Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is the Sheltering Arms House the Corner Stone?

Guest post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

I've been hesitant to attach more historical significance to this house than what is known for sure. After all, I think there's plenty of grounds for preservation here but if one overstates and then has to retract historical significance, it could actually weaken the case for saving the Sheltering Arms House.

But the more I find out, the more this looks like a very significant historical find. I just received an email that indicated...

This house could indeed have been the first Sheltering Arms orphanage in Minneapolis. The email referenced an article from the August 19, 1883 Minneapolis Tribune:

"It is expected that the corner stone of the new Home for the Sheltering Arms, under the care of Sister Annette, wil be laid at the close of the service today in Holy Innocent's Church, corner of Twenty-seventh avenue north and Twelfth street, in the Fairmount Park addition."

12th Street was eventually renamed Emerson Ave N, and the county website lists the property as being located in the Fairmount Park Addition to Minneapolis.

We still don't have what I'd consider definitive proof that this house was the first Sheltering Arms orphanage, but given that there was a special church ceremony to commemorate its construction, this is looking more likely all the time.


M. Clinton said...

Although there is yet a lot of research that can be done about this property, I would disagree that we don't have definitive proof that it was an orphanage of Sheltering Arms. All you have to do is look up Sheltering Arms in the early city Directories and it brings up 2650 Emerson Avenue N. Also, the building permits list the owner as "Sheltering Arms." That is definitive proof that the was the Sheltering Arms orphanage from its construction until 1910. In the same year the organization abandoned the orphanage on Emerson and constructed the one on West River Road, there is even a permit for 2650 Emerson for a "conversion to four plex." We can say with certainty that 2650 Emerson was constructed as the Sheltering Arms Orphanage and was used as such until 1910. What we don't know is the year that it was constructed and if there is anything remaining of the orphanage used prior to the construction of 2650 Emerson. The early directories indicate there was an earlier location at 27th and Emerson. I believe that is the building referenced in the above newspaper article. Just what became of that building I would say is still something that we have to uncover with research. This should not be difficult however as the U of M social services historical archives supposedly has a complete record of the board meeting notes for Sheltering Arms.

M. Clinton said...

Do we know for certain that 12th became Emerson? Could 12th have become Fremont?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Now I'm going to be the one doing a bit of assuming. Counting off on street blocks from 6th over to Emerson, that would most likely be 12th and Fremont would be 13th. Even looking at street addresses now on streets running east-west, 1400 is between Fremont and Girard, 1300 between Emerson and Fremont, and 1200 between Dupont and Emerson.

Johnny Northside said...

On another we know who lived in the four plex once the building was converted? That might be interesting, too, if it was something associated with the Sheltering Arms mission.

On another note...I heard there is a North Minneapolis history somewhere at the U of M, somebody's old thesis from way-back-when. It would be fun to get our hands on that. It may be the old thesis references this organization and building.