Category Archives: History

May 6, 2016 eNews

ANA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 17 starting at 6:30pm
Armatage Community Center

Join us for a bike-focused annual meeting!

  • Linea Palmisano (Ward 13 Update)
  • Bike Fixation — bike services stations located around the City
  • Perennial Cycle (formerly Calhoun Cycle) — how to carry things on your bike (from a purse to bags of groceries)
  • Midtown Greenway — Greenway Glow event on June 18
  • Minneapolis Bike Coalition – protected bikeways
  • Biking maps, resources and more will be available for attendees.
  • Paul Thissen (tentative)
  • And more…

We need to do some business — that of electing members to the board, and addressing any issues that may require the board’s attention.

We hope you can join us for this informative and fun night!



Armatage + Kenny Neighborhood Garage Sales

In cooperation with Kenny Neighborhood, the ANA promotes a neighborhood wide garage sale event the Saturday of Memorial weekend. Residents interested in being listed on an area map, listing all the sales, can submit a form and small fee to their neighborhood.

Go to our website to download the 2016 Neighborhood Garage Sale Form.


Local Historian?

As we celebrate 25 years of our neighborhood association, we’d like to highlight not just the history of the association and its impact on the neighborhood, but the history of the Armatage neighborhood. We’d love your help! Share stories, photos, etc. with our coordinator, or contact us if you’d be willing to do some research!



Website Updates

Now that our site is back up and running, we have been adding more resources and information that we hope residents find useful. If you have suggestions for website improvements, please let us know!


New Resource: Thumbtack

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Southwest Minneapolis Neighborhood Survey: Armatage Responds

by Madelyn Sundberg

This summer a survey was circulated through the Southwest Minneapolis community asking about the qualities and places that defined each of the nine neighborhoods included in the study. Over four-hundred residents participated, including sixteen members of the Armatage community, who I would like to take this opportunity to thank for donating their time to my study. The results of the survey will be used in my thesis, on the role of community involvement in the field of heritage preservation, as well as shared with the neighborhood associations.

Of the sixteen Armatage participants, fourteen percent were racial or ethnic minorities. The residents ranged in age from twenty-nine to esixty-three and on average had lived in the neighborhood for fifteen years. The general consensus was that the way the neighborhood feels is more important than the way it looks, which was a viewpoint shared by residents throughout Southwest Minneapolis. Additionally, participants indicated that people, parks, homes, and restaurants are the most important elements in the creation of neighborhood character. Residents were asked to describe the character of Armatage neighborhood in three words, leading to a list of thirty-one different words (shown in the word cloud graphic) with the four most frequently utilized words being friendly, active, quiet, and family. When asked what they would change about Armatage neighborhood if they could change one thing, respondents came up with a list of ten different changes they would make. The most frequent answers were restricting residential new development to better maintain the historic appearance of the neighborhood (19%) and decreasing the amount of airplane noise (19%).

Participants were given the opportunity to choose three places in the neighborhood that they would preserve for future generations of Armatage residents, which led to the identification of fifteen places important to maintaining the character of the neighborhood (shown in the map graphic). Fifty-one percent of the places people felt were important to the neighborhood were built structures. Armatage Park was mentioned by fifty percent of participants making it the most frequently discussed location, Armatage school was listed by thirty-eight percent, and Minnehaha Creek by twenty-five percent. Twenty-five percent of participants indicated that small commercial hubs were important architectural sites within the neighborhood, specifically nodes along Penn and Xerxes Avenues. Twenty-five words were used by Armatage residents to describe the term heritage, with the most common being history, culture, and tradition.

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to participate. If you have any questions about the study please contact me at sundb173@umn.edu.

armatage survey map places
Map of places residents would save for future generations of Armatage neighbors
(the gradient from blue to red indicates the number of people who selected a site)

armatage word cloud
Words used to describe Armatage neighborhood

Minneapolis Streets from A to Z (or Aldrich to Zenith)

City Streets Have a History of Their Own

Aldrich Avenue was named for Thomas B. Aldrich (1836-1907).  Aldrich was a poet and editor of the Atlantic Monthly magazine in the late 1800’s. Aldrich hailed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The street is also named for Cyrus Aldrich (1808-1871), who came to Minnesota in 1855.  he was involved in real estate and politics and served as the Postmaster of Minneapolis from 1867-1871.

