Art and Colleges

Sunday, March 18, 2012

8.2 miles

Macalester-Groveland

When I go for a ride I usually pick a general direction or area of the city in which to go. I’ll review my master map of streets on which I’ve ridden so that I bike on as many new streets as possible. Often I’ll try to ride into the prevailing winds on my way out so that the breeze is to my back on the return voyage.  However, living on the southwest side of Saint Paul makes this difficult.  That’s why I biked north and east today even though the wind was out of the south-southwest at 20-plus miles per hour with higher gusts.

An area of Macalester-Groveland frequently called “Tangletown” caught my eye as I perused the map so I made it the first destination today.  It was at the corner of Cambridge, Amherst and Princeton where the inspiration for today’s themes, Art and Colleges, came.  Not only are the three streets that intersect here named after prestigious institutions of higher learning, one of the houses, 1714 Princeton, featured a couple of pieces of public art.

Across the street…or streets…is 161 Cambridge Avenue.

This unusual barn-shaped house grabbed my attention with its splendid porch, iron fence, matching barn/garage and large lot.  According to the Ramsey County Historical Society, the house was designed in 1890 by Cass Gilbert, the architect of the Minnesota State Capitol building, and James Knox Taylor. Gilbert designed the garage/barn several years later.

I don’t think of manhole covers as art either but this new version, installed as part of a street reconstruction project last year, includes the city logo.  Can you find all the symbols in the logo?

These three fellows are camped out in the front yard of a Cambridge Avenue home.

Lincoln Avenue runs into Macalester Street and the western part of Macalester College…though Grand Avenue is apparently more like the main entrance.

I crossed Snelling going east on Grand Avenue, leaving Macalester College and Tangletown behind.

Back to Highland Park as I neared the end of the day’s ride. Horace Mann Elementary School is one of many Saint Paul buildings that was designed by Clarence “Cap” Wigington, the first African-American architect in Minnesota.  Here the artistry is in the building itself.  I will have more on Cap Wigington’s accomplishments as I visit the numerous Saint Paul buildings of his creation.

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