Saturday, July 5, 2014
Eleven years ago, Scott led me on a shorter version of this walking tour of his hometown, New Hope and neighbor suburb, Crystal, Minnesota. New Hope is a first-ring suburb northwest of Minneapolis with the craziest borders you'll ever see on a map.
Scott spent the first 33 years of his life in New Hope. His family lived in a home that was at the end of a T intersection - worth mentioning because it was twice hit by pranksters. The street leads directly to the driveway and people took the opportunity to turn it into a bowling alley with the imaginary bowling pin deck being the garage. Scott tells me the incident made the local paper with the catchy title, "Was it a strike or was it a spare?". The media attention tempted a copy cat and they were hit once more.
During Scott's time as an undergrad Chemistry major, he moved to an apartment complex called King's Manor and lived there until he purchased our first home in Minneapolis.
What better place to start our walk than the cleverly named New Hope Shopping Center? Scott used to walk to McDonald's every day for coffee (slightly different from my present day coffee walks).
The shopping center has a lot of vacant storefronts but unlike many strip malls, they are taking exceptional care of the exterior and landscaping. Some of the current tenants include Applebee's, Subway, Taco John's, a liquor store, and Lifetime Fitness. Scott remembers a Blockbuster used to be there and the first video store he ever went to, Bigelow was there in the '80s.
While Scott lived in New Hope, he used to say that Applebee's was his favorite restaurant . Now I agree to one visit every five years. For all you Applebee's fans, I know someone who'd love your dining company.
Around the neighborhood
It seems the Robbinsdale Area School District has had some bad luck with school buildings since two of the three schools Scott attended had to be demolished.
Another change is that the former Glenn's Dairy Store is now a private residence but it looks the same with exception of the exterior color and gardens have replaced the parking lot. Scott would buy candy there and was once treated to a Marathon bar when he rode his bike without training wheels. Weird zoning laws New Hope!
Up until he graduated from college, Scott held quite a few odd jobs:
Deb, Crystal, MN - (Summer, 1987)
Sales clothes racks mover
Tyra's Grocery Store, New Hope, MN (1988-1990)
Service 50 (cart round-up, general clean-up)
Super-Valu, New Hope, MN (1990-1991)
Holiday Inn, Plymouth, MN (1991-1992)
Cargill, Minnetonka, MN (Summer, 1992)
Target, Crystal, MN (Holiday season, 1992)
Stock Boy, Notions department
Coopers Grocery Store, Plymouth, MN (1993 - 1994)
Bag Boy (1993)
Lunds Bakery, New Hope, MN (1993)
Cargill, Minnetonka, MN (1995-present)
Senior Research Scientist
I learned of his first job at Deb after 8 years of marriage and it is one of my favorite Scott stories. He and Mark were skateboarding up and down the sidewalks in front of the stores in the Crystal Shopping Mall. One day as they were sitting on the sidewalk wiping their brows after being radical, a manager of DEB came out and asked if they were interested in a job. Soon they were moving racks of women's clothing to and from the sidewalk every morning and evening.
Skateboarding and Mischievious Points of Interest
Most of our walks in Minneapolis take us by some of Scott's skateboarding spots but he and his pals turned Crystal's benches, staircases, and curbs into their skate park. Now, kids have it so easy with their skate parks!
Across the street from the New Hope Civic Center is a huge void where a Kmart once stood. On the day of our walk, the New Hope Farmer's Market was making use of it. We met a New Hope City Council candidate, Jonathan D. London. When he learned that we live in Minneapolis and that Scott left New Hope, he wanted to know why. We talked about the walkability of our neighborhood and he took that opportunity to tell us about his platform. He informed us that the Kmart lot is likely the future home of a Hy-Vee grocery store and gas station. He would have liked to have seen something else be developed to connect the community.
After realizing that a sewer drain was a tunnel, Scott and his friend Kelly made up their minds that they would walk to the end. Rumor had it that the sewer went all the way to KMart which ended up being far from true. The sewer tunnel starts in Fred Sims Park and ends at 42nd Ave N and Oregon Ave.
We ate here a few times when it was Sunshine Factory because it is steps away from King's Manor, the apartment where Scott was living when I met him. Sunshine Factory closed in New Hope when they opened a new location in Maple Grove. Our Pub 42 server is skilled at the art of tricking you into buying cheese curds!
This Caribou Coffee is near King's Manor. Scott and I used to have "study buddy" dates here where he would program and I would grade papers.
The Real Star of New Hope
Inspiration & Goals
The Nivens Family