June 2013June 2013
hat is striking aboutthe gray house onDupont is that itblends into the background sowell that it is virtually missed by anyone passing. Although stuc-coed in 1943, the remnants o the aged Victorian lady – shin-gle shakes on the gable rontand sides – are clues that some-thing is dierent here. Ten younotice the many paned uppersashes o the windows. Clearly this house was not built whenmost o the others in Lowry HillEast were in the early 1900s.It was one o the rst – 1886 –to be built in the area by J.W.Shackleton, a carpenter, as arame dwelling in the popular“olk shingle style.” A homewith similar multi-pane win-dows, and more typical o theshingle style, exists at the cornero Dupont and 27th Street.Te house changed hands andoccupants, several times un-til 1899 when James WilliamBeeth, wie Martena, and theirthree young children movedhere to escape the noise, smokeand clamor o the Linden railyards, sandwiched between thepresent day Dunwoody schooland Bryn Mawr. J. WilliamBeeth was an engineer on theMinneapolis and St. Louis Rail-road, an occupation not usually seen at the northern end o Low-ry Hill East. Perhaps he wantedto be between the Linden Yardsand the tracks along 29th Streetor easier access to his job at ei-ther location.Te Beeth amily history relatesthat J. William was born in 1860in the same cabin in Florida,Missouri, that Samuel Clemens,aka Mark wain, was born. Tattiny two room cabin is now en-closed inside the Mark wainBirthplace Memorial Museum.J. William’s claim to local ameoccurred in November 1898while working as an engineeron the M&SL Railroad, knownlocally as the ootin’ Louie.Swedish born immigrant, JohnLind had just been elected therst Swedish governor o Min-nesota. o celebrate, 150 politi-cal riends (including newspa-perman Swan urnblad) met atthe Minneapolis depot to travelto New Ulm. Te weather washorrendous with a erce snow storm blowing hurricane orcewinds and piling snow severaleet deep. But the party decidedto press ahead and boarded theM&SL train to pay their respectsto the newly elected governor. J.William Beeth was the engineerin charge o the excursion.Arriving afer three hours, cel-ebrating at the Opera House,and presenting Lind with acommemorative cane, the grouphurriedly re-boarded. Upon thereturn trip, another reight trainwas stuck in the snow ahead o them at Young America, where-upon the conductor took theinitiative to lead a group o vol-unteers to dig it out. Te passen-ger train then pushed the reighttrain all the way into the depotin Minneapolis.Te Beeth Family moved to2417 Dupont shortly afer theinamous train trip and con-tinued to live in the house untilMrs. Beeth died in 1935. J. Wil-liam had died in 1930.wo more children, twin boys,were born in the house in1908. Te children now num-bered our boys and the eldestdaughter, Rhea (Ree-a). Teboys were always getting intotrouble and Rhea was oreverbailing them out. One hot sum-mer day in 1910, young Sidney,16, and two riends stole anautomobile and drove to Mon-tevideo where they drove itinto the Minnesota River. Teribune reported that the boys“were dressed as laborers mak-ing their way westward whenthey were taken into custody by rural constables....Parker andBeeth will appear in juvenilecourt, while Keniston being 12years old, will have to answer inpolice court.”More amily lore reported thatRhea had also run away on sev-eral occasions and learned to bea seamstress to urther her loveo ashion and design. In 1915,Rhea and her rst husband,Frank Johns, were married inthe living room at 2417, a com-mon occurrence in the early 20th century. Te rooms werelavishly decorated with pink roses and erns. Over 40 guestsattended the quiet wedding.Tings must not have gone wellor the young couple, or by 1925 Rhea was divorced andmarried or a second time toAugustus Seeger, an employee o Brown and Bigelow o St. Paul.Unortunately or Rhea, Augus-tus passed away in Chicago inthe summer o 1929. She vowednever to marry again but wasofen seen in the company o Northwestern University proes-sor and well known economist,James W. Bell.Afer Augustus passed away,Rhea Seeger set her aspirationson a career in the ashion in-dustry, writing or the Chicagoribune. By the mid 1930’sshe had achieved the positionas the women’s ashion editoro that same paper. In July o 1955 she was honored by theNew York Dress Institute orher contributions and dedica-tion to the industry. She wasroutinely ying to the ashioncapitals o Paris and Milan tocapture the chic trends or herMidwestern mavens.By the 1970s Rhea Seeger hadretired and moved to the Seat-tle-Port ownsend, Washing-ton area to be closer to heryounger brother Ed, an engi-neer at Boeing Corporation.In 1985 she passed away at theage o 83. Her brother passed in1989. Subsequently their asheswere brought back to Minneso-ta by their amily and scatteredon the waves o Lake Superior.oday there is not much re-maining o the original inte-rior spaces o 2417 afer thehouse was subdivided in themid 1950s. Uniquely, however,the original building permitincludes a rare drawing o theoor plan as outlined by thebuilder detailing a roomy rstoor plan.Te gray house at 2417 Duponthas nally given up its history o the little known Beeth am-ily. Afer surviving another qui-et 30 years as rental housing, itpassed into the hands o thecurrent owners, who love thehouse and have returned it to asingle amily once again.
