Macalester-Groveland, Merriam Park, South Como
The warm October continued for another day, which gave me another chance to ride. Like yesterday, Halloween ornamentation and leaves were plentiful.
On my bike rides I often see an object I otherwise wouldn’t lay eyes on. Many times it’s the unusual, but occasionally, it’s objects so commonplace most of us go about our lives never noticing them, though they’re in plain sight. An example, which regular readers of this blog know, is my atypical interest in manhole covers. This ride I spent an unusual amount of time scrutinizing fire hydrants, the result of the stop at and research of the former Waterous Company building on my October 24th journey. Never before did I know fire hydrants came in so many sizes, shapes and colors.
I did see more than fire hydrants on the ride.
I didn’t know whether the different color schemes on the fire hydrants have a particular meaning so I called the Saint Paul Regional Water Services. Turns out, the color of the hydrant lets firefighters know the size of the water main feeding it. A Water Utility engineer told me the diameter of the mains range from one inch for old pipes to 42 inches for what is called a feeder main. Feeder mains, as the name suggests, move a great volume of water from one end of the city to the other. Those hydrants, painted red and white, are rare; I’ve not seen one.
The red with yellow hydrants are located in residential neighborhoods and are fed by six inch mains.
The all-red hydrants, also found among residences, are the new standard with greater capacity eight inch mains. And the red and green fire hydrants are fed by mains 12 to 36 inches in diameter. Those hydrants have greater pressure and capacity and are often used in areas with larger buildings, warehouses and factories.
Other fun facts about Saint Paul’s fire hydrants:
- The first hydrants were installed on Lafayette Road and Grove Street in downtown
- Today there are nearly 10,000 hydrants in the City
- Every one is inspected at least once a year.
- Any hydrant not properly accessible, that doesn’t provide the proper flow rate or that leaks is repaired or replaced.(1)
- The Saint Paul Regional Water Utility attempts to keep its hydrants in service for about 100 years! (2)
- A hydrant is knocked over nearly every day in the Capitol City.
True to the sign in her yard, Ginny diligently vacuumed up leaves from along the curbs in front of her house. The idea, said Ginny, is to reduce the algae growth in Como Lake by keeping plant matter out of the storm sewers. “I volunteered to do it because I walk around Como and so I see the result of what’s going on. Before I knew the problem I used to try to keep the leaves off the gutter anyway just because they eventually blow down to someone else’s yard or they blow into mine.”
A similar sign Ginny’s seen around the neighborhood encourages neighbors to adopt a storm drain. Again, the goal is to improve Como Lake’s water quality.
991 North Oxford Street stands out from neighboring homes because of its uncommon stone construction and second story tablet between the two front windows. Research yielded little information about the home’s history. One early occupant, Joe Graus, is listed as a “washer” in the 1914 Polk City Directory
The exterior is uncommonly all stone, from the foundation to the roof, with the exception of the front porch. Curiously, the “J” on the “cornerstone” has been changed for some reason. It appears as if at one time it was a backward “J” that was corrected.
This link will take you to the map of the October 25, 2014 ride. Garmin Connect.
It came as no surprise that this ride was my last of 2014. For my blogging purposes, any ride after mid-October is a bonus, meaning I sneaked in two bonus rides in ’14! Of course I do not enjoy my winter biking hiatus-riding in place in the basement is decent exercise but exceedingly dull. Looking at it positively, I could be back biking streets of Saint Paul in five months, and the winter allows me to catch up on my blog posts.
Great eye for detail!
Thanks very much for reading and commenting, kirkistan! Feel free to offer suggestions of things to see or people to meet.
Always fun to see all the details.
Don, great to hear from you. I see you’ve got another book out. I’m looking forward to reading “Crossing the St. Croix: The 45-year Struggle to Build a New Stillwater Bridge and Save the Historic Lift Bridge.”