Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Minneapolis Parks, Summer and The Arts

Minneapolis really, really, really, really, REALLY loves two things dearly: Its parks and the arts. So it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of artistic endeavors and other activities happening in Minneapolis parks this summer.

First is Ideawerks. Since 2003, the Institute of Production and Recording (IPR) has facilitated a music recording studio in the Powderhorn Recreation Center. The studio has provided a number of neighborhood youth access to equipment so they could learn to produce and record music. Great interest in the program has resulted in a partnership between IPR the Jackie Lee Robinson Foundation, and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board to enhance the studio. Additionally, the Ideawerks program will eventually make recording, production, graphic design and multimedia arts available at more community sites throughout Minneapolis.

Second, you don’t need a theater to enjoy theatrical and dance performances in Minneapolis. Many free family-oriented performance are happening in Minneapolis parks this summer, starting with William Shakespeare's The Tempest at Kenwood Park on Friday, June 5. The performances are held outdoors in parks throughout the city, so pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and enjoy the Minnesota summer while taking in a show.

Third, spend a warm summer evening together with your friends or family watching a movie on the Big Screen outside. From June through August, any Minneapolis parks will be showing free family-oriented films, ranging from “March of the Penguins” and "Marley and Me" to “Star Trek IV” and “Princess Bride.” Movies start at dusk. Though some parks offer refreshments, you may want to bring some snacks. Don't forget a blanket or lawn chair!


Architectural Style - Italian Palladian

Italian Palladianism is a philosophy of design based on the writings and work of Andrea Palladio. Andrea Palladio, born in Italy in 1508, was a Venetian architect. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential architects in the history of Western architecture. He himself was influenced by Roman and Greek design.

He started out in life as a stone mason, but he began studying architecture in the 1550s. Powerful friends and associates of his introduced him to Venice, where he became "Proto della Serenissima" (chief architect of the Republic of Venice). It was during this time, and up until his death in 1580, that he developed the style which is now known as Italian Palladianism.

In his work, he tried to recreate the style and proportions of the buildings of ancient Rome. His style adhered to classical Roman principles he rediscovered, applied, and explained in his works. His ideas and philosophy were widely imitated throughout Europe, and particularly in 18th century England.

His success and influence was a result of the integration of aesthetic appeal with characteristics that resonated with the social aspirations of his clients. His buildings served to visually communicate the client's standing in the social order of their culture.


As with Greek and Roman style architecture, Italian Palladian style homes are decorated with pediments, porticos, columns, colonnades, cornices, and mouldings. Palladio's architecture was not dependent on expensive materials, which was an advantage to his more financially-pressed clients. Many of his buildings are of brick covered with stucco. There are a few examples of this style of home in the Calhoun Isles...

Photo Friday - Gold Medal Flour Mill

This is the Gold Medal Flour mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During 1866, Cadwallader C. Washburn entered the milling business, building a flour mill on the Mississippi River at Saint Anthony Falls. The mill was a 6-story stone structure, with 12 pairs of millstones that had a daily capacity of 840 barrels. 

Gold Medal received its name on June 8, 1880, when the Washburn Crosby Company won the gold, silver and bronze medals on the three grades of spring wheat processed flour at the first International Millers' Exhibition. After winning the award, Washburn Crosby began using "Gold Medal" as the brand name on the firm's best grade of flour. On Aug. 19, 1880, the first flour was packaged and shipped from Minneapolis under that name.

Gold Medal Flour Mill

Work at the mill trudged on for years, and Gold Medal Flour made a name for itself as a high quality product. In 1928, under the leadership of James Ford Bell, General Mills, Inc. was formed out of all the mills constructed or purchased by Washburn, Crosby and Company since 1866. Additionally, the Red Star Milling Company of Kansas and Royal Milling Company, Kalispell Flour Mills Company and Rocky Mountain Elevator Company, all of Montana, were combined under the General Mills brand. Gold Medal Flour is still a popular product from the Minnesota company.

As we know, General Mills is now is a highly recognizable company name that makes a wide range of products. Gold Medal flour is one of only a handful of U.S. grocery products to retain its status as the top selling flour after more than a century of existence. And it all started right here in Minneapolis, on the banks of the Mississippi River.

I couldn't find much information on the Gold Medal Flour building shown here, next to the Washburn...

