To research a story, I went to a park. Not to talk to anyone - I’m not the sort of guy who likes to bother people minding their own business because I have some JOURNALISM to do. The park might have a few students who attend the nearby art school, but there are lots of layabouts. The afternoon I visited, there was a 29” CRT TV face down on the grass. Can’t possibly imagine how it got there. Under a tree, a convocation of bicyclists who looked as if they had no permanent address; camping gear, sleeping bags. The bohemian life did not seem particularly carefree.

It was once the richest area of town, as these things often go.

The development in the area was spurred by the desire of prominent families to move away from the central business district and to build larger and more elegant homes along what was the edge of town. Development began around the early 1870s and continued through about 1930. The houses within the district represent a number of popular architectural revival styles.

The park itself is named for a now-demolished mansion known as Fairoaks. Built in 1884 by E. Townsend Mix, Fairoaks was one of the grandest Twin Cities mansions of its era. The house itself had 40 rooms and sat on a lavishly landscape lot two square blocks in size.


Sweet mother of God:


I believe you can fix the location by that basin:



It was built by William Washburn, who made a pile in lumber, and owned vast swaths of land in the city. My daughter went to a high school named after him, and it was 30 blocks south the park. When Washburn kicked in 1912 he gave the mansion to the city, but they didn’t know what to do with it, and it cost a lot to maintain. It was knocked down in 1926, and the area turned into a park.

By then the Minneapolis Institute of Arts had been constructed across the street, making for a grand public area that was the pride of the city. I went looking for something placed in the park in 1939, a little monument celebrating the sequidipisquatchatennial or whatever of the Constitution.



I found it right away:


The plaque isn’t particularly helpful.

The initials, they thought, would be obvious to all as the years went on, but they weren’t. They stand for the Women’s Auxillary to the Railway Mail Association, a benevolent society that’s still around under a different name. There’s no sign of the tree they planted.

What really got me was another little stone memorial:


There’s just something so poignant and sweet about that. You can see them in their uniforms, squinting in the sun, probably singing a song, some dignitary lending a hand or making a speech. They’d be pre-teen, you expect, and would grow up seeing brothers go off and not return. They’d be housewives or secretaries in the 50s. Born and raised in the century’s worst times, they grew up to see it recover and flourish. If they went back to visit the monument in the 70s and 80s, they would have been horrified to see how the neighborhood had fallen.

It’s better now. But it still has a ways to go. As of course do we all.





My copy is small, and murky. But we’ll have to do the best we can if we’re to learn the fearsome tale of . . .

The Spunky Gal Scientist-type person was unconscious in the rocket, as often happens, and it blasted off and blew up. Too bad for her, you might think, but she’s in luck; this is a serial.

Note that the Purple Monster, the one guy Mars sent to invade Earth, just plain flat runs away. After all, there are 11 eps left.

Back at the observatory, the dead scientist - Uncle Cyrus -
is still sitting in a chair, waiting to be inhabited by Purps once he does that thing with his inhaler.

At some point the scientist is going to start to smell, and parts will fall off.

Mind you, Purps needs money to build the rocket to get back to Mars, because they didn’t send him with any. Lucky for him, Dr. Uncle Cyrus has access to a hundred grand in the bank..

Just to remind you: Mars is going to invade, but they need a rocket that make a round trip. So they send a guy to earth to steal plans. Also, he has no money. Never occurs to them to just invade en masse then steal the plans. Who’s running this show, anyway?

Oh, the usual withered poobah. So, Purps, in the form of Dr. Uncle, goes to the bank, withdraws 2 grand, and plants a device that tampers with the time-lock mechanism. Our lawyer hero drops by the bank later, sees the time-lock’s been screwed with, and realizes that if he comes back in the evening he’ll catch the thief.

Behold, the advance guard of the Martian conquerors:

He has to wear the costume all the time. It makes him feel special. Well, Craig’s loitering in the hallway to catch the bad guys, because the bank, having discovered a plot to rob them, handed it all over to this lawyer guy who said he’d wait outside and stop the crime.

Purps puts the money into the bag, and runs into Craig. Pretty good fight:

Purps can throw ‘em:

But so can Craig. The Purple Monster runs out on the ladder; Craig follows. And so:


It's early. Pretty sure he's okay. But tune in next week!

Now: some Chain Store Age. See you around.


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