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Recent posts:

Anders Christensen Receives Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Executive Director’s Award Anders Christensen’s Remarks on Receiving Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Award Healy Project Fundraiser at the Lowbrow, May 7th Winter Party Fundraiser December 2017 Talk: Preservation Advocacy, August 17th Open House at 1300 Mount Curve Avenue East Lake of the Isles Walking Tour May 21st New Research on the “Lost” Healy Block: Tour May 7th A Presentation on Master Builders Ingham and Parsons, Saturday, March 18th. Healy Project Winter Party Henry Ingham’s Yorkshire Healy Project Fundraiser at the Lowbrow, May 9th Healy Block Historic District Tour: April 17th Healy Project Holiday Old House Reception CANCELED–Healy Block Historic District Walking Tour–November 8 More Hauntings: Houses Built by Henry Ingham Healy House Hauntings Tour Intro to the History of the North Wedge North Wedge Architectural Walking Tour, October 3rd Healy Phoenix #2 Healy Phoenix #1 Report on the Event: A Great Dinner for a Good Cause A Child’s View of T.P. Healy’s Family Big Win for Healy Block Residents: Revised I-35W Expansion Plan T.P. Healy: Farmer, Commission Merchant & Wholesale Grocer in Nova Scotia Open April 25th: Restored 1885 House in Wedge Learn from the Past, Learn from the Present Grandstanding and Stonewalling at City Hall: Trashing the Public Trust Orth House Demolition An Open Letter to Minneapolis City Council Regarding the Orth House Demolition The Truth Will Out II: More Lies That Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South The Truth Will Out: Lies that Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South Judge Denies Injunction against Wrecking 2320 Colfax Avenue South Poisoning the Well: Testimony about 2320 Colfax Avenue South “City Ghosts” Visit Victorian House Historic North Wedge Walking Tour: Sunday, September 7th Combining New and Old: A New Vision for the Orth House A Place That Matters Healy Project Files Suit to Stop Demolition of the Orth House Happy Earth Day, Zero-Credibility City of Minneapolis Stop Demolition: Allow a designation study for the Orth House Perverting New Urbanism II: Greenwashing Demolition Perverting New Urbanism for Fun and Profit Size Matters: Development at Franklin-Lyndale DEN$ITY: Building Utopia in Gopher City Hypocrisy at City Hall: Planning Department Scorns Sustainable Development Déjà Vu All Over Again: Threats to Healy Houses Renewed Healy Project Special Kickoff Tour Saving Private Houses In Landmark Decision, City Council Stops Demolition of 2320 Colfax Avenue South What’s the Greenest Building? Who Lives in Lowry Hill East? Revoltin’ Developments VI: What You Can Do Revoltin’ Developments V: Sappy Citizens and Maudlin Attachments Revoltin’ Developments IV: Density and City Planning Revoltin’ Developments III: Density and Livability Revoltin’ Developments II: Healy Houses in the Wedge Revoltin’ Developments, Part I Healy Descendant Acquires the Bennett-McBride House On Memorial Day Lost Healys on the Healy Block More Lost Healys The Broom House: 3111 Second Avenue South More on Round Hill Happy Birthday, T.P. The Edmund G. Babbidge House: 3120 Third Avenue South Brightening the Corner: 3101 Second Avenue South 2936 Portland Avenue The Andrew H. Adams House: 3107 Second Avenue South Clones: 2932 Park and 1425 Dupont North The J.B. Hudson House: 3127 Second Avenue South Second Healy Family Home: 3131 Second Avenue South Schlocked: ‎2639-41 Bryant Avenue South 1976 Sheridan Avenue South: Preserved Exterior The William L. Summer House, 3145 Second Avenue South Two More in the Wedge Weapon of Mass Healy Destruction: I-35W Construction The Third: Healy Builds in the Wedge The Second: 3139 Second Avenue South Healy’s First House: 3137 Second Avenue South Anders Christensen, T.P.Healy, and the Healy Project

On Memorial Day

     My dad used to eschew visiting cemeteries on Memorial Day, saying, “Life is for the living.”  Well, he’s gone now, so I assume he doesn’t mind that I wore his watch (in his memory) during my visit to Lakewood Cemetery today.  
The Civil War monument at Lakewood Cemetery, where the memorial service, with a speech by Gov. Dayton, was held today.