Architectural Style - Neo-Mediterranean

Neo-Mediterranean is a Neoeclectic style that mixes aspects of Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Moroccan architecture with contemporary North American ideas. Neo-Mediterranean houses are often called Mediterranean or Spanish Style. Some common features of a Neo-Mediterranean house are a low-pitched roof, red roof tiles, stucco siding, arches above doors, windows, or porches, and heavy carved wooden doors.

A Neo-Mediterranean home may resemble the Spanish Revival style, but these homes are not recreations of Spanish Colonial architecture per say. If it weren't for the romantic decorative details, a Neo-Mediterranean home would likely to resemble a Ranch Style house or Raised Ranch style home. There are prime examples of Neo-Mediterranean style architecture in Twin Cities communities.




Photo Friday - Washurn "A" Mill

The Washburn "A" Mill was the second-largest flour mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The original mill was built in 1874 by Cadwallader C. Washburn. At the peak of the mill's production, it could grind over 100 boxcars of wheat into almost 2,000,000 pounds of flour per day. Along with the Pillsbury "A" Mill and other flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls, Washburn "A" Mill the contributed immensely to the development of Minneapolis.

Washburn A Mill

On May 2, 1878, a spark ignited airborne flour dust within the mill, creating an explosion that demolished the mill, two other nearby mills, and an ensuing fire decimated the surrounding business district. The Great Mill Disaster resulted in 18 deaths. The explosion made national news and led by example as to why reforms were needed in the milling industry. As a result, ventilation systems and other precautionary devices were installed in mills throughout the country to prevent the buildup of combustible flour dust. By 1880, the rebuilt “A” mill was the largest flour mill in the world until the Pillsbury "A" Mill was built across the river in 1881. Washburn later teamed up with John Crosby to form the Washburn-Crosby Company, which later became General Mills. For nearly 50 years, the Washburn "A" Mill was the most technologically advanced and the largest mill in the world. It was shut down in 1965 along with 8 other of the company's oldest mills. In 1991, a fire nearly destroyed the Washurn "A" Mill. During the late 1990s the Minneapolis Community Development Agency worked to stabilize the mill ruins. It is now called the Mill City Museum. The museum features exhibits of the history of milling, examples of the machinery that was used to grind wheat into flour, and...

Greening Minnesota - May

Because there are so many great environmentally friendly things going on in Minnesota, we like to do these little green updates on the Barker & Hedges blog. May's is inspired by Arbor Day. Okay, if you're up on your earth-friendly observances, you know that Arbor Day is celebrated nationally in April. But this year, some different things have been happening in Minneapolis, I'll get right into explaining it.

First, since last month's Greening Minnesota was so early in the month, I didn't get the chance to tell you about how the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) received the 2009 Celebration Award from the Arbor Day Foundation. The national award is given each year to recognize the community organization whose Arbor Day celebration best represents the spirit of the tree planting holiday. MPRB was acknowledged for its 2008 Arbor Day celebration, “125 Trees for 125 Years” which commemorated the board’s 125th anniversary with the planting of 125 trees just south of Kenwood Park.

Next, the MPRB will celebrate Arbor Day 2009 next week on Wednesday, May 20, at Waite Park and Waite Park Community School, located at 1800 34th Avenue NE. This is because Minneapolis is one of 13 cities chosen to participate in the national Trees for Success campaign. Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and The Home Depot Foundation, Trees for Success and other tree-planting events engage the community, raising awareness of the environmental, economic and health impact that trees have in their community. Over 500 students and staff will plant 100 new trees in 17 different species throughout the park and the school.

Gardening isn't just about beautiful foliage, the soil where the roots grow is where everything starts. The Longfellow Gardens in Minnehaha Park will literally be a testing ground for organic turf management by the Horticulture Division of the MPRB. The ongoing project will look at the implications of organic gardening for the...

May Real Estate & Landscaping Classes

It's spring time, I'm pretty sure that most of the frosts have passed (though there was a little on my car at the obscenely early hour of 4:30 AM on Tuesday), and people are getting their Green Thumbs out to spruce up the yard for the selling season. Here are a list of classes being provided by Minneapolis Community Education through the rest of May.

