History of the Phillips Community

We visited Phillips Community for our neighborhood visit this morning. Phillips Community is a culturally rich community. It is not a single use community, that is, it has a mix of residential, commercial and industrial uses. There are many big companies in the Phillips Community, such as Wells Fargo Mortgage and Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center. The Hi-Lake Shopping District is also a thriving business district. People living in the community are of different races and different cultures. Data from Official Website of the City of Minneapolis showed that white, black and Hispanic are the majorities in the Phillips Community. We found two churches in the community, one is an Italian church and the other one is a Spanish church; unfortunately, they are all closed when we went there. Image

The Phillips Community has a rich history. It began to to develop in 19th century. The name Phillips came from Wendell Phillips, a 19th century abolitionist.  At the end of 19th century, the community developed qucikly because of the new streetcar routes down Lake Street and Franklin Avenue; many houses were built in this period. The development of residential areas brought good business opportunities. Many shops were opened beside the Lake Street in this period. The first hospital of this community, Northwestern Hospital, which is called Abbott Northwestern Hospital today, opened in 1887. The world headquarters of Honeywell located at 4th Avenue and 28th Street from the 1920s until the 1990s. Another site showing the history of the Phillips Community is  the Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery. It is the oldest cemetery in the city of Minneapolis. The oldest graves were built in 1850s. Over 180 veterans, who sacrificed in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Indian and Civil Wars, the Spanish-American War and World War I, are buried there. These historical sites are a symbol of history of the Phillips Community.

There are many other historical sites in the Phillips Community. The most famous one might be the American Swedish Institute (ASI).  The ASI is a good place to learn history of the Phillips Community since it shows the ordinary life in 19th century in the Phillips Community.Image

The American Swedish Institute is located on Turnblad Mansion, 2600 Park Ave S. The introduction below can be found on official website of ASI:


The American Swedish Institute was founded in 1929 by Swedish immigrant newspaperman Swan J. Turnblad. It is a historic house, museum, and cultural center that celebrates Swedish, Swedish-American, and Nordic culture.

Completed in 1908, this French Chateauesque-style mansion is built of light gray Indiana limestone. The imposing exterior’s intricate stone carvings, steeply pitched roofs, gargoyles, and turrets lend it a castle-like appearance.

Inside the 33-room mansion, a two-story fireplace mantel in reddish-brown African mahogany is the focal point of the majestic Grand Hall. Exquisitely carved woodwork, decorative plaster sculpted ceilings, and the eleven Swedish porcelain kakelugnar (tile stoves) throughout the mansion are distinctive and impressive features.

The museum is under construction. A new part of it will open at the end of June. We just exploredthe old part. There are a wide range of exhibits in the building, from books, artworks to furniture and daily necessities. Every exhibit has a introduction beside it. The building is a litttle terrifying because it is a little gloomy. I tried to read every tag because I really don’t know much about Swedish culture. All I know about Swedish is vikings. After this visit, I learnt more about Swedish culture and living habits.

The Phillips have many immigrants. Swedish immigrants had a great impact on the community. They affeceted the lifestyle and brought many new things to the Phillips Community.



The Phillips Community has many kinds of different races. The composition of the population has changed a lot as time goes forward. The most recent data I can find is on the  Official Website of the City of Minneapolis :

The Phillips community’s ethnic makeup changed dramatically between 1980 and 2000. The white population declined from 64 percent of the total in 1980 to 24 percent in 2000. The black population comprised 8 percent of the total in 1980 and 29 percent in 2000. The Hispanic population was 2 percent in 1980 and 22 percent in 2000. Phillips has a large American Indian population, but their numbers declined by 1,830 in the same period. By 1980 they were 17 percent of the total population, and by 2000 they were 11 percent.

By this tendency, we can easily find that the community has been even more diverse in these years. I drove around this community this morning; the most people I saw were black. I rarely saw white or Asian people in the community. I didn’t find any data before 1980, so I can’t tell how it changes before that year.

Churches are good place to learn the community culture and history. However, we cannot go into any church because they are not open on weekdays (we were there on Friday).


Overall, the Phillips Community is a good place to meet different culture. But many reports said that the crime rates in it is very high. Land price in the Phillips Community  keeps in a low level since long ago. It gets bigger as the city of Minneapolis gets bigger. The history of the community is a miniature of the development of Minneapolis. So it’s interesting to visit the Phillips Community.


Official Site of the City of Minneapolis: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/

Livemsp: http://www.livemsp.org/neighborhoods/minneapolis-neighborhoods/115-phillips-west-phillips-midtown-phillips-and-phi/210-phillips-west-phillips-midtown-phillips-and-phillips-east

Phillips Neighborhood Network: http://www.pnn.org/


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