      Years ago, my family would go to Lakewood on Memorial Day to place flowers from the garden on the graves of family members who once lived in our house. We had no relatives’ graves to visit in Minneapolis, so we adopted the Beardsleys, if only for a day.  As we learned more about local master builders through researching the history of houses in the neighborhood, we added to our Lakewood visits a trip to the grave sites of the three most prominent of them:  T.P. Healy, Henry Ingham, and Henry Parsons. (When we eventually found and contacted the descendants of Ingham, his granddaughter remarked, “So you’re the ones who have been putting flowers on Granddad’s grave!”)

1712 Dupont Avenue South: An 1897 Healy house whose exterior hasn’t changed much over the last century.
     It being such a fine day, I decided to go to Lakewood and visit the graves of the master builders this morning.  As usual on Memorial Day, the little lanes of the cemetery were clogged with cars, pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles, but it didn’t take me long to get to the Healy family plot in Section 9, not too far from the entrance.  There, at the base of a big elm is the last repose of  T.P., his wife, and two young sons.  The marker says simply, “Theron P. Healy, 1844-1906.”  A vase full of flowers by the marker told me that I was not first to make it to T.P.’s grave today.  (When I got home, I discovered that Madeline Douglass had preceded me to the spot, bearing the bouquet.)  Having no flowers, I spied a crow’s feather that had fallen in the grass nearby and placed that on the marker.  Somehow it seemed fitting, crows being wise and always cloaked in black. Just as I framed the shot on my camera, a caterpillar inched its way across the marker.  That too seemed fitting: Life going on, oblivious to the dead.
The marker, with caterpillar and feather.
     Then I went on to Ingham’s grave in Section 26, and Parsons’ in Section 21, both on the outer edge of the cemetery.  I regretted not bringing flowers for them, especially for Parsons, who died without leaving descendants.  Next year.
It might seem a bit daft to commemorate people with whom one has no apparent connection.  But those of us who admire the work of these builders, who live in their houses, who appreciate their artistry and craftsmanship do have a connection with them.  We remember the builders because their works are manifest on the streets of the city.           
The fireplace nook in a beautifully preserved 1894 Healy Queen Anne.
     Some of these houses are not recognizable as what they were when they were built.  Others have been restored or preserved so they strongly resemble what they were a hundred years ago or more.  Yet others are teetering on the abyss of urban removal, torn up, beat up, and abused, barely fit for habitation. That’s why it’s important to remember and celebrate the builders and their buildings.  Enjoy what you have while you have it.  You never know when a developer, schlockmeister, bad wiring, or lightning bolt will bring one down.
The stained glass windows on the staircase landing of an 1899 Healy house.
The original tiled floor in the vestibule of another 1899 Healy. 

     On Memorial Day we thank T.P. Healy, Henry Ingham, Henry Parsons, Nels Jenson, C.C. Johnson, and the other master builders and architects who created the old houses that we live in or pass by every day on the streets of Minneapolis.  
     Let me conclude with my favorite quote about builders and their buildings from the “Lamp of Memory” section (appropriate for Memorial Day) of John Ruskin’s 1849 work, The Seven Lamps of Architecture:
              When we build, let us think that we build forever.
           Let it not be for present delight nor for present use
           alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will
           thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on
           stone, that a time is to come when those stones
           will be held sacred because our hands have
           touched them, and that men will say, as they look
            upon the labor and wrought substance of them,
           “See! This our fathers did for us.” 

I think Healy and the others could relate to that.
    

Staircase spindles in an 1895 Healy.

        –T.B.