By Paul Bard
Editor’s Note: Over the last several months, the Community Reporter has looked back at the many neighborhood stories we’ve covered during our first 50 years of publication. Today, as our retrospective continues, we look back on the second decade of the 2000s.
Beyond the Front Page
Front page stories in the Community Reporter have covered serious neighborhood issues such as the contentious, decade-plus debate over the River Corridor LRT and tracked the progress of major projects like Victoria Park and the Schmidt brewery redevelopment. We’ve featured columns by elected officials and kept neighbors informed about the workings of important local organizations like the Fort Road Federation, West 7th Business Association (W7BA), and Keystone Services. But in addition to the big stories, maybe an equally important service of the Community Reporter has been to simply note the milestones achieved by organizations, businesses and people who persevere year after year, keeping the neighborhood functioning and moving forward.
Noting milestones can provide a sense of continuity and stability, and even give us more confidence in the future—things that have been in short supply over the last two years. So, let’s take a quick look at a few of the many milestones achieved by our neighbors in the decade just passed.
Anniversaries for Businesses, Buildings
The West End is a place where small businesses can thrive and grow to become neighborhood institutions. Many of them celebrated major anniversaries in the last decade, including four businesses that celebrated silver anniversaries. Summit Brewing’s 25th year in business was 2011. Golden Chow Mein and Rooster’s Barbeque both hit the quarter-century mark in 2012, and Kent Peterson’s Terrace Horticultural Books had its 25th in 2016. Skinner’s Pub on Randolph had its 15th anniversary in July of 2015 and Claddagh Coffee marked its fifth year in 2016 and its 10th just last August. Cooper’s Foods noted 97 years in business in 2014, while West 7th Pharmacy made an even 100 years in 2015.
Events celebrate anniversaries too
Irish Fair on Harriet Island made it to 40 years in August 2019, and a month later the 30th Annual Czech and Slovak Festival was held at the C.S.P.S. Hall. The Annual West End Garden Tour noted its fifth anniversary in 2012 and its 10th in June 2017. The Annual holiday market at the Schmidt Brewery added to the vibrancy of the neighborhood and reached its sixth year in November of 2019.
Buildings also reach major milestones. The C.S.P.S. Hall—the letters stand for Czech-Slovak Protective Society—took the honors as one of the oldest if not the oldest continuously functioning institution in the neighborhood at 125 years in February 2012. (The C.S.P.S. Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.) Long-vacant buildings were repurposed and became valuable additions to the neighborhood. The 1857 limestone building at 445 Smith, which began life as a lager beer saloon six months before Minnesota became a state, returned to its origins and was reborn as the Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery in 2017. And perhaps the most dramatic ugly duckling to swan transformation took place when the 150-year-old Hope Engine Company No. 3, after being used as storage for decades by Kraus-Anderson Construction, became the Hope Breakfast Bar in October 2019.
Looking to the Century Ahead
Milestones also come in the form of new institutions arriving on the scene, ready to start new traditions of their own. One of these is Nova Classical Academy, which broke ground for its new campus in November 2011 and welcomed students in September 2012. Nova wasted no time in creating a tradition of academic excellence, as its mock trial team entered the Minnesota State Bar Association’s high school state tournament, taking second in the state in May 2012. Nova’s mock trial team then went on to win first place in April 2013 and again in April 2015.
Thanks for the Memories—Let’s Make More!
At 50 years, the Community Reporter is not as old as some of the buildings and businesses that line the streets of our neighborhood. But 50 years isn’t bad for a little local newspaper that has enjoyed the editorial support of countless volunteer columnists and contributors over the years. We look forward to your support for the next 50!
Paul Bard is a lifelong St. Paulite. He has served on the board of the Community Reporter since 2017.