It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have a couple of colorful pictures to share.
Rice Park in downtown St. Paul was closed for a year and a half or so for renovations. The park is the center of many events throughout the year. It just wasn’t the same having Winter Carnival events in Kellogg Plaza Park.
There will be an official grand re-opening on June 11th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM
The park has a long history, it is 170 years old and St. Paul sprouted up around it. It is seven years older than Central Park in New York City. Before it became a park, Rice Park was used as an open space to dry laundry and graze animals. The land was eventually made into a “public square” in 1849 by John R. Irvine, a territorial pioneer and Henry M. Rice, territorial delegate and United States Senator. In May of 1914, a Woman suffrage rally was held in the park.
The revitalized park doesn’t look all that different, and this isn’t the first time it has been renovated. The landscaping has been changed, and the lighting has been improved. There are fewer trees and more concrete. The fountain is still in place. Statues were moved around but they are all still there.
My memories of Rice Park go way back. During summer vacations we used to ride the bus downtown and go to the Library, which is across the street from Rice Park. We would check out some books and sometimes sit in the park and read them.
Part of what makes the park so special is the Saint Paul Public Library on one side and the Landmark Center on the other.
I looked through my pictures of the park and most of them were taken in winter during the winter carnival. Last week I got some new pictures just before the park was filled with tents and people ready to add to the history of the park.
Go to StPaul.gov for more information about the recent renovations at the park and future events. – Click on the pictures for a larger view.
Hope Engine Company No. 3 fire station was built in 1872. A couple of years ago it was slated for demolition but the neighborhood was able to save it. The building has been repurposed and will be a wine bar. I have no idea when it is going to open but it is starting to look pretty nice on the outside and the inside looks kind of finished but it is hard to tell looking in from the outside.
You might also notice in the recent picture there is a new building next to the firehouse. That is actually a Marriott hotel. The firehouse is on South Leech street and to the right in the pictures is Grand Avenue.
I am a fan of recycling, reusing and repurposing our historic buildings and homes. They really don’t build them like that anymore.
I don’t like winter, I never have. Friends who live in warmer places which is just about anywhere assume that I like the cold. Let’s just say that I have made peace with it and have learned to make the most out of it.
Staying inside all winter isn’t an option. Having the right outdoor clothing makes all the difference. I can stay outside comfortably for hours because of goose down coats, warm gloves, socks, and boots. Hats are wonderful and so are scarves.
Walking in the city in the winter is peaceful. There aren’t many people in the parks. The scooters are off of the sidewalks for the winter and there are few bikes. There is a lot of snow and ice on the sidewalks that never get shoveled. Those walks tend to be in front of apartment buildings, condos and businesses. Sometimes it is best to walk on the street or the boulevard.
Here are a couple of pictures I took on a recent walk along the river. The ice that floats on the river collide with each other and make some interesting sounds. You won’t hear them unless you walk by and take your headphones off.
I thought I would do a kind of wordless Wednesday with pictures of holiday decorations in Rice Park – downtown St. Paul. The nutcrackers and angels vanished a couple of years ago. There are no decorations at all this year and the park is closed for remodeling and has been since February. Last I heard it is slated to open this month but I don’t think the nutcrackers or angels will be back.