Sunday, March 06, 2005

Gone

I shouldn't have left my house yesterday.

I still have one piece of art from a long ago trip to China that needed to be framed.  It was the last day of a sale at my framing shop (Framstyles), so I hussled out of the house after my latte and headed across town to my old neighborhood to take advantage of the once a year sale.

I like to drive around the lakes to get to Kenwood.  This takes me around part of Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.  It was a nice day, so many people were out when I hit lake Harriet.   The crowds were still steady when I hit Lake Calhoun, and I was thinking about my days living in that part of town as I drove up on Lake Street and hit a red light.  I stopped.  Then I saw it.  A gaping hole on the corner of Lake Street & Calhoun Parkway.  I sat at the light in shock and ran through my memory as to what once sat there.  Then it came to me in a bolt.  They TORE DOWN the Edgewater apartment building.

Almost everyone that has lived in the Cities during their 20's has done a stint in Uptown.  The area is filled with old, charming apartment buildings from the 1920s.  To the west you have Hennepin with the funky shops, restaurants and the bars.  To the east you have the lakes.  Your friends live in buildings around you.  It's young, it's diverse, it's edgy, it's artsy and it's fun, fun, fun.  Well, it used to be.

The trendy reputation and cheap money have drawn developers in droves.  Each time I drove through the area, another new "exclusive" condo building appeared. For a time the new buildings were limited to replacing old parking lots or really shabby warehouses.  This was fine.

Quite a few of my friend lived in the Edgewood over the years (I lived two blocks down from it).  It was on the shores of Lake Calhoun.  I'd guess, probably one of the first apartment buildings built in the area.  Some of the apartments looked out on the lake.  The others looked down over Lake Street.  You could spend the better part of an afternoon sitting in one of the old sun rooms watching people walking down Lake Street to the lake.  This was one of those old buildings with a grand entryway, hardwood floors, old style kitchens, huge sunrooms, walk in closets, divided light windows, brick exterior...... It oozed charm.  It would have done very well if it had been sold as condos.  Instead it is now a pile of rubble.

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