Color and Design with Perennials This class is taken after the introductory class, "Perennials for Minnesota," and goes into more depth on how to keep your perennial garden blooming all season. Study how different color and plant combinations go together and what perennials grow best in each month. This class costs $18 and takes place Monday, May 18, from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at Southwest High School, 3414 W. 47th Street, Minneapolis, MN  55410. (612) 668-3100

Real Estate: Are You Prepared To Head Down The Road To Home Ownership? This course will give you an overview of the steps that you need to take to be ready to buy a new home. We will cover the pros and cons of buying, the hidden costs of home ownership, as well as "Do's and Don'ts" for the home buying process. Attendees will be able to receive a free copy of their credit report. This course is taught by Craig Anderson of Northwest Mortgage Company and member of the MN Association of Mortgage Bankers. This class costs $15 and takes places Tuesday, May 19, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm at Southwest High School, 3414 W. 47th Street, Minneapolis, MN  55410. (612) 668-3100

ABC's of Finding and Negotiating your First Home Learn how to purchase the best house and negotiate the best price and terms in a buyer's market. Avoid common mistakes and Internet pitfalls that can cost you thousands. Learn how to make smart decisions when choosing a mortgage to fit your budget and dreams. Learn about first time...

Architectural Style - Queen Anne New York Row Houses

There were lots of different types of New York row houses, including those constructed in the Queen Anne style. Much like the Victorian Queen Anne style single-family homes, these rowhouses became fashionable in the 1880s and 1890s. They are characterized by their asymmetrical forms, front-facing gables, and use of contrasting materials, colors, and textures. Victorian Queen Anne New York Style Row Houses often have ornamental spindles, brackets, and other eccentric and fanciful details with Classical, Renaissance precedents and Romanesque Revival influences. They have a "whimsical juxtaposition" of window pane sizes, often pairing double-hung windows with a small paned upper sash. Three-sided projecting bay windows and and multi-paneled wooded doors are also typical features of QUeen Anne New York Row Houses. In the Summit University neighborhood of Saint Paul, there are excellent examples of the Victorian Queen Anne Style of New York Row House.





Minnesota First Time Home Buyer Forum

If you're a prospective first time home buyer, and you've been reading this blog for a while, you already know about our Minnesota First Time Home Buyer site. The website has been created to help first time home buyers with their research into purchasing a home. If you aren't aware of it, now you are! Let it be a resource to you if you are buying your first home in the Twin Cities or beyond.

But more to the point, this blog post is about a new feature at the Minnesota First Time Home Buyer site: A Forum.

The process of purchasing a home may seem overwhelming. There are many sources for first time home buyers to learn from and they all provide different information. The more knowledge you have about the home buying process, the more confident you will be when you venture into the real estate market. But any site can just provide information, sometimes it takes a conversation to really feel like you understand and are understood. That's where our new Minnesota First Time Home Buyer Forum can be of assistance.

Being able to communicate with other Minnesota first time home buyers can give you company on the road to the American Dream. Realtors like myself can really help you understand the process, but sometimes its just nice to know other people that are going through it for the first time, too.  Please use our Minnesota First Time Home Buyer forum to ask questions about grant programs, down payment assistance, the real estate and loan process, and anything else related to purchasing your first home! At the Forum, our Realtor Team and people buying their first home can all share questions and ideas that may come up during the home buying process....

Photo Friday - Southeast Steam Plant

The Southeast Steam Plant, also known as the Twin City Rapid Transit Company Steam Power Plant, is a combined heat and power plant located on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. It is owned by the University of Minnesota. Constructed in 1903 to provide electricity for the Twin City Rapid Transit street railway system, it supported the area's major form of public transportation for 50 years until Minneapolis converted entirely to buses in 1954. In the early 1950s, Northern States Power Company, which is now Xcel Energy, acquired the building and in 1976 the university purchased the plant.

The university closed the Southeast plant to gut and rebuild the interior, and in 2000, reopened it and closed down its old coal-burning power plant. Completed in 2005, exterior rehabilitation won a local historic preservation award. Now it is among the cleanest burning power plants in the country, as the high temperature fires almost completely consume its fuels—natural gas, coal and wood waste. The plant has tested and been approved for oat hull biofuel, a renewable resource that would reduce each student's fees. The Southeast Steam Plant heats 94 of the university's Minneapolis campus buildings — nearly all of them! It also cools 19 of those buildings and provides steam to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minnesota State Board of Health and Cedar Riverside People's Center. The plant's steam is transported through an 18 mile network of tunnels to the campus buildings and would be enough to heat 55,000 homes. Additionally, as the steam escapes, the pressure powers the plant and provides 20% of the university's electricity....