Bryant Avenue was named for William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), an early American poet and editor.

Colfax Avenue was named for Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885).  He was vice president of the United States under Ulysses S. Grant.

Dupont Avenue was named for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Dupont (1803-1886), a naval commander in the Mexican and Civil wars.

Emerson Avenue was named for Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), poet and transcendentalist. Fremont Avenue was named for John C.

Fremont (1813-1890), officer in the Union Army and later explorer of the American West.

Girard Avenue was named for Stephen Girard (1750-1831), who was a merchant, philanthropist and founder of Girard College in Philadelphia.

Humboldt Avenue was named for Friedrich Alexander Humboldt (1769-1859), a German scientist and naturalist who traveled through Mexico, Cuba and South America in 1799.

Irving Avenue was named for writer Washington Irving (1783-1859), creator of Ichabod Crane (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and Rip Van Winkle.  A resident of New York City, he was appointed to the post of U.S. Minister to Madrid, Spain, in 1842.

James Avenue was named for George P. R. James (1801-1860), and English novelist and writer.

Knox Avenue was named for General Henry Knox (1756-1806), an artillery commander in the Revolutionary War and later the U.S. Secretary of War (now Defense) from 1785-1795).  Fort Knox in Kentucky is also named after him.

Logan Avenue was named for John A. Logan (1826-1886), a Civil War General from Jackson County, Ill. He served with William Tecumseh Sherman on his March to the Sea.  Logan also served in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate.  At one point he was a Republican vice presidential candidate.

Morgan Avenue was named for Colonel George N. Morgan (1825-1866).  He enlisted in the 1st Minnesota Regiment in 1856 and later became a brigadier general.

Newton Avenue was named for Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), a British philosopher and mathematician who wrote the theory of universal gravitation.

Oliver Avenue was named for Deacon A.M. Oliver of the Presbyterian Church in Missouri.  His widow was a generous donor to the (former) Oliver Presbyterian Church in south Minneapolis and to Macalester College.

Penn Avenue was named for William Penn (1642-1727), founder of Pennsylvania.

Queen Avenue:  The name has no specific historical significance; it’s just a word that starts with the letter Q.

Russell Avenue was named for Roswell P. Russell (1820-1896), who came to Fort Snelling in 1839 and who opened the first store in the old city of St. Anthony in 1847.  He was the receiver of the U.S. Land Office from 1854-1857.

Sheridan Avenue was named for General Phillip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888).  Sheridan was a Civil War hero from Albany, N.Y. He helped end the Civil War by cutting off Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s retreat from the battle of Appomattox.  In 1884 her became the commander of the U.S. Army.

Thomas Avenue was named for George H. Thomas (1816-1870), a Union general during the Civil War.

Upton Avenue was named for General Emory Upton (1839-1881).  He was a Civil War general for the Union Army and later the commandant of cadets at West Point from 1870-1875.

Vincent Avenue was named for Thomas M. Vincent (1832-1909).  He graduated from West Point in 1853 and was the assistant adjutant general of the United States through the Civil War.

Washburn Avenue was named for Cadwallader C. Washburn (1818-1882) and/or his brother William D. Washburn.  Both were founders of the Washburn Crosby Company (later General Mills).  C.C. Washburn was governor of Wisconsin from 1872-1873 and built the might Washburn “A” mills in 1874 and 1878.  W.D. Washburn was a senator from Minnesota.  Both men had tremendous influence of the early political and economic life of the City of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota.

Xerxes is a Persian king, chosen to fill an alphabetical place.

York is a county in England, chosen to fill an alphabetical place.

Zenith is the highest point, chosen to fill an alphabetical place.

2014 Highlights

March

While the ANA Board agreed with the spirit and goals of the Moratorium, the Board unanimously did not support the Moratorium. Eventually, new policies for builders were developed by the City Council.

April

A violent crime was committed against one of our neighbors. This type of violent crime is unusual in our neighborhood and residents attended our meeting looking for help and answers. The meeting was attended by residents, journalists, news crews and cameras, and the victim. Also in attendance were the prosecuting attorney, a victim’s advocate and Inspector Todd Loining. The ANA responded by asking for residents to fill out a Victim Impact Statements, hosting a Personal Safety Seminar and refocusing efforts on neighborhood safety.

