Sunday, November 02, 2008

In Plain Sight | Milwaukee Avenue

It's hard to believe, but one of the most picturesque streets in the Twin Cities started with a greedy developer.

Looking for a way to capitalize on the influx of immigrant workers during the 1880s, William Ragan plotted out a planned community along what should have been an alley. The cookie-cutter houses he designed for 22-1/2 Avenue were squeezed onto quarter-lots, had no front yards, and generally differed from one another only in the gingerbread applied to them. Yet, more than 150 years (and one herculean preservation fight) later, Ragan's speculation has left us with a New Urbanist dream.

Take a stroll through the Milwaukee Avenue Historical District this weekend during the Seward Arts Festival.

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