Historic Park Avenue: A Daylong Adventure
of Architecture, Art & Anecdotes
Get ready to step back in time and experience the once-most-prestigious street in Minneapolis through two unique, back-to-back opportunities to learn about its lost and remaining homes, their famous architects, and the movers and shakers who commissioned them to be built. While both tours function independent of one another, attending both is highly recommended to get the full Park Avenue experience!
Part I: Age of Opulence Along the Golden Mile
18th Street to 28th Street
At the turn of the last century, Park Avenue between 18th and 28th Streets ranked as Minneapolis’s most prestigious residential boulevard, rivaling St. Paul's Summit Avenue. The “Golden Mile,” as it came to be known, was lined with 35 of the city’s largest, most opulent mansions—all designed by top architects for the city’s leading families. Beginning as early as the 1940s, government-sanctioned efforts in the name of “progress” had already begun to erode the fabric of the fashionable street, and by the end of the 1960s feverish urban renewal efforts had destroyed all but eight of its grand homes. Experience the surviving mansions up close—including one stunning, completely intact John Bradstreet-designed interior—and view photographs and hear stories about mansions that are now only a memory. After the tour, meet and mingle over a complimentary lunch in the elegant original Art Deco surroundings of the New York-style 2615 Park Avenue Apartments lobby.
This tour is ADA accessible except for the mansion interior.
Tour Length: 6 city blocks. Tour Guide: Ryan Knoke
Click here to register for Part I: Age of Opulence Along the Golden Mile.
(To register for Part II: Queen Annes, Classical Revivals & the Stories of Their People, click here.)
About Ryan Knoke
Ryan Knoke is an architectural historian who has been sharing his extensive knowledge of Park Avenue with the public since debuting his first walking tour in 2008, an effort for which he was awarded a Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Award through the American Institute of Architects in 2009. Since then, he has served as researcher and consultant on the successful historic designations of two of Park Avenue’s last remaining mansions. In 2013, a unique opportunity to buy a grand Clarence Johnston-designed house in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill drew Ryan and his partner, Montana Scheff, away from the Park Avenue home that they spent nearly 10 years restoring. From their new St. Paul base, Ryan continues to research, create, and lead other history tours, talks, and classes throughout the Twin Cities, including for the U of M, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Preservation Alliance of MN, and the Clarence H. Johnston Society, for which he and Montana currently serve as co-chairs.