May

A new month for our Annual Meeting, was held for the first time off site at Wagner’s Greenhouse. The focus was bees, and we heard from great speakers and gave away great honey prizes donated from the Minnesota Honey Company. In partnership with Kenny Neighborhood Association, we saw another great year of participation in our annual garage sale weekend.

June

Residents enjoyed a beautiful evening watching Despicable Me 2 under the stars at the park. The ANA provided the lemonade and popcorn for the movie.

August

The Annual Summer Festival! This event gets bigger and better every year. We introduced a food truck, craft event and were able to offer residents the convenience of accepting credit cards. We also brought back the favorites: the games, bounce house, the magician, the massages, the hot dog meals and the silent auction.

The ANA is looking forward to a successful 2015. We will continue to focus on neighborhood safety. We will be mailing out more newsletters in addition to our electronic newsletters. We will continue to host great events like the garage sales and Summer Festival. We are always available the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 to update residents and listen to any questions and concerns.

History: Maude Armatage, Pioneering Park Board Commissioner

From the SW Patch on March 28, 2011

A short biography of Maude Armatage, a forward thinking woman who impacted the way our parks and recreation centers look today.

By Alison Nowak

While many are familiar with Armatage neighborhood, school and park, few know about the pioneering woman who is their namesake.

Maude Armatage’s grandparents, the civic-minded Dunsmoors, lived in the village of Harmony located in what is present day Southwest Minneapolis. Her grandfather was Justice of the Peace and Postmaster, and her grandmother ran the first circulating lending library out of her sitting room. In her biography, Armatage credited her sense of civilized leisure and civic obligation to her elders.

Maude Armatage, her husband and eight other couples were among the first to settle near Fremont Avenue in 1893. In a letter Armatage wrote to the Minneapolis Star, she told them that the small colony of houses near Lake Harriet “preceded gas, electricity, telephones, even streetcars and automobiles.”

At the time, Lake Harriet was considered a suburb of Minneapolis and was largely surrounded by pastureland and forests. Milk was not yet delivered to the area so the couples shared responsibility for three dairy cows.

In these early years, Armatage worked as a women’s liberationist, fighting for suffrage. “Those were tricky times…Mainly I tried to reason,” she told the Minneapolis Tribune. “At that time reason was considered solely a male attribute.”

After women were granted the right to vote, Armatage received a phone call from Mrs. Chas Fowler asking her to run for office. According to Armatage, Fowler said that she had been selected by a group of “civicminded and interested women” as their candidate for the Board of Park Commisioners.

Armatage wrote to the Minneapolis Star that she was inspired to run by the spirit of her pioneering grandmothers. Her decision to run made her one of the first women to run for public office in Minnesota and the first woman to serve on the Minneapolis Park Board.

Twice during her career as Park Board Commisioner Armatage was injured during her election campaign but managed to persevere in running for office. In one instance, Armatage was injured when a bus she was riding overturned.

In 1933, she had an icy fall that crushed several of her vertebrae. Because she was unable to leave her bed, the superintendent of parks, Theodore Wirth delivered the necessary paperwork to her so she could run.

She led a movement for joint school-park projects, pushing for more playgrounds and recreational programs for young people. Her devotion for the city’s children was evident and she often fought to keep programming from being cut.

Armatage studied Detroit’s collaboration between the Departments of Recreation and Education and worked to create more cooperation between the departments in Minneapolis. It was likely her work that helped create Armatage and Kenny schools, which were designed to serve joint purposes as schools and community centers.

Safety was another primary concern for Armatage. She advocated for better-policed parks and boulevards and pushed to add better lighting to increase the safety of the park system.

Armatage retired from her post as commissioner in 1950 at the age of 78, but her legacy of 28 years on the Park Board is shown in the parks, schools, playgrounds and community centers that she established and improved through her work on the park board.

The website for Café Maude, the neighborhood restaurant that also honors Maude Armatage explains that she was chosen to honor because of her “spirit of civilized leisure and civic responsibility.”