Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The year was 1948

The year was 1948. We're at the intersection of Hudson Road and Earl Street on the East Side of St. Paul, Minnesota. One block behind the photographer, who is facing south, is the apartment where my parents and I lived during World War II. In 1946 we had moved upstairs into my grandparents house,  which lay about 7 blocks straight
 south on the bluff high above the Mississippi River. The Hudson Road proceeded east less than a quarter mile where it reached the edge of the city, then  turning into U.S. Highway #12 as it went on to, naturally, Hudson, Wisc.  To the right in the photo was a Rexall Drugstore and Johson Bros. grocery. In the mid fifties that grocery store was rebuilt a little further east as a "supermarket" and provided me my first job when I was in high school.  
I'm not sure what this building was on the southeast corner of the intersection.  I do remember though riding the streetcar line into downtown St. Paul.  After several years living with my grandparents we move to a brand new house on Point Douglas Road about 5 block east of this intersection.  At a rather young age I was allowed to take the streetcar downtown to the big public library. You can see it coming down the track heading onto the turn west on Hudson  At the downtown library  I would meet my Aunt Pearl who worked at the First National Bank and  always took me to Bridgemans for a malt before we headed headed home to the Daytons Bluff on the streetcar. I forgot to mention that around the corner from the drugstore lay two of my favorite places, Bastas bakery where I became addicted to Bismarks and donuts and the Mound theater where Saturday matinees for a dime were a big attraction.
And then it all changed. Everything.  Hudson Road became  four lane divided highway U.S. #12 cutting through the east side.  Eventually it became part of the Eisenhower Interstate highway system.  Half of the cozy little neighbor commecial area was demolished.  It's on the left with the movie theater in the foreground as you face east towards Chicago and points beyond. Our new house was over that first dip in the distance.
Here is a much more recent view of the same intersection.  I hardly recognize the city and neighborhood I grew up in anymore.  The road, now freeway,  still heads east from this point thru mile after mile of suburbs and over 3 million plus people who now live in the metropolitan Twin City area.  We've lived for almost 50 years one hundred miles to the south in rural Minnesota where Mrs T and I taught school and raised a family. We both grew up in St. Paul and have fond memories of those days long ago before the freeways made suburbia possible and changed everything.....

 

21 comments:

  1. This has been repeated all over the world, TB, since when you think about it, world population during our lifetime has increased by more than three times. I was struck by the emptiness in the first pictures compared to today's.

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  2. Some things should never change! Progress isn't always so pleasant.

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  3. Time hurries on.
    And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
    And they wither with the wind,
    And they crumble in your hand.
    (Simon and Garfunkle)

    No wonder I live in the past so much; my hometown has changed equally, TB. The memories seem more real than the present.

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  4. such sweet memories! loved you meeting your aunt and she'd treat you for a malt. :)

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  5. Comparing the first and last photographs tells it all. Great post.

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  6. All in the name of progress and something "better". Only it turns out suburban sprawl was not better after all and is costing us dearly because we all depend on our cars to get everywhere now. Here in my county we are fighting a new freeway route that will cut through and destroy some extremely important and irreplacable habitat for migratory birds. The new freeway is supposed to serve expanding suburban needs through 2040. I feel not enough is being done to create more centralized housing and better and more affordable public transportation.

    Your photos are absolutely charming.

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  7. I love more of a small town charm, which is why we moved here over thirty years ago. Now, every time I drive down the road, in what used to be my small town, I see more and more changes. It looks nothing like it did when we moved here. I can relate to you saying you hardly recognize the city and neighborhood you grew up in, that's the way it is here, too.

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  8. You give a great description of life 60 or 70 years ago and a good lament for it's passing. there's something very special about the neighborhood one grows up in.

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  9. I wouldn't say that progress has always been a good thing. Striking difference in the early/later pics.

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  10. Nice old photos! What's interesting is that there are hardly any cars in any of the photos. Boy, those days are long gone!

