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April 29, 2012

11.0 miles

As the title of today’s entry suggests, I visited pieces of several neighborhoods today near the western border of the city. The map of today’s ride at the end of this post has the details.

Doors. We see dozens of them a day, and likely more, but we don’t really notice.  Most doors are utilitarian-designed to keep the outside out and the inside in.  Occasionally however, one is unusual enough to register on the consciousness, like the front door at 2181 Princeton Avenue.

The unique door at 2181 Princeton.
The door in its natural habitat.

More people are turning expired tree trunks into art. I’ve seen several on rides in various parts of Saint Paul, and in the 2200 block of Princeton, I spied the first of two tree carvings in the area.

The intricacy of the patriotic carving comes through even in photos.
The eagle has landed.

On Otis Avenue a young woman in a Romantic-period gown appears to stand guard over the neighborhood.

The mature trees of the Town & Country Club are the first things you see upon entering Desnoyer Park on Otis Avenue from the south.  The Club borders Marshall Avenue from Cretin westward nearly to the river.  The T & C Club opened at its present location in 1890 and according to its website, three years later, hosted the first round of golf ever played in Minnesota. The Town & Country Club’s golf course isn’t just for golf-it stays busy on snowy winter weekends because the hilly terrain makes for some awesome sledding.

Golfers move to the next hole on the T & C course.
The T & C clubhouse as seen from Otis Avenue.

Just northwest on Otis Avenue, at 472 Otis, was the greatest concentration of hostas upon which I’ve ever laid my eyes.

Hosta mania!

Bright green, dark green, variegated white and green, and variegated yellow and green hostas precisely planted to create lush gardens in the front, side and back yards.

The side and back yards with hostas galore.

510 Frontenac Place (the corner of Frontenac and Eustis Street).  Lots of hostas here too but I thought of  a John Wayne western when I saw the house.

Ramsey County records indicate that 510 Frontenac was built in 1920. Could the barrier on the steps mean more tours today?
Desnoyer Park Rec Center

No confusion as to what part of the city I was in. Pelham Parkway and Doane Avenue on my way north.

The transition from Merriam Park into South Saint Anthony, a geographically isolated neighborhood with assorted home styles, apartments, businesses and parks, was immediate.

The South St. Anthony Recreation area includes a playground, basketball courts, fields and a rec center for indoor sports.
This distinctive house, 2376 Bayless Place, was built in 1890 and is in need of renovation. The brown wall on the right side of the image is is a sound barrier for Highway 280.

About a block into South St. Anthony, I came upon Jerry Sedgewick working on his lawn.

Jerry Sedgewick trimming the grass at his home at 965 Cromwell Avenue.

Jerry said he’s lived in the whimsically decorated house for 23 years. The interesting colors and distinctive shutters are a couple of the artistic touches on the house.
“My wife’s an artist….It’s really just my wife’s idea.  She really likes to have some color, some design; something more peculiar and original.”

Jerry Sedgewick and his wife have lived at 965 Cromwell Avenue for 23 years.
The birds and cats shutters.

Jerry told me the story about the sun room he built at the back of the house.  He and his brothers built a small mother-in-law house in about a week.  So he he thought… “I bet I could put an addition on the house in one month.

“Three years later I finally got it done. I thought it was going to be a standard room, right, and I get started and my wife says, ‘I want a cathedral ceiling.’  I said, ‘Wait!  I don’t know how to do a cathedral ceiling.’  Then there was the tile floor and in floor heating…and it went on and on!”

The conversation next turned to the people in the neighborhood.  “We know all the neighbors.  Once a month we have dinner at somebody’s house and we all go over.”  That’s what neighborhoods are all about. Plus I like the privacy of this neighborhood.  There’s only three ways in and people don’t know about it.”

I was told that there are several Saint Paul streets that have never been paved and today I experienced my first, with the innocuous name of Raymond Lane. As you can see, it looks like an alley and it is to several properties on Bayless Place and a few more on Raymond Avenue.

It’s an alley with a name. No, it’s a street that looks like an alley.

In addition to the garages, Raymond Lane has one home on it with the address of 903 Raymond Lane.

The only house on Raymond Lane.

My photography and riding back and forth on Raymond Lane brought Eric (who didn’t want give his last name or have his picture taken) out of his house to investigate.  Once satisfied that I wasn’t doing something I shouldn’t be, Eric spent a couple of minutes talking to me.  He matter-of-fact told me, “I pretty much keep to myself unless I see someone I don’t know.”

Eric’s home, 905 Raymond Avenue, is bordered by Raymond Lane to the west and south.

Neighbors may not know Eric well but they should be rather pleased to know he’s vigilant about goings-on in the area.

Continuing southeast on Raymond Avenue I paused at the old Baker School which is now an office building.

This was the front of Baker School when it was built in 1890.
Upon completion of a 1910 addition, the entrance to Baker School was moved to 821 Raymond Avenue.
Many architectural details remain from the days when Baker Court was a school. According to “Finance and Commerce” website, Baker School closed in the 1970s and was converted to an office building and renamed Baker Court in the 1980s.
I don’t have inkling as to what Triad Isotopes does but with that name, it must be cool. 2200 University Avenue West, suite 170.

And so concludes my ride this day.

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