2011 Blooming St. Paul Award Nominations Open | 6.11

The Blooming Saint Paul Awards program is a partnership between Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, the Saint Paul Garden Club and the Master Gardeners of Ramsey County and is sponsored by the Pioneer Press.

Nomination forms are available at
Nominate a garden in the following categories: Residential, Business/Institutional, Environmental, Art in the Garden, Volunteer Garden on Public Property, Vegetable Garden and Gardening Advocate. Nomination deadline is July 9, 2011. Judging will take place the week of July 24.

For further information contact Mark Granlund, 651-632-2454.

Whole Wide World @ West 7th Public Library | 6.11

By Lisa Hage, Librarian
Hello from the birthday library! This is the one-year anniversary of the Grand Reopening of the West Seventh Library. It seems like only yesterday community volunteers and library staff were wandering about our new space, trying to visualize what went where. Everything came together wonderfully, from the children’s book bins to the floor rocking chairs for the teens, the new adult book shelves, and best of all — the frosting on our neighborhood cake-of-a-library — the 15 internet stations available! Thank you community patrons who made the West Seventh Library the shining star of the St. Paul Public Library system, with vastly increased item checkouts, guest visits.

Children and teens can sign up for the Summer Reading Program, BOOK-A-WOCKY. Popular books are the “39 Clues” series, “Vampire Academy” series, graphic novels and New York Times best-sellers.

The West Seventh Library and all the other SPPL branches have DVDs, Museum Adventure Passes and CDs. Drop in at your library and sign up — it’s a wonderful way for families to spend time together, reading and attending the fun programs. And remember, it’s all free!

West 7th Library Hours
Monday 12:30-8pm. Tuesday 11:30am-5:30pm. Wednesday 10am-5:30pm. Thursday 12:30-8pm. Friday 10am-5:30pm. Closed weekends, holidays. Info: 651-298-5516.

Spring Cleanup in the West End
Don Yager and Rick Groger work on the spring cleanup sponsored by Friends of Upper Landing Park, which is also to be featured in the 2011 West End Neighbors Garden Tour with one of their rain gardens.

Photo credit: Jerry Rothstein

Neighborhood Historic Resources Survey | 6.11

by Tom Brock

A group of area residents gathered May 4 at the Mississippi Market to help provide examples of historically significant places, people and stories as a part of a Historic Resources Survey of the portion of West Seventh Street known as Uppertown.

The project is a partnership of Historic Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Preservation Commission, and the Ramsey County Historical Society, which serves as the project steering committee. Funding is provided by the State of Minnesota through the Minnesota Historical Society, the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the City of Saint Paul.

The survey area encompasses a portion of West Seventh Street bounded by 35E to the North, Duke Street to the west, runs along the river bluffs to the south up to Walnut Street, Forbes, Smith and Grand Avenues to the east. The boundaries were determined based on previous surveys conducted in the area as well as parts of the neighborhood identified by the City’s Invest Saint Paul program. The project organizers are also conducting similar surveys for the Frogtown and Payne-Phalen neighborhoods in St. Paul.

The goal is to identify and evaluate historically significant houses and commercial buildings that warrant possible local and national designation as historic sites. The survey will also help to identify preservation opportunities that can influence planning within the designated area, and to use the survey results as a resource that documents historic homes and properties. The meeting with local historians and concerned citizens was intended to provide context to the survey. The steering committee sought input on key cultural and historic themes in the area, centered on the people, places and stories that define the neighborhood’s past.

Several topics were discussed that have impacted the history and culture of the neighborhood, including the influence of churches and schools in the community, both culturally and historically, throughout the life of the neighborhood; the role of community institutions such as Ancker Hospital, the Schmidt Brewery, and the Wilder Foundation, and the role that ethnic social clubs played in the lives of the people who lived in the neighborhood.

The role of the neighborhood’s proximity to the Mississippi River was also a common theme. One example cited was that land speculation in the 1850s resulted in the shift of the development from the river bluffs to center on what is now West Seventh Street. Another occurrence that shaped the neighborhood was the fact several houses used to occupy the river flats along Sheppard Road were moved to new locations in Uppertown.

More recent events were talked about that have had an adverse impact on the survey area. A tragic auto accident in the early 1960s involving teenagers from Monroe High School (on West Seventh Street at the railroad tracks west of St Clair), resulted in the construction of the overpass that now spans the tracks, greatly altering the landscape of the neighborhood. The construction of 35E in the 1980s was also mentioned as an element that has greatly affected the texture of the area.

The survey project will conclude in June and a report of the findings is expected thereafter. The information gathered will be used as a basis for additional research on sites that qualify for potential historic designation, and made available to community organizations for incorporation for future planning and redevelopment. For more information, visit

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Friends of the Mississippi River Crosby Park Action
Recently the FMR’s River Gorge Stewards program won the Sustainable St. Paul Natural Resources Restoration award. In large part this was due to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers at this river gorge restoration site in Crosby Farm Regional Park.

On June 11, volunteers are needed to tend Crosby Park’s demonstration interpretive native prairie. Under the care and guidance of FMR and St. Paul Parks and Recreation staff, volunteers will remove invasive species from the prairie and replace some native plants that didn’t survive. Children accompanied by an adult are welcome.

To ensure a high-quality experience, capacity is limited and pre-registration required. To sign up, simply contact Volunteer Coordinator Sue Rich at or call 651-222-2193 ext 14.

Hike It! Program Kicking Off 2011 Season | 6.11

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation’s free program of guided educational hikes at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Lilydale Regional Park began in May. Led by a volunteer interpreter, participants learn about the natural and cultural history of the parks. Each hike lasts one hour and has a maximum of 20 participants (all welcome — register:
Hikes occur simultaneously at each site. Registration is limited to one hike per day. Dates include 6pm hikes: June 8, July 13, August 10: 6pm; 9:30am hikes: June 18, July 23, August 20, Sept 24, October 22.

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary is a sacred site to the Dakota people and a beautiful urban oasis where visitors can enjoy nature and contemplate history. Once owned and used by BNSF Railways as a rail yard, it has been restored to a more natural state featuring wetlands, prairies, and oak savannah.

Lilydale Regional Park was once a bustling town along the Mississippi River. Nature has reclaimed this beautiful park that boasts woodlands, floodplain forests and prairies, and a fascinating natural history.

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