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  11. Progress is not always a good thing. I think you notice it more in the city. You grew up in a safe time for kids to spread their wings..riding a Streetcar by yourself..not something that would happen today. What a marvelous look into an innocent age:)

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  12. I too noticed the lack of cars and how great to be able to ride a street car at a young age.
    I remember those dime movies. Lots of westerns and serials.
    I was lucky recently when I returned to a tiny rural town I spent a lot of time in during my teens. It had not changed one iota. Mainly because there was no reason for growth but still it didn't decline.

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  13. What wonderful childhood memories and you are so lucky that you have pictures. Things were so different (and I think better) when we were kids. We played games outside like hide and go seek and baseball until dark in the summer months.

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  14. Ah --what great memories... Reminds me a little of my hometown --except mine was much smaller. We did have a theater where I would go on Sat. mornings and watch cowboy shows. AND---we had a soda fountain (drugstore) where Daddy would buy me ice cream... Aren't memories just wonderful? Amazing that you all have stayed in the same area all of your lives... I have moved alot --which is good in some ways and not so good in others... I get to enjoy different areas of the country ---but my adult sons don't really have a 'home-place' to go home to.....

    Thanks for the memories. If you have time, check out my Wednesday blog post. It's one of my best bird posts I think.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  15. Thanks for taking us back to 1948 in this post. It sounds as if you have many wonderful memories of this neighborhood. It's unfortunate that so many neighborhoods in so many cities have been torn up in the name of 'progress' (and highways).

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  16. This was a good trip down memory lane for me (born 1948) and a long way from you. Regardless, there are many similarities in the way things looked.

    Even though I'm a big fan of progress and have great hopes for the future I have to agree with one of the commentaries here - not all progress is good!

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  17. One thing is certain in life and it is change. I think it a very flexible person who can bend and roll with the changes and marvel at all that has changed in my life. That's not to say change is for the best!

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  18. Love your area and don't like the sprawl changes.

    Just wanted to mention that my husband refers to it as "the United States of Generica."

    Cheers to you,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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  19. I have never been near your childhood neighborhood but your bit of history resurrected good memories of my childhood. I can remember the freedom of trips on the city bus by myself. Times have changed, and not just the demise of beloved neighborhoods. Thanks for the look back!.

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  20. I grieve every time I get near Toronto and my home town, now Mississauga, west of Toronto. I always see the endless urban area as a parasite on the landscape. Better urban planning could have done much better. The automobile became the one thing all else was arranged around. Hopefully, it day is coming to an end. I lived in a rural area outside a small town on Lake Ontario, Port Credit, now part of Mississuaga, along with such former communities as Cooksville, Clarkson, Erindale, Meadowvale, Streetsville, Dixie to make a few. My neighbourhood still survives. It is a lovely wooded area of streets which was once made up of working class people who were the first to move out of the city. Now it is a wealthy neighbourhood where the smaller older homes are being taken down and larger home replacing them. How I had home that are a garage with a house attached. Now there are homes with a three car garage with a monster house attached. The trees are more protected than the houses. Houses are larger, families are smaller. You never see children playing on the street anymore. The few are driven everywhere.

    Just north of this neighbourhood is the first freeway build in Canada, The Queen Elizabeth Way, It was once known as Lower Middle Road. It has been widened several times. They just altered the perfect and first cloverleaf design interchange built in Canada (It should have been preserved as an historic site.) This road did not destroy a neighbourhood as yours did as it ran through a rural area. It does remain as a kind of dividing line.
    The city of Mississauga has been build by developers being given a free hand all under the direction of our iconic mayor, Hazel McCallion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel_McCallion I admire her but hate what she has done to my home community. I could go on.

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  21. This is a very poignant post, Troutbirder. I loved reading your reminiscing of days and places long gone by. As you recounted your childhood places, I couldn't help but relate to much of what you said. I miss those days before freeways cut our live in half and caused our cities to die at the core while the suburbs spread out to infinity.

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