Kathy Kullberg lives in Lowry Hill East.
I your walls could talk . . .
2417 Dupont Avenue
By Kathy Kullberg, Lowry Hill East Historian
Built: 1886 by J.W. ShackletonCurrent Owners: Warren Colison and Carl Grifn
Te streets o Minneapolis will be active thissummer as the city plays host to not one or two,but our Open Streets events starting in June.During an Open Streets event, a signicantlength o a busy street is closed to automobiletrac or our to six hours to allow amiliesand neighbors to walk, bike, skate, have unand shop in a sae, car-ree environment.Open Streets events are designed to help pro-mote environmentally riendly transporta-tion choices, such as walking, bicycling andmass transit. Tey were also created to pro-mote good public health by encouraging ac-tive, healthy liestyles.Te our Open Streets events this year are onSouth Lyndale Avenue (June 23), Central Av-enue (July 28), Minnehaha Avenue (August11) and North Lowry Avenue as part o Har- vest Fest (September 21). In addition to clos-ing the streets to automobile trac, the day-long events will highlight healthy living andtness activities through a series o displaysand activities.Te rst Open Streets Minneapolis eventwas held on Lyndale Avenue South in 2011and drew more than 5,000 participants. Lastyear’s events were held on South Lyndale andon North Lowry Avenue and drew 10,000 and4,000 attendees, respectively.“Open Streets Minneapolis has grown roman experiment to an institutionalized, city-wide movement,” said Colin Harris o theMinneapolis Bicycle Coalition, which orga-nized the original event and is overseeing thisyear’s our events.Open Streets Minneapolis is an initiative o the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, and orthe rst time, this year’s our events are co-sponsored by the City. Te events have anumber o nancial sponsors, including theCenter or Prevention at Blue Cross and BlueShield o Minnesota, as part o Blue Cross’long-term commitment to tackling the ourleading causes o heart disease and cancer,and the Partnership or a Healthier America’sPlay Streets initiative.For more inormation on this year’s events, visit the Open Streets website at www.open-streetsmpls.com. o learn more about bicy-cling in Minneapolis, visit the City’s bicyclingwebsite atwww.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles.
Concrete as Landscape
Open Streets comes back 4 times
a kee eme he eene v eele.
