Minneapolis St. Paul isn’t a place

There is no such place as Minneapolis St. Paul. There is the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. There is a Minneapolis Minnesota and a St. Paul Minnesota and there is a Twin Cities.

I can immediately tell when people are not familiar with the Twin Cities or if they are journalists because they call St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minneapolis – St. Paul, or even St. Paul – Minneapolis.

Also, I get a kick out of how when I write St. Paul it is sometimes rejected as part of an address, and sometimes “Saint Paul” is rejected. “St. Paul” seems to work online more often than “Saint Paul” but you just never know.

That reminds me there is no “East St. Paul” but there is an “East Side”.  It isn’t a huge deal but we can tell the natives from the non-natives because there is no “East St. Paul”. South St. Paul, North St. Paul, and West St. Paul are outside the city limits of St. Paul and each is a city with its own city government and mayor.

St. Paul has a “West End” and a “West Side”. Two different neighborhoods on opposite sides of the river.

The Twin Cities are not really twins. Minneapolis has a nightlife and they even have public fireworks displays on July 4th. St. Paul is where people go to get a good night’s sleep except on July 4th when everyone has their own fireworks display.

Minneapolis has more bike lanes and paths too but to be fair Minneapolis is not nearly as hilly as St. Paul, which is why the real athletes bike in St.Paul.

St. Paul is the last great city of the East and Minneapolis is the first great city of the West. The cities are not in the same county but both are in Minnesota.

Minneapolis is larger than St. Paul but St. Paul is the state capitol.

Minnesota state capitol building
MN State Capitol



Spring flowers are on the way

It finally feels like spring. The trees should start blooming soon. Tulips are starting to bloom and the hostas are poking up through the soil and so are columbine plants.

Wild columbine
Wild Columbine

Columbine, it is beautiful and plants itself in places where there it is shady with some sun.  Columbine is a woodland plant native to North America and Canada and is a perennial.  Here in the Metro area, these will bloom in late May and early June.


The Mighty Mississippi River

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. For the last couple of years, the water level in the Mississippi River has been low. Parts of the river south of Minnesota were almost dry due to drought.

The river supplies drinking water and it is a major shipping channel. When the river gets low barges can not get through.

This spring we are seeing major flooding along the river due to snow melt. We had the third snowiest winter on record and in some parts of Northern Minnesota the snowiest winter on record.

There used to be housing closer to the river in St. Paul but due to frequent floods the housing has been removed and the land is now public parks. It isn’t unusual for some of those parks to remain closed or partially closed until July due to spring flooding.

Shepard Road near downtown St. Paul is partially underwater and closed. The river should crest this weekend and then start to recede.

Here are some pictures taken during my daily walks.

Picture of river April 15th
April 15, 2023
april 26th Mississippi river
April 26, 2023, Mississippi River – above 14 feet is considered major flood stage
upper landing park April 26
Upper Landing Park April 26, 2023

The current is powerful. One of the best places to view the flood is from the Science Museum’s outdoor balcony, the Wabasha street bridge, the Robert Street Bridge, or the Smith avenue high bridge.

Treasures in old houses

Over the years I have had the opportunity to get inside many houses and I find treasures like original woodwork, hardware, stained glass windows, and antique light fixtures. I kind of nerd out over them because I grew up in a historic house and I own one today.

Here is a light fixture I found in an arts and crafts style house built in the 1920s and located in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood.  There were several vintage light fixtures and light switches.

Brass light fixture
Light fixture from the 1920s

I have a collection of photographs I have taken over the years of ancient heating plants, a cistern or two, a washing machine-type device from the early 1900s, and lots of stained glass windows and antique light fixtures.

I guess it is an electronic museum of sorts. I can’t resist taking pictures of ancient heating plants. Just when I think I have seen them all I see something I have never seen before.

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.