite Park is a mainly residential neighborhood.
Source: City of Minneapolis Neighborhood Profile
AJ Hokland has lived in Waite Park for more than 17 years. She is the sole proprietor of a custom sewing business, Heart Held Designs, and works from home. She also works occasionally as a wedding coordinator. She spends a lot of her free time biking and going to see local rock bands. This year, she and her kids are adding a rain garden to their front yard - lots of digging in the dirt.
Shelley has lived in Waite Park since 2003 and Northeast since 1995 (Audubon Park previously.
Shelley has three businesses (pet professional; Dog Beds for Less - Eco-friendly Pet Products; Shelley Sews), and is founder of theNortheast Neighbors & Business Association and its subsidiaries. To relax, she likes to ride bike, walk around the Columbia Golf Course and occasionally do some treasure hunting/metal detecting.
The Tour Routes
To access the map and walk this route yourself, visit Waite Park with AJ on MapMyWalk.com.
To access the map and walk this route yourself, visit Waite Park with Shelley on MapMyWalk.com.
Waite Park Community Garden
Both tours involved a stop at Waite Park Community Garden, a volunteer maintained public garden founded by Becky Meliton in 1997. Watch the photo slide show and read the garden's story to learn and see how the land evolved into this beautiful community space! My second visit was on a Saturday in which Garden members were having a work day with specific projects like replacing the stone trim around the flower garden.
Parks, school and trails
Waite Park is home to three Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board parks.
Waite Park park is connected to Waite Park Community School. Both tour guides pointed out that the school was recently saved from being closed because of the public outcry of support.
In 1977, Cavell Park was "built into a hillside near one of the highest points in the city, the park was once home to the Edith Cavell Elementary School. Edith Cavell was an English nurse working in Belgium at the outbreak of World War I. When the German army occupied Belgium, she helped Allied soldiers escape to the Netherlands. She was executed by the German military in 1915 for her efforts, and became a propaganda symbol generating support for the war against Germany in England, the United States and other Allied countries." Source: Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.
"Featuring over 10 acres of majestic trees, hilly walking paths and eye-catching skyline views, Deming Heights Park boasts the highest elevation of any point in the parks system – 963 feet above sea level. Deming Heights Park is named for Portius C. Deming, a park commissioner during the years 1895-1899 and 1909-1919." Source: Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
The rock has a dedication tablet stating:
Portus C. Deming Heights
In Memory of one whose vision through years of public service helped make possible the parks of Minneapolis. This tablet presented to the Board of Park Commissioners by the Central Ave. Commercial Association. Oct. 1st 1930.
Urban hikers, bikers and roller bladers may enjoy the NE stretch of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway trail along St. Anthony Parkway. The trail passes beautiful homes and takes you to Deming Heights Park.
A peaceful path was created to allow pedestrian or bike traffic through between Garfield and Benjamin Streets NE because 34th Avenue NE doesn't go through that section (map).
Waite Park Homes & Gardens
On both walks, I passed several beautiful homes of all shapes, sizes and colors. It is clear that Waite Park residents take pride in their homes and gardens.
Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations
During the tour led by Shelley Leeson, I enjoyed hearing her passion for home-based businesses and their owners. She points out that often people only imagine storefronts when they think of neighborhood businesses but she estimates that there are more than 100 home-based businesses in Waite Park alone. This can be businesses like Shelley's and AJ's, in which they are the owners but it can also mean that people are working for a larger company but based in their homes.
Started by the Ready brothers in 1946, Ready Meats has homemade sausages (50 varieties!), homemade pizza and spaghetti sauces and Scandinavian delicacies including Swedish sausage, pickled herring, lutefisk, lefse, and lingonberry sauce. The place was so busy on Saturday that they were using their number queue! It is no wonder the Food Network named it one of America's Best Butcher Shops!
ALM Corner Cafe recently opened on the corner of 33rd & Central Avenues NE. The restaurant and coffee shop is named after its three owners: Ana Pinto, from Venezuela; Lilliana Feliciano from Puerto Rico, and Martha Garces from Mexico. They describe their restaurant as an American-Latin fusion concept cafe, presenting the mix through the menu. Specialties include Cachapas (corn pancakes pictured below), Molletes, French Poblanos and Zuchini Puffs. I am a huge fan of their iced chai and Scott enjoyed an iced mocha with plenty of whipped cream (pictured below). Their full menu (PDF).
Save room for dessert! ALM offers many varieties of cakes and desserts. We were given an "Impossible Cake" on the house. It was chocolate covered chocolate cake and vanilla custard. The owners come up with the recipes and names. On my first visit, there was a cake named "Bite me".
Hill Valley Boutique and its owner, Elizabeth Tanberg (pictured above), celebrated its Grand Opening on June 26, 2011. Their Facebook description says: we are into retro, new and vintage home furnishings, clothes and accessories. We also have locally designed jewelry and art. Come Shop!
Large and colorful statues catch your eye as you pass Columbia Gardens, one of the only garden centers in Northeast, according to one of the owners, Jim. The sign boasts that it has been in business for over 50 years but they are actually celebrating their 60th birthday next year!
Shelley pointed out three businesses and a church on our tour:
A fun stop on our tour was at Bywood East Health Care, which was hosting Battle of the Birdhouses, a fundraising event and carnival. All of the proceeds from this event go to the Residents' Sunshine Club that provides outings, entertainment and holiday gifts for Bywood's residents. I was able to meet Mary Farnham, Activity Director, who plans the annual event. She has been active in the community, serving on the Waite Park Community Council Board. I was also introduced to Lynn Miskovic, current President of the NE Royalty Scholarship Program Board. NE Royalty Scholarship Program selects Goodwill Ambassadors who make appearances at parades and community events. As an organization, they put in more than 1,000 hours of community services annually in NE Minneapolis.
Notable Waite Park Residents
I love meeting new people on the tours and I was delighted to meet Lauri Svedberg. Lauri is an artist and her home is an extension of her artwork. Her home studio is often opened up during the annual Art-A-Whirl Open Studio and Gallery Tour. Please visit her studio's website and consider purchasing or commissioning one of her works of art.
While at Lauri's, I lucked out and met Jeffrey Martin and his wife Liz. I first met Jeffrey on Twitter because he was creating 30 second sketches for #30daysofcreativity and I purchased his Iowa sketch. Jeffrey owns Jeffrey Martin Design and is current President of the Waite Park Community Council Board.
Waite Park Links
* Waite Park Community Council
* Waite Park Community Council Neighborhood Garden
* More Waite Park photos
Invite me back!
I'd love to come back and find out what you think makes Waite Park 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!
Share with friends and leave a comment!
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?