Archive for the ‘Sibley Triangle’ Tag

The True Story of Sibley Triangle, by Robin Russell

I started tending this garden in 2006, but really took it on in 2007. In 2007, I was living in St. Anthony East neighborhood, and I lost my home to foreclosure. I didn’t want to leave my perennials behind, so I moved them to the triangle. In this same time period, another house in the neighborhood was demolished after a fire, and I was disappointed to learn that when that happens, any perennials or shrubs are ripped out, too. In 2007-2008 time period a lot of houses were being razed on primarily the North Side, so I got hold of the list of properties to be razed and went ‘plant rescuing’ before the bulldozers got in. I remember one afternoon it seemed like me and the bulldozers racing around the streets together! For awhile I kept a blog of my ‘guerrilla gardens’ (haven’t been able to keep up with it that past two seasons) and for the purposes of that blog, I dubbed Sibley Triangle “Foreclosure Park.” There are a number of really great specimens in the garden that I got from these rescue trips. Especially the ‘Hope for Humanity” rose. Well, maybe it’s not that variety, but I don’t want to hear about it. I like thinking it’s a Hope for Humanity. It seems fitting.

Before I took over the park, it had been abandoned for quite some time. Before that, St. Anthony East had a neighborhood garden group that installed the granite pavers and built the raised bed. The indigo baptisia is the plant that remains from this group. Water had been provided by ‘Phil,” a nearby homeowner, but after he either passed away or moved away, and there was no easy water access, the park was no longer cared for by this group. This is why I am such a pusher and shaker when it comes to making sure we continue to have affordable water for this space. Downtown in the water permits department I have been referred to as “the particular woman with the particular garden!” LOL. I am copying Kathy Kittelson on this e-mail as she was part of the aforementioned gardening group and she may have pictures.

I was told that when Our Lady of Lourdes parochial school was across the street from the Triangle (where the public housing building is now), that the Triangle had marble pits where the kids (probably boys) played marbles. I was told that if I kept digging, sooner or later I would find marbles, and in fact I have two that I have found there! If there is a way to get pictures of Our Lady of Lourdes School, maybe there would be pictures of the Triangle there. That would be a fun research project.

It is such an honor to take care of this space. It is really cherished by the neighbors, and is a destination spot that people now walk to. I learned that one neighbor even referenced it as a neighborhood amenity to a new tenant in the area!

My blog is guerrillagardensne[dot]blogspot[dot]com

Robin Russell

Another view of Robin’s garden from my May 30 visit. David C. Smith

NOTE: Thanks so much, Robin, for telling the story and for taking care of a space that we all can enjoy.

Does anybody have any photos of Our Lady of Lourdes school—or know of any? Let me know where I could find them, or send them to me and I’ll post them here.

David C. Smith

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Sibley Triangle in Full Bloom

Last fall I apologized to Robin Russell, the volunteer park steward who maintains the lovely Sibley Triangle in Northeast Minneapolis, for not getting a picture of her superb work. This is to make amends. These photos were taken on May 30 after a week of rain. Beautiful.

Sibley Triangle, May 30, 2012. Washington St. NE is on the right, 5th St. NE on the left.

Sibley Triangle from the east (Washington St. NE).

I’d love to hear from Robin and park stewards who beautify other parts of our park system. Tell us the story of your garden—and send photos.

David C. Smith

NOTE: Please see “Comments” for information on other gardens.

Triangle Followup: Prospect Park, Laurel and Sibley Triangles

Summer gardens are gone and I never got a good picture of another beautiful park triangle: Sibley Triangle located in northeast Minneapolis where  Washington Street NE and Fifth Street NE meet. (For earlier posts on park triangles see this one on small triangles and this one on triangles in Prospect Park.) Every time I was in the neighborhood I was without camera, so if any readers have photos I’d like to post them. The garden is planted and maintained by volunteer Robin Russell, who has done a fantastic job. Sibley Triangle is another of Minneapolis’s six triangles that are listed as 0.01 acre. The park board acquired the little triangle from the city in 1920.

Like Sibley Field in south Minneapolis, it was named for Henry Hastings Sibley, but the triangle was named first. Apparently having a little street triangle named for Sibley did not sufficiently honor Minnesota’s first governor, so the larger neighborhood park was named for him too — three years later. (The larger park had previously been referred to as Cedar Avenue Heights Park. See more here.)

I was also informed by Michelle Kellogg of the park board that the volunteer who  deserves the credit for maintaining the tranquil gem of Laurel Triangle in Bryn Mawr is Patty Wycoff. Thanks Patty!

Laurel Triangle 2011

Finally, I spent an enjoyable evening in July with the Prospect Park Garden Club at the home of Mary Alice Kopf talking about triangles and other parks in the neighborhood. Thanks to Julie Wallace who dug up the info from neighborhood association documents that Bedford Triangle and Clarence Triangle were altered in 1979. Bedford Triangle was obliterated and the street on one side of Clarence Triangle was removed so it now appears to be part of the yard on the northwest corner of the Bedford and Clarence intersection. The only thing that suggests it is not private property is a boulder on the corner — as in the other Prospect Park triangle parks. I learned that night that the boulders were unearthed during the construction of I-94 through the neighborhood.

David C. Smith