Monday, June 18, 2012

Old Brick Houses North Minneapolis - Jan 2006

I'd driven past these two old brick houses in North Minneapolis at least 50 times, all the while thinking I really should take a photo of them. They were the kind of narrow, tall and simple box-shaped houses that you just don't see anymore -at least not in Minneapolis. The pair of homes -only just feet apart from one another both appeared to have built around the same time, of the same yellowed brick and having very similar construction -especially those old, tall windows with the arched top -something you'd be hard pressed to find nowadays even if you were looking for it. These houses resided on 2nd St. North right near the intersection of 2nd & Lowry, leading up to the old Lowry Avenue Bridge. In fact if you click on the photos to enlarge them you may be able to see the green metal top of the old Lowry Avenue Bridge. Whenever my wife and I would pass these houses our conversation would turn to wondering if anybody -or who- lived in those houses. At the time it DID look like at least one of them was occupied even though many of the windows were already boarded up. I don't remember which one we thought might have been occupied but I'm thinking it was the one on the right -with slightly less windows boarded up. The age of the houses was obvious in a lot of ways -from the weathered and cracked brickwork to the deteriorating and surely leaking roofs but mostly to the added electrical utilities that didn't seem to be part of the home's original plans. In January of 2006 we began to notice some activity around the houses including an orange construction fence in front. I figured I'd better stop and catch at least one photo of these houses so on a cold January day in 2006 we did just that. It was clear the homes were about to be demolished and it was sort of a neat feeling that we may well be the last people to be admiring them, daydreaming of the history that happened inside and outside of them. Both houses had been added onto at the rear, almost doubling the depth of each, making me wonder if they had been used for another purpose other than a simple family home. During our stop I finally capture the address of one of the two houses still above the front door -3210. Shortly after I looked up this address on the Hennepin County Property Tax web site and was not too surprised to see the last sale-price was for an astounding low rate. I don't remember exactly but I think it was somewhere shy of $10,000. Unfortunately I didn't keep those records. In fact, at the time of shooting these photos I didn't even have the faintest thought of what I would do with the photos -much less creating a blog someday. I don't remember but it wasn't very long after we stopped that both houses were totally gone - a testament to why it's almost always worth stopping to admire and/or photograph an old structure before it is gone. If you do a google map search on the address today you will see there is just an empty field.