fer achieving successat its two existing loca-tions, J.J.’s Coee andWine Bistro opened a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it caé/bistroin Uptown about a year ago,on the corner o Knox Avenueand Lake Street, kitty-cornerrom Lake Calhoun. Te res-taurants’ website boasts that it’slocal and amily-owned, with a“European concept,” a “Man-hatten vibe,” and “a touch o Midwestern style.” Tis websitedescription was inviting, and Iwas looking orward to an in-teresting experience.Te atmosphere is calming,with lots o sleek, comortabletables-or-two, and a coupleo plush booths. Sof musicplays, and the huge windowslet in plenty o light and allow apartial view o Lake Calhoun’senvirons. Te tiny porch/patioholds a ew tables, which hintsat an intimate, choice spot orsipping wine or coee.My companions and I visitedon a weekend or lunch andound the restaurant oddly empty. We perused the menuand agreed that the descrip-tions o available panini, piz-zas, and sandwiches soundedhealthul and delicious. Weordered a selection rom eachcategory, as well as a bowl o soup, which arrived promptly.Te presentation was attrac-tive, but as we started eating,our disappointment began.Te Greek Flatbread Pizza wassparsely topped, with a coupleo sliced Greek olives, min-iscule eta cheese crumblesover bland house-made to-mato sauce, all hidden under amound o resh spinach leavesand nestled on a thin, soggy crust, which the menu had in-correctly described as “crispy.”Te Minot sandwich consistedo two slices o dried-out wheatbread, avorless lunchmeat-type turkey, cheddar cheese,iceberg lettuce and resh mush-rooms, with two green pepperstrips and a handul o greasy kettle chips on the side. Weordered one o the two soupschoices o the day, a cream-based, mashed potato-like-consistency, overly salty messwith spinach and gorgonzolacheese. When the soup wasserved barely luke-warm, weasked that it be replaced witha heated version. Te secondbowl was equally cold and un-appetizing.
Te only bright spot was thelightly crisp Spinach BaconPanini, that had a nicely a- vored pepper Jack cheese,spinach, and chopped arti-choke lling with a generousamount o thickly-sliced ba-con. All sandwiches are servedwith the customer’s choice o spinach salad or kettle chips.J.J.’s also oers a number o breakast sandwiches.
In addition to the very medio-cre ood, an indierent server,who seemed to be busy withsuch chores as changing lightbulbs, waited on us. Despitethe act that we were the only lunchtime patrons (only oneperson entered and ordered
su he d h hl nh.
J.J.’s Cofee and Wine Bistro
Come for theAtmosphere and Drinks
By Beth Marsh, Wedge Restaurant Reviewer
coee-to-go during our stay),she gave the appearance thatwe were intruding, and sheresolutely placed our bill on thetable beore we were done eat-ing, without asking whether wewanted anything else.J.J.’s has built a ne reputa-tion or its hand-crafed co-ee drinks. Te choices changerequently, and the custom-created beans are roasted lo-cally. Te extensive wine list,includes both domestic andinternational brands. Wineights are available in three3-oz. servings, with eitherwhite or red wine or $14. Youcan also customize your ighto three by-the-glass selectionsor $3 more. Because pairingso traditional wine, nontradi-tional wine, and beer appearunder each item on the dinnermenu, even someone who hasminimal knowledge o wineand beer can choose just theright pairing.I suggest that the olks at J.J.’sCoee and Wine Bistro Up-town location consider eitherconcentrating exclusively onwine, beer, and coee, withperhaps a ew choice pastry/dessert items and appetizers,or do a major ramp-up to im-prove both the ood and theservice. As it is now, J.J.’s is thekind o place where twosomesor singles can enjoy either thepatio or the indoor seating witha beverage o choice, whetherthey are there or a date or achat, or simply to use the reewi-. J.J.’s should continue todo what they do best; that is,provide a low-key and relaxedatmosphere or the enjoymento wine, beer and coee drinks.
Using a scale o 1-5, 5 beingthe highest, I rate J.J.’s Co-ee and Wine Bistro’s Uptownlocation as ollows: Food = 1,Beverages = 5, Service = 2, At-mosphere = 5.
Beth Marsh is a longtime resi-dent and an o South Minne-apolis. During o-hours romher prooreading and copy-ed-iting day job or an advertising agency, she enjoys movies and creative writing, and she is inthe process o illustrating her children’s book.
J.J.’s Cofee anWine Bistro
Monay – Thursay:
Friay – Saturay:
Wines by the glass
Free on Knox Avenue.
Bealertto thecurrent constructiononLakeStreet.