Thursday, September 30, 2010

Summit Hill House Tour #2

"The self-guided house tour has been held every other year for the past 38 years by the Summit Hill Association to promote the neighborhood as a great place to live and to help raise money for the SHA.  This one was designed by Clarence H. Johnston for Oliver T. Crosby, co-founder of American Hoist and Derrick Company, and it was built in 1900 with a Kasota stone exterior, steel beams and masonry walls."
Credit: Villager (local newspaper)

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


KUDOS to homeowners who opened their homes to the community for a recent house tour.
KUDOS to the family who have kept and maintained this home for several generations.
KUDOS to the current owner who has landscaped it magnificently.

This 1884 Queen Anne/Tudor Revival home was built for the current owner's great grandfather, John D. O'Brien.  It was the first home in a residential development that O'Brien christened Crocus Hill. The landscaping is designed by the owner, a local garden expert, who regularly writes a gardening newsletter, and who has recently published a book, Remembering Smell, describing her loss of that important sense, and who fortunately but gradually recovered after several traumatic months. Lucky for her as a professional gardener! I, incidentally, taught two of her girls when I was still teaching in a local high school here in St. Paul.

To see more ABC Wednesday posts from around the world, click here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Alarming Woman!

Yesterday I promised to tell you the story behind the visit we got from our St. Paul Fire Department (and their cute firemen).Our lovely neighbor, Cathy, who lives two yards down from us, noticed that the electrical wires across our backyard were emitting alarming puffs of smoke so she sounded the alarm with her trusty cell phone.  DH, hiding behind our living room door watched the fire truck slowly move down the street. I advised, "As long as you're going to rubber-neck, go on the porch so you can see where they're going." Surprise!  They stopped in front of our house so I grabbed the camera, hoping, thinking that our antique garage was on fire.  After checking it out, the handsome young men made a call and  informed us that Excel Energy would solve the problem and repair the short circuit located somewhere in our neighborhood later that morning. Glad our tax dollars are at work!  Hmm!  I wonder when the energy company will start replacing outdated equipment and wires!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Excitement at Our House!

A little excitement at our house.  Imagine our surprise when the fire department pulled up in front of our house.  Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you the whole story!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bridges Over the Mississippi

A view of Warner Road and several bridges.

Sunday Bridges Meme: To see more bridges from around the world, click here to check the meme for bridges that Louis La Vache has established at San Francisco Bay Daily Photo.

“He who burns his bridges better be a damn good swimmer”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Getting Your Goat-Camera Critters

City kids don't see farm animals too often.  While vacationing on Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin this summer, Olivia's favorite place was the Farm Museum, which had old farm tools, buildings, and small animals.  If you would like to see more Camera Critters, check this meme.

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
George Orwell quotes (English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950)

Friday, September 24, 2010

St. Kate's Gate

The banner at the main entrance at St. Kate's certainly is a welcoming sight!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Good Place to Hang Out

How'd you like to hang out in this bookstore,
The St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers in Stillwater, Minnesota!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jade Mountain: ABC Wednesday-"J"

China 18th century
Jade Mountain Illustrating the Gathering of Poets at the Lan T'ing Pavilion
Jade, Light green jade
22 1/2 x 38 3/8 in. (57.15 x 97.47 cm)

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This mountain, apparently the largest piece of historic carved jade outside of China, was commissioned in 1784 by the Ch'ien-lung emperor (1736-95) whose own poem appears carved on the backside. The front displays a longer verse, the Lan T'ing Su ("Prelude to the Orchid Pavilion"), a famous poem composed in 353 by Wang Hsi-chi, perhaps the greatest calligrapher of the Far East. The occasion for the poem is illustrated by this jade carving, a literary gathering of poets and scholars organized by Wang at Lan-t'ing, the Orchid Pavilion. Several literati can be seen writing, drinking wine, and collating texts near the Orchid Pavilion at the foot of Mt. Hui-chi.

To see more ABC Wednesday entries, click here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another self-image

Our cyclists certainly dress differently than those on one of my favorite blogs, Copenhagen Cycle Chic.  Check it out; you'll enjoy the photos. After looking at this shot, I thought about how many times I inadvertently take my own image while trying to capture something interesting: click here and here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The High Bridge Over the Mississippi

The High Bridge is a bridge that carries Minnesota State Highway 149 over the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota. The bridge is a two lane, street set-up over the river. The original bridge, built in 1895, was damaged by a storm in 1904. The southernmost five spans were rebuilt. Due to deterioration over the years, the old bridge was demolished in 1985. A new bridge was built and opened in 1987. The ornamental ironwork on the new bridge was built using iron from the old bridge.

