Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Is North Minneapolis, This is NoMi, This Is What We Look Like...

 


Facebook