June 10, 2012
With the temperature climbing to 94 degrees and a subtropical dew point nearing 70, I should have ridden directly to one of Saint Paul’s public pools or a park with a swimming beach. Maybe the heat affected my judgment because the closest I got to water was the bottle I carry with me.
I’ve probably mentioned before I don’t choose a theme for a ride ahead of time and many times there isn’t a theme. Occasionally, however, a subject gradually comes into focus much like your eyes upon waking up unexpectedly. In this case, it wasn’t until I sat down to carefully review the photos of the ride that I noticed that nearly every picture was related to cars.
First stop, Howell and Ashland in Merriam Park where my eyes landed on two classics.
Just a few blocks north of the cars, on Howell and Laurel, is this garage.
The fresh paint on this garage is where any similarity between it and the previous one begin and end.
Stepping away from cars for a moment, I present the HealthEast Midway Outpatient Center at 1700 University Avenue.
The one-time Midway Hospital is now home to HealthEast corporate offices, pain care and spine care centers and other outpatient services.
Undoubtedly the most interesting part of the Outpatient Center is the Mounds-Midway School of Nursing Museum. There you’ll find displays of antique surgical instruments, exhibits, documents and photos from the nearly 80 years the school trained nurses.
The school opened in the early 1900s in the Mounds Park Hospital and the first class of nurses, two in number, graduated in 1909. I have been unable to determine conclusively whether or not the Mounds-Midway School of Nursing was ever located in the old Midway Hospital, but at least two dormitories for nursing students were located on the property. Take a look at http://www.healtheast.org/about-healtheast/healtheast-care-system/mounds-midway/history.html for a more complete history of the Mounds-Midway School of Nursing.
If you’ve ever driven on Snelling Avenue through Saint Paul’s Midway area, no doubt you’ve seen the Midway Motel.
The word “motel,” a contraction of the words motor and hotel, was devised in the 1920s. The L-shape style of the Midway Motel was popularized in the 50s and 60s. The Midway is one of two old-style motels I’ve biked passed on my journeys.
This interesting street artwork is one example of “The Art of Traffic Calming.”
About 30 intersections in Saint Paul were painted through Public Art Saint Paul and resident artist Steven Woodward.
According to the Public Art Saint Paul website (http://publicartstpaul.org/air_tatc.html), it is hoped the street art will,“…convey wonder and joy, their strong graphic presence and the surprise of encountering them will, all hope, slow folks down.”
A different form of street art that I encountered was this manhole cover on Summit Avenue and Macalester Street.
Since The Twin Cities Marathon route hits this part of Summit, I’m not going out very far on a limb by guessing that the male and female figures on the manhole covers represent the Marathon. A closer look at the cover yields that it is also decorated with small handprints. You’ll also notice the URL handinhistory.com on the manhole cover. The website indicates the City of Saint Paul and the department of public works sponsor the “Hand In History” outreach program. This is one of at least four custom-designed manhole covers that represent different aspects of Saint Paul. See www.handinhistory.com for a much better explanation of the program
Lastly, a block of Randolph Avenue, from Wheeler to Davern, was closed for the St. Paul Academy graduation. Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch tying this into the “cars” theme but doctors say that it’s healthy to stretch.