Monday, March 30, 2009

Minneapolis to Raze Last Downtown House

In a column penned today by the Star-Tribune, the last free-standing house in downtown Minneapolis will most likely be demolished at the behest of the Minneapolis city council. "End Near for Downtown's Last Single Family Home" describes the last remaining downtown house which lies at 816 Park Avenue South just east of the busiest part of downtown. While the current owner purchased the home for only $52,000 it has as recent as 2005 listed on the market for $275,000 for its historical significance and prime location. It reportedly was built in the 1870's and has some distinctive quality as a simple Victorian style wooden home.

While the city cites neighbors' concerns over the now derelict and abandoned home, it is a question of the future of the property space which brings into question their motive to ensure its destruction. After a housing court ordered that the current owner demolish the historic site, it remains standing and intact, a testament to its constancy in its surroundings. The owner has cited personal finance problems as the reasons he has been unable to execute the order. However, according to the Star-Tribune, now the city seeks to confiscate the property and then as quickly as possible crank the wrecking ball and assume the possibilities inherent in utilizing a small lot of precious downtown real estate.

The reasons for demolition remain dubious, but the city appears poised to ensure the end of any remnant of past family life in downtown Minneapolis. The once innumerable small frame houses which dominated the city center are now displaced and the last stubborn creature of the wood is facing extermination.

For all the money it seems that the city wastes, preserving and utilizing the last family home in Minneapolis would be a good short order to educate the future generations of the humble beginnings of the sprawling frontier behemoth. Yet, greed is too inticing and corruption all encompassing.

Only a public outcry could save the condemned from death. But even so, the spectre of forgetfulness will forever overtake that of old warmth, knowledge and industry

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