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The Sunnyside Addition: Minneapolis’ First Streetcar Suburb Walking Tour

  • Mueller Park 2509 Colfax Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55405 United States (map)

In the early 1890’s, the area bounded by Franklin Avenue on the north, 24th Street on the south, Hennepin Avenue on the west, and Lyndale Avenue on the east was farmland. The neighborhood extended further north creating a “wedge” as Lyndale and Hennepin crossed in the area that became known as the “bottleneck.” The entire neighborhood extending south to Lake Street became commonly known as the Wedge in the 1960’s.

William Walton, an Englishman, held auctions for lots in the Sunnyside Addition, designed to be a streetcar suburb of large, upper middle-class houses. In the building boom of 1892, T. P. Healy and P. C. Richardson each built six houses there. Five of Healy’s remain. Richardson’s “Six Sisters” are in a row on the east side of Bryant Avenue north of West 22nd Street. The area attracted premier master builders, Henry Parsons and Henry Ingham, and architects Harry Jones, Clarence Johnston, Orff Brothers, Edgar Joralemon, William Kenyon, Long & Kees, Septimus Bowler, F. A. Clarke. The area was part of Minneapolis’ southside Jewish district. Samuel Jacobs, one of the founders of Shaarai Tov Temple (later, Temple Israel), purchased the house at 2310 Colfax, built by T. P. Healy. 

The area was also home to important institutions. In 1902, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was moved from Twelfth & Hennepin to the corner of Bryant Avenue & Franklin. St. Paul’s later moved to its present location on Lake of the Isles. The Blake Junior Academy was built in 1915 on the corner of Colfax and 22nd Street.

In the 1920’s, apartment buildings replaced some of the homes, particularly on the transit corridors served by the streetcars. Until 1948, little changed in the Sunnyside Addition. In 1963, the City of Minneapolis upzoned the area, and demolition began. Nearly fifty houses were wrecked for the construction of two and a half story walk-up apartments. The neighborhood organized the first neighborhood newspaper in Minneapolis, The Wedge, and an organization, Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) to fight the demolitions. The demolitions stopped in 1975.

One neighborhood landmark from the 1980’s is the “Let It Be” house, 2215 Bryant Avenue South, made famous by the album cover for the Replacements album. The Sunnyside Addition is again faced with the conflict between real estate developers and the neighborhood residents. The Orth House, 2320, and 2314-16 Colfax Avenue, were wrecked in February 2015 after a contentious three-year political and legal struggle. The latest battleground is over 2008 Bryant Avenue South that developers want to demolish for a four-story, ten-unit apartment building shoe-horned onto a fifty-foot lot. Six other houses in the Wedge have been demolished in the last couple of years.

Visit the Sunnyside Addition with us. View historical photos, see what is here, and understand why we fight for the preservation of the historic architecture of Minneapolis’ first and best streetcar suburb.

The tour will walk about one mile and is not ADA accessible.

The tour guides are Anders Christensen, Ezra Gray & Sean Ryan.

Click here to register for this tour.

Later Event: June 29
Nicollet Mall Walking Tour