Throughout exploring the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood, I have been collecting information of its history and contemporary context. By using the factors of this information, in this post, I would like to introduce the identity of the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood. Having an own identity gives the standard or measure that makes it differentiated compare to other towns and parts of the city
According to Northeast Minneapolis Online (NEMPLS), they defined the identity of the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood as:
Northeast Minneapolis is a community of neighborhoods. Each has a distinct character, but all share a common identity. With neighborhoods vibrant and cosmopolitan, historic and walkable, or quiet and residential, every lifestyle finds a home in Northeast.
Identity is usually made or formed with the mixture of history, location, environment, and the types of people live. In the case of the northeast neighborhood, as it has been changing a bit by bit, the factors of identity of the neighborhood had slight changes, although its essence has been steady. You can think it as the core of the earth stays same, but the mantle of the earth has little influences by some outside effects.
The historical context plays a very important role in influences that the neighborhood had. To briefly recap the history of the neighborhood, St. Anthony (the heart of Northeast Minneapolis) was found as a city even before Minneapolis was founded. However, 12 years after its foundation, St. Anthony was affiliated in Minneapolis. From that time, it has been known as the part of the northeast neighborhood. One thing to be cautious about the location is that don’t get confused with “St, Anthony Village.” St. Anthony Village is not same as St. Anthony; there is no relationship between them. Traditionally, there are many smaller houses, and it is more packed due to a big portion of the working class neighborhood.
Historically, from the time when the northeast neighborhood was found as the city of St. Anthony in 1855, there were a lot of Eastern European immigrants. As a result of this, Northeast earned its nickname “Nordeast.”
As the Nickname, “Nordeast,” implies, Eastern Europeans and their culture are very influential to the neighborhood. According to the website of RFMAX, the 1st mayor of St. Anthony was elected with a huge support by tavern and bar owners who are from the East Europe area. Likewise, even during the recent years, there are still strong influences from Eastern European residents. For example, one of the most famous and oldest restaurants that were established in the earlier period serving East European foods, such as Nye’s Polonaise Room and Kramarczuk’s Sausage Company are still doing good with new businesses established on the districts. This restaurant business brings new energy that makes the neighborhood more energetic.
The picture of Nye’s Polonaise Room
As I mentioned earlier in this post, some of the changes in recent years slightly influenced the identity of the neighborhood. Changes in the composition of the population, and the house reconstructing process are the two major changes and issues that strongly affected the identity of the neighborhood.
First one is the changes in the population. Although population was seems pretty much stable, the composition of the population had a big change. After the freeway i-94 North and I-35 West were proposed, there were many young people have moved into the northeast area. Especially, the students from the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, largely moved in the neighborhood. For that reason, the population age became younger. Moreover, the ethnic groups of the population became more diverse. For example, increases in Asian international students, Latino immigrants, and Somali immigrants made the northeast Minneapolis more diverse, which used to be predominantly composed with white people. In addition, the restaurant business has been developed with an increase of the student population.
Secondly, another main issue of the Northeast neighborhood is revitalization with the housing construction. Due to continuous immigration of Eastern European at the neighborhood, during 20th, Northeast Minneapolis started reconstructing the houses. This revitalization, remodeling and reforming of the existing houses will be continuously progressing due to the higher demand for housing, and there will be also new houses and apartments will be constructed to satisfy the people who hope to live in Northeast Minneapolis.
As a result of these two effects, the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood is not as quiet and safe as before. More young people and an increasing population in the neighborhood instead made the town more energetic. Moreover, many artists have been moving into the neighborhood area, there are many events relate to Arts. However, there is a side effect too. The northeast neighborhood was known as a very safe place to live, but, during the past several years, the crime rate has been grown up so quickly. Some residents worry about if the neighborhood becomes like other unsafe neighborhoods. This is a serious problem, and if the crime rate is keep increasing, it will lose its title of the safety place. Meaning to say, that will cause a big change of the identity of the Northeast Minneapolis.
The picture of Art district
In conclusion, I would say the identity of the Northeast Minneapolis includes hostorical and modern sites simultaneouly. The contemporary contexts may influenced the identity of the neighborhood. However, the essence of the identity that has been built throught the century did not change. Northeast Minneapolis, “Nordeast,” is the alive legacy in Minneapolis.
Art District Website