The High Bridge has a height of 160 feet, making it the highest bridge in St. Paul.

In February 2008, City Pages, a weekly publication in the Twin Cities, published a feature about the long history of suicide at the bridge. The article included a testimony of a survivor that has leapt from the high bridge.

Design :
Inverted arch and two half-arches for the main span; eight plate girder spans on the north side

Total length 2760 feet
Width 54 feet
Longest span 520 feet
Clearance below 149 feet
Opened July 1987

Sunday Bridges Meme: To see more bridges from around the world, click here to check the meme for bridges that Louis La Vache has established at San Francisco Bay Daily Photo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Divided Household-Camera Critters

Are you ready for some...FOOTBALL?!  I live in a divided NFL football family: my DH, children and grandchildren root for the Minnesota Vikings, but my loyalty resides with my childhood home team aka the Packers.  Maggi and I are the only Packer-Backers in the family.  I take my sports support anywhere I can get it!! We both prefer Aaron Rodgers to an aging 41-year-old prima donna quarterback!...And, the fight was on!!

But sometimes I can get kids that aren't totally tainted by the Vikings to pose a little for the better team.

To see more  camera critters, many of whom I'm sure are as interesting as my dog Maggi, click here. But I wonder how many of them are Packer Backers??

Friday, September 17, 2010

Have Bike, Will Travel

Looks like these folks are really ready for a road trip.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Party Time!!

Amazing!  She got all the balloons into the back seat of her car, with a little help from a passer-by and encouragement from a wandering photographer.  Have NO idea how the third photo occurred.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Incredible-Lake Pepin's Formation: ABC Wednesday "I"

Yesterday I posted photos of a beautiful Marina on Lake Pepin (if you missed it, take a look). It's formation is pretty interesting. "Lake Pepin is a naturally occurring lake, and the widest naturally occurring part of the Mississippi River, located approximately 60 miles downstream from Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is a widening of the river on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The formation of the lake was caused by the backup of water behind the sedimentary deposits of the Chippewa River's delta. It has a surface area of about 40 square miles (100 km2) and an average depth of 18 feet (5.5 m), which makes it the largest Lake on the entire Mississippi River."  Credit: Wiki

Lake City is located across the lake from here on the Minnesota side.  It's claim to fame is the invention of water skis and skiing:

 "Ralph Wilford Samuelson (July 3, 1904–August 28, 1977) was the inventor of water skiing, which he first performed in the summer of 1922 in Lake City, Minnesota, just before his 19th birthday. Samuelson was already skilled at aquaplaning—standing on a board while being pulled by a powerboat—but he hoped to create something like snow skiing on the water....Samuelson's early attempts included using staves from wooden barrels and snow skis before he created new skis made of pine boards 8 feet long and 9 inches wide (240 × 23 cm). He bent up the front tips after softening the wood by boiling them in his mother's copper kettle. His brother Ben operated the powerboat that pulled Ralph along, towed by a rope. Later on, he would ski behind an airplane. Gaining confidence on the water, he began jumping wakes, but broke the original skis (the remains of which were believed to be found on a beach on Pepin) in one landing. His slightly-modified second pair still exists; today they are at the Lake City Chamber of Commerce, in Lake City, Minnesota." Credit: Wiki

To see more ABC posts from around the world, click here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lake Pepin Marina

About 30 years ago friends of ours owned this marina which looked very, very different then; it was much, much smaller. Holding a full-time job while struggling to expand, renovate, and maintain the docks  on week-ends proved to be a daunting task and too insurmountable to continue.  I wonder how they now feel about their long-ago "adventure" when they see how the marina has developed over these years.? The entire area has been transformed with shops and restaurants lining the street across from the marina. Perhaps they should have hung in there?  I guess it's all about timing. [Come back tomorrow, and I'll show you Lake Pepin and explain its formation on the Mississippi River].

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Old and the New-Hasting, Minnesota Bridges

The old Spiral Bridge in Hastings, Minnesota as seen in the postcard above.

"At Hastings, there is a tall bluff on the north side of the Mississippi River. A conventional bridge would have required a long approach on the southern side. The problem is that a long approach would cause traffic to bypass downtown Hastings. Building a spiral solved the problem—it allowed traffic to enter and exit from Main Street downtown Hastings, yet the approach gained the elevation needed to allow the bridge to be level. When built, this was the only spiral wagon and automobile bridge in the US, and only 2 are known to have been built in Europe.

