Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Last of the Green Homes North Demolitions

Post and photos by The Hawthorne Hawkman.

After two recent posts on Green Homes North, my borderline obsessive-compulsiveness drove me to visit every single parcel on the program's eligible property list.  I wanted to see if there were other houses that could be saved, or if the questionable demos only popped up in or near the Jordan neighborhood.  Out of the remaining lots in the Camden, Folwell, McKinley, Victory, Cleveland, Lind-Bohanon, and Harrison neighborhoods, there were only two recent demolitions left.  Clearly it's possible that more houses were torn down in the first round of the program, but that's speculation at this point.

The bottom two photos are of 4238 Fremont Ave N, which appears to have been torn down within the last few weeks, given the fresh piles of dirt.  A Google street view search is not terribly revealing, as the trees on the property obscure the house almost entirely.  It was blue, that's about all I can say.  And since it was in the path of the tornado, I'll reserve judgment on whether this particular house was salvageable.  If anyone has information one way or another, please share.

The other property, shown in the top photo, is 3504 James Ave N.  Google shows us some detail on this one.

The knee-jerk preservationist in me wants to say this one shouldn't have been torn down.  All the same, it really doesn't look like much.  And I do have a friend who holds similar preservation views who lives on this block.  He didn't object to this demolition, so I'll defer to that opinion.

And that rounds out the Green Homes North potential and actual demolitions.  Several properties will hopefully be saved thanks to the work of northside housing activists and a major bump in publicity from the Nicole Curtis Facebook page - 2637 Emerson, 2046 James, 2114 Irving, and 2934 Queen Ave N, with the last one being in the most precarious position.  I would also argue that 1915 Penn Ave N should not be torn down until a developer comes along with a proposal that would require demolition.  But if a developer would want to rehab that one, it's a little late to do so when the house is a bundle of sticks in a landfill.

The next time a housing initiative gets rolled out for north Minneapolis, I'll be looking forward to a process that's more intentional about preservation first and demolition only when all other options have been fully exhausted.

1 comment:

  1. I used to be of the opinion that such little houses weren't a "big deal" to demo. They weren't architectural wonders after all. I felt that way up until one was saved and likely will become the home of someone of very modest means who never could have owned a home that was not much more than a little cottage. But will be very proud to be the owner of such a dwelling. We need to preserve the small "worker cottage" structures not for their architectural merit, but because these are affordable housing. They were built to be housing for those of modest means and lasted a hundred years or more because they served that function incredibly well.


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