An Identity of Pride

Reflect on the identity of yourself and the community you grew up in. As we know, identity is the way in which we perceive ourselves and by which we are perceived to others. While identity might be different in the eyes of many, by understanding it, we are able to get a grasp of what an individual or community stands for.

Summit- University neighborhood has a very rich identity to that of its people and those passing by. This identity has been shaped by a history of growth and hardships between its businesses and people as well as a sense of pride for its great amount of historical landmarks.

Though, the identity of this neighborhood is contested by people who see it from the outside, it remains dynamic by those who reside in and take time to appreciate Summit- University. Stop and chat with a resident and you will notice quickly that this neighborhood prides itself on the history of its upbringing.

Almost everyone is sure to point out its main attractions such as the St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Governor’s Mansion, Summit Hill and the residence of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Such historical venues establish a great base for the neighborhood’s religious, political and cultural values that are instilled in all who reside today.These characteristics are ones that the people of Summit- University identify with.

Perhaps this identity where the “lend a helping hand” motto comes from around this tight knit community. A resident of the neighborhood was quoted on the Summit- University Planning Council’s website giving thanks to young catholic school helpers cleaning up around the community.

Joshua Beran states, “I am writing to say thank you for the clean up you did last week, wow!  An excited group of young people and their leaders were helping to keep the neighborhood looking nice…. The group was proud, and they should be. You all inspired me to care about the great neighborhood we live, work and go to school in. I hope you will head out again this year… in an effort to keep everything looking the way we all want it to be.” What a proud and compelling letter from a resident who, like others, takes pride in the value of this proud neighborhood.

There is more pride to this neighborhood identity than just its looks and history, though. People take large amounts of pride in the businesses and family-like communities that have formed throughout the years. This is another identity that makes Summit-University so well known and appreciated by its people and, eventually, by its visitors. As mentioned in my last posted conversation, business owner, Lee, is proud of his neighborhood’s growth into a community over the years.

Although it wasn’t all gum -drops and smiles, it has formed the unique identity of a community that is always up for lending a helping hand and looking out for each other. It is easy to see that the struggle of businesses from the early 1900s has taught a valuable lesson to business owners today- be grateful for what you have.

When feasting over a brunch at the new Louisiana Café or sipping a coffee at Nina’s Coffee Café you will be sure to notice this thankful attitude booming from the workers to the daily costumers who live around the area. Walk down the streets into the residential areas of Summit- University and you will see the same, dynamic, identity- grateful and thankful are the people that live here. It is certain that when one is in need, you can always find a hand.

For instance, the Hearts and Hammers volunteers reached out to this friendly neighborhood by upgrading a dozen homes and I can tell you, that people around the area are beyond happy and thankful. A Hearts and Hammers member quotes, “When we see one property in the neighborhood abandoned and left neglected, it has a multiplying effect. Well the same is true when we have on property that is renovated…like this,” St. Paul City Council Member Melvin Carter says.

So whether it’s a Council Member like Melvin Carter, a business owner like Lee or a new resident owner like Gerard (in my previous post), people of this neighborhood are sure to leave you with a lasting impression of gratefulness and helpfulness.



Hearts And Hammers Helps Fix Up St. Paul



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