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.


  1. AnonymousJune 19, 2012

    Must be the from the same era as the yellow brick farmhouses out here in Central MN, some of them still going strong. The windows are similar, with the arch at the top. 1880's or so? Phil/MN

  2. Lloyd LlewellynJuly 20, 2012

    I used to always notice those two forlorn buildings when driving by as well. You can tell that they were some of the earliest buildings in the area, judging by how low the windows were to the ground - maybe the early 1880's. It's a shame they weren't saved, but that whole area is a decimated industrial area that was cut off from the rest of the city when they put I94 through many years ago. Hopefully they salvaged any usable architectural material from the interiors.

    Driving along that stretch (on washington), you can see more random examples of homes and an old wood-frame building which used to be a meat equipment business. I think the building is for sale, but in poor condition. It would be a shame if that one were lost.

  3. Here's your information on 3210 (3212, really):

    Tax Information

    Survey Documents
    PID: 1002924240056
    3212 2nd St N
    Minneapolis, MN 55412
    Owner: Hennepin Forfeited Land
    1477- AO AUCTION 7/14/09
    Tax District
    School Dist: 001
    Sewer Dist:
    Watershed Dist: 6
    Parcel Area: 0.05 acres
    2,153 sq ft
    Torrens/Abstract: Abstract
    Addition: Bakers 4th Addn To Mpls
    Lot: 003
    Block: 047
    Metes & Bounds: S 20 Ft
    Tax Data (Payable 2012)
    Market Value: $0
    Total Tax: $0.00
    Property Type: Land Industrial-Preferred
    Homestead: Non-Homestead
    Year Built:
    Sale Code: Warranty Deed
    Sale Price: $7,000
    Sale Date: 03/2001

  4. In case it wasn't clear: The county owns the land.

  5. My mother inlaw was born on that block in a house like that in 1903 according to my wife

  6. Located across the street from the Hells Angels clubhouse circa 1970s-90s

  7. The yellow brick came from the brickyards north of Shingle Creek. It's a common brick all over the North Side


  8. My Polish parents were prisoners of war and immigrated to the US in the early 1950's They owned both of these homes and rented one home to Polish immigrants that needed a place to stay until they got on their feet. I grew up living in the bigger of the two homes with my parents and three brothers. We made many friends from the neighborhood and to this day have continued those friendships. It was an interesting neighborhood and we never forgot from where we came. It was a tough neighborhood and not friendly to those who could not speak the English language but we learned fast. My parents worked hard and because of them we never felt poor and learned what it meant to work hard. Both of my parents became successful and sold both homes in the mid 60's. We still talk about the old neighborhood to this day especially with our friends who grew up with us. I would like to think we are who we are because of our childhood. I printed pictures of these homes so I can show my children where we lived. Thank you for posting this and it was a friend from the old neighborhood who told me to check this out and prompted me to post a message.

    1. Thank you for writing this reply. It's been wonderful to hear the personal stories related to these places!

  9. These two houses are gone now. They were built by the railroad to house employees and their families. There were more along the tracks in the area.