The old bridge served for many years. But due to neglect, the steel rusted, and towards the end, the bridge could only support 4 tons, which prevented truck traffic from crossing the river. The new bridge was built shortly after WWII. The old bridge was given to the City of Hastings, but they could not afford to maintain it. An effort by the citizens also failed to raise the needed money. As a result, the old bridge was removed in the mid-1950s. As soon as it was torn down, the city realized they had made a mistake. The Spiral Bridge was a symbol of the city for decades. Now days, when someone in Hastings wants to tear down a historic building, the cry goes out to remember what happened to the spiral bridge. "

Sunday Bridges Meme: To see more bridges from around the world, Click here to check the meme for bridges that Louis La Vache has established at San Francisco Bay Daily Photo.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

If Only...

When I met DH he was driving a black '61 Corvette with white side panels.  It was later traded for marriage, two kids, law school and a great life with me!! On our recent holiday road trip we stopped in Hastings, Mn. to look at and awe over the vintage automobiles.  As I snapped Jim's photo I was wondering what was going through his mind.  Since it's my birthday today, I bet that he's considering giving me a Corvette for old time's sake. ... Yah, right!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mini Road Trip #2

We stopped in Hastings, Minnesota to see all the vintage automobiles parked in the downtown area taking up blocks and blocks of space, both along the curbs and down the middle of the streets.  Old fashioned car and old fashioned popcorn...what more does one need?!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Summit Avenue #3-Crawford Livingston House

Cass Gilbert, 1898-This house is "another of what might be called picturesque symmetry.  Here, the arcaded loggia evokes the Venetian Renaissance while the central dormer above strikes a medieval pose with its steeply pitched roof and Gothic bargeboards.  Now divided into five condominiums, the house was originally owned by Crawford Livingston, Jr., whose buisiness interests included utilities and railroads.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Heaven...horses and kittens!-ABC Wednesday "H"

A Last Trip to the Stable Before School Starts

A Last Ride Before School Starts...
Click to see more ABC Wednesday photos taken by bloggers from around the world.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Holiday Traffic-mini roadtrip

I adore road trips so Saturday we went on a mini road trip, following the Mississippi River south on the Wisconsin side down through small towns and villages in a very scenic valley. My DH spotted two Corvettes behind us and slowed down so we could get a look at both of them as they passed us. Very scenic indeed!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Summit Avenue #2-Cass Gilbert, 1893

"Cass Gilbert at the top of his form.  It's the last and best of a trio of Gilbert-designed mansions that form a row along the avenue's bluff side. At a time when Richardsonian Romanesque was already giving way to Classical Revival, Gilbert here combined the two into one taut yet monumental package. The sandstone entry arch is a Richardsonian trademark as are the squat columns with Byzantine capitals that screen a row of windows above.  But the rest of the front facade. built of rough-faced quartize, has the symmetry and calm lines of classical architecture." Credit: AIA Guide to the Twin Cities,  Larry Millett

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Summit's Oldest House

"Summit Avenue is St. Paul's most renowned street, a mansion row that extends for nearly five miles through the western half of the city.  It plays an essential role in what might be called the city's sense of self. St. Paulites take great pride in the avenue, and its name conjures up images of huge houses, monumental churches, wide green lawns, and a refined and gracious way of life." Credit: AIA Guide to the Twin Cities,  Larry Millett. The Stuart Driscoll House shown here was built in 1858 with additions in 1910 and 1918, an Italian villa-style mansion with much Classical Revival updating.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Camera Critters

Horses at Davenport Stable, Champlin, Minnesota

To see more lovely critters such as these as well as some surprises ...perhaps, click here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Bicycle Friendly Twin Cities

Want to find out how bicycle friendly your US city is??? Check the above website which also has photos. released its definitive list of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. this week. [April, 2010] The study surveyed only cities with 100,000 citizens or more, and was based on number of segregated bike lanes and municipal bike racks and bike boulevards, among other factors. Researchers also took into account more qualitative factors like support for a vibrant and diverse bike culture, and having "smart, savvy bike shops." The following month, Bicycling magazine underscored the #1 city with the following commentary in this website:  #1 Bicycling City in US.

Yesterday I drove to an underground parking ramp and was heartened to see all the bikes there.  Gotta add St. Paul to the #1 spot, too!  Twin Cities, ya know!

How about other countries, you ask?  Well, check this website to see how other countries fared in the scheme of things:  Top Ten Bicycle Friendly Countries

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Meet Ted and Lucy!

Who could resist either one? Summers at coffee shops always have a bonus...owners with their dogs! Lucy captivated everyone going in and out while Ted patiently answered the questions about his pup and basked in the attention everyone gave her.