Building Nordeast

The area of Northeast Minneapolis, commonly referred to as Nordeast, comprises 4,564 acres and 12,197 buildings. It has been surveyed a number of times by the City of Minneapolis, the first of which was back in 1981. Within this area, 204 properties are considered to have potential as a local historic landmark. Despite the number of eligible properties, this area of the city has the fewest designated properties. What we do have up here is a lot of buildings significant for their religious and social organization as well as the famous Grain Belt Brewery (originally Minneapolis Brewing Company). This area is also host to a number of residential developments from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

 22nd Avenue Northeast and Johnson Street in 1936. Not much has changed over the last 82 years other than the type of businesses and loss of the trolley system (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

22nd Avenue Northeast and Johnson Street in 1936. Not much has changed over the last 82 years other than the type of businesses and loss of the trolley system (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

What is most interesting and comes through today when you hear people talk about this neighborhood, is that it was built by local contractors and immigrants proud of their heritage. C.W. Lundquist, with offices on 15th Avenue Northeast, was a key developer of Northeast in its early years, but many building permits reflect owners building their own homes. 

 A Russian Parade on Central Avenue in 1919. You can see the former streetcar line in the background (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

A Russian Parade on Central Avenue in 1919. You can see the former streetcar line in the background (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

As the oldest neighborhood in Minneapolis, parts of it are made up of the former Saint Anthony township. Northeast was founded by immigrants and many arriving by train made their way north to settle with family that were already established. The area was home mostly to Eastern European immigrants. There were large Czech, Swedish, Polish, and German populations that settle in clusters. You can see their influence in the social halls, religious institutions, and housing still standing today. 

 Polish National Catholic School at 607 22nd Avenue Northeast in 1951 (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

Polish National Catholic School at 607 22nd Avenue Northeast in 1951 (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

The north-south streets of Northeast were named in at attempt to help recent immigrants with their citizenship test. The streets were named after the Presidents of the United States in the order that they served. Washington Street Northeast begins just after Sixth Street Northeast and continue through to Coolidge Street Northeast before the eastern city limits. 

 The Nogly Bar at 425 Marshall Street NE in 1948 (no longer standing) (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

The Nogly Bar at 425 Marshall Street NE in 1948 (no longer standing) (photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

The working class built Northeast and have a strong pride in the neighborhood. Every now and then you can find signs that say "Don't Uptown My Northeast," basically meaning, leave Northeast as it is. They like all the local dive bars, knowing their neighbors by name, and eating at restaurants run by third generation families. It is arguably what draws so many people to live here. It certainly helped me decide not to leave the area when looking for a new house. Northeast is a unique gem in Minneapolis, with a rich history and generations of residents. It's no wonder new families are moving in each day.