A slice of Wedge history

Highlights from neighborhood historian Kathy Kullberg

Neighborhood historian Kathy Kullberg. Photo by Dylan Thomas

Neighborhood historian Kathy Kullberg has a story for just about every house on every block of the Wedge — and a few garages, too.

That’s an exaggeration, but just a slight one. Kullberg has an obvious passion for the neighborhood where she’s lived since the late 1980s, and she knows its history better than just about anyone.

We recently asked Kullberg to point out some historic highlights and came away with literally dozens of suggestions. Just a few appear here, but if you’re interested in learning more consider signing up for her Brew Houses of Lowry Hill East Walking Tour, a 90-minute tour of the former residences of Minneapolis’ 19th-century brewing families. (The tour is 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. July 16. It costs $9, and registration is available through eventbrite.com.)

Mueller Park

Photos by Dylan Thomas

One of the homes razed in the 1970s to clear a space for Mueller Park was 909 Hazel St., home to the Hart family between 1911 and 1934. Minnesota author Maud Hart Lovelace, one of three daughters, is remembered today for her Betsy-Tacy series based on her childhood in Mankato (Deep Valley in the books).

When Maud moved to Minneapolis so did her fictional alter-ego Betsy — for “Betsy’s Wedding,” the final book in the series. A stone and plaque in the northeast corner of the park mark the site of 909 Hazel St.

 

Gluek House, 2447 Bryant Ave.

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Kitty-corner from Mueller Park is the John G. Gluek House, constructed in 1902 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1990.

John Gluek was the son of Gottlieb Gluek, the German immigrant who founded Gluek Brewing Company in 1857 on the banks of the Mississippi River (just a block or so from today’s Marshall Avenue location of Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge.) Like many second-generation brewers, the younger Gluek crossed the river and built a home in what was by then an emerging “streetcar suburb” south of downtown.

The house was designed by architect William M. Kenyon in a transitional style that mixes elements of Queen Anne and Georgian Revival. Unfortunately, John Gluek didn’t have long to enjoy the home before dying with his wife in an automobile crash in 1908.

 

Lowry Hill East Residential Historic District

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The Gluek House is part of the Lowry Hill East Residential Historic district, a collection of well-preserved homes clustered just north of Mueller Park — mainly on the 2400 blocks of Aldrich, Bryant and Colfax avenues.

Development of the Wedge neighborhood began in earnest when a horse-drawn streetcar reached the area in 1882. The homes, built for middle- and upper-class Minneapolitans, exemplify turn-of-the-century architectural styles, including Colonial Revival and Queen Anne.

Columned front porches and whimsical architectural details are two of the defining features of these two and two-and-a-half story homes.

 

R.P. Russell House and claim shanty, 819 W. 26th St.

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It may not look like much today, but the garage behind 819 W. 26th St. may be one of the oldest structures still standing in Minneapolis.

Roswell P. Russell built the shanty to stake a claim on land east of Lake Calhoun in 1852 — six years before Minnesota became a state. A frame house followed several years later and both were moved to the far side of Russell’s property in the 1870s.

The shanty was at some point converted into a garage, but Kullberg and others who’ve been inside say scraps of wallpaper, the plaster ceiling and wood trim survive. The garage is just six years younger than the city’s oldest structure, the 1848 Ard Godfrey House.

 

“The Replacements house,” 2215 Bryant Ave. S.

ReplacementsHouseWeb

This bit of Wedge history dates from the 1980s, when Uptown’s gritty cool inspired a burgeoning local music scene.

In 1980, Anita Stinson, a waitress at the Uptown Bar, moved into 2215 Bryant Ave. S. with her sons Bob and Tommy, who were just about to form The Replacements with Chris Mars and Paul Westerberg. A few years later, the whole gang climbed out onto the roof above the porch of the Stinson family home and posed for the photo now immortalized on the cover of 1984’s “Let It Be.”

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