Spring flood season 2023

First I have to say that it is wonderful to see water in the Mississippi River again. There has always been water in it but water levels have been low these past few years due to drought.

Right now the river is at flood stage. I live close by and have been watching it. The river rises very quickly as the snow melts. It is supposed to crest in St. Paul on April 27th or 28th at about 18.5 feet. That is about half a six inches higher than the floods of 2010 and 18 inches lower than the floods of 14 and 19.

flood in 2010
18-foot flood stage 2010 – Spring

In the spring of 2014, the river crested at more than 20 feet in downtown St. Paul.  That is almost to the top of the marker in the picture.

2014 flood
Highwater Mississippi River 2014 – Summer

You can see the marker in the background.

Here is a picture from March 2019. The day the Mississippi River crested at close to 20 feet.  Shepard/warner road was closed and underwater.  You can see the historic Robert Street bridge in the background. This is one of my favorite flood pictures.

Shepard road under water
Shepard Road and Warner Road Underwater 2019

If you decide to look at the river up close and personal please stay out of the water. The current is very strong and the river is still rising quickly.

A small child like the one I saw yesterday who was allowed to touch the water could easily be swept away.

The Mississippi River is used for shipping and is a source of drinking water.


The sidewalks belong to lime

A sure sign of spring is walking on the sidewalk when two or three lime scooters come flying by.

No Sidewalk Riding

Each scooter has four stickers on it that say “No Sidewalk Riding”. Two of them are on the bottom as shown in the photo and two of them are on the stem. It is hard not to see them.

The scooters themselves are of course parked on sidewalks and walkways.  Some are located in places where it is just about impossible to ride them in the street and the scooters are only used on the sidewalks.

In fact, in the downtown area, it is rare to see anyone riding a scooter in the street.

I am not against electric scooters. I think they are a lot of fun. I just wish that there was a way to keep scooter riders off the sidewalks. Walking on the sidewalks presents many hazards even without scooters.

Perhaps instead of raising taxes or adding taxes to pay for pothole repair, the city could ticket and fine the people who are riding electric scooters on the sidewalk.

55+ housing options

IcecreamMy parents rejected 55+ housing because it was often in areas that are not very walkable.  When they moved at the age of 78 they chose to live in a single-level condo in the heart of the city. There was only one parking space which was fine with them.

They enjoyed walking to the nearby park and to restaurants. They could walk to the grocery store, take a bus or a cab or even drive.

When they were in their mid 80’s driving became more difficult for several reasons that mostly have to do with how the aging process can change a body.

They often had their groceries delivered and relied on family members and taxi cabs when they needed rides to doctors’ appointments or shopping.  They did most of their shopping online. It was much of a stretch. My mom often ordered items by phone from the catalogs that were around before internet shopping arrived on the scene.

Some older home buyers want the amenities that come with senior housing like exercise rooms, community rooms, and people to socialize with. My mother-in-law was quite the card player. She lived in senior housing and played cards with other residents. That was a huge part of her social life.

There is no one size fits all housing for people who are 55 to 100 years old.  I think I would be the happiest if I lived close to ice cream. I live in an area where there is a lot of beer but ice cream is hard to find.

The old power plant – 2008

One of our clients remarked on how well I know St. Paul. I do know St. Paul because I have lived here all of my life. Here is a picture I took in 2008 of the demolition of the old coal-burning NSP power plant.  The perfect picture for throwback Thursday.

smoke stack
Smoke stack during the demolition of the old power plant

The new gas-burning plant can be seen in the picture to the right. It was strange at first not seeing the blinking lights on the smoke stack at night. For many of us, it was a kind of landmark we used when we gave people directions.

Sometimes we would hear a loud kind of roaring noise coming from the plant. Something about releasing pressure. During the coldest January days of January, the steam plume from the stack created a shady spot over the neighborhood.

It was always there . . until it wasn’t.

Justus Ramsey house to be moved

The Justus house located on the patio of Burger Moes on West 7th street may be the oldest dwelling in St. Paul. It is made of limestone and is one of the few remaining limestone dwellings.

It has been in the news because it was slated for demolition. The building has been allowed to fall into disrepair or maybe it was helped along the way, we don’t really know.

The building will be saved. According to an article in the Pioneer Press, “St. Paul City Council approves $84,000 to disassemble, store historic Justus Ramsey House. An attorney said he plans to move the house elsewhere on West Seventh Street and open a home office.”

I watched a stone house being moved 20 years ago or so. They are very heavy with two-foot thick walls.

Who was Justus Ramsey? he was the brother of Alexander Ramsey was the governor of Minnesota when it was a territory and he was the second governor of Minnesota.

I have been inside the structure but not for many years. It was simple inside and very small for a house.

Some of the oldest buildings in the city of St. Paul are located in the West 7th area close to downtown. The first settlers in St. Paul settled near what is now Irvine Park and the city grew from there.

My own house, also located in the West 7th neighborhood was built in about 1858. It is defiantly unique but not large and ornate like the nearby Victorian-era houses built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Limestone house
Justus Ramsey house

My memories of the house go way back. At one point it was a small shop. Many thanks to Historic Saint Paul for fighting to save the little stone house. We have lost many historic houses and buildings. Some were bulldozed for business expansions, and road expansions and some were replaced with parking lots.

Snow can be fun

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. For me this week has been mostly about snow. There was/is a lot of it and it was heavy.  Late Wednesday it was raining here in St. Paul on top of all that snow.

First, it snowed and we cleared the snow and then it snowed overnight and we cleared the snow and then we got another few inches overnight and we cleared it.

The snow emergency routes are in good shape, walking anywhere is almost impossible and there is so much snow that we are running out of places to put it.

It was the 14th-highest total snowfall in Twin Cities snowfall records that go back to 1884. 15  inches fell at the airport. The 13th largest and most recent record-breaking snowfall was the thunder blizzard we had on April 13-15 2018 with 15.8 inches.

This week’s snowstorm was also the 4th largest January snowstorm.

Here are a couple of pictures I took of snow. It was beautiful on Wednesday. The blob in the foreground is my picnic table and as you can see I did manage to shovel a path to the grill. . . which I could put closer to the house.

Jan 3-5th snowstorm 2023

Maybe the snow will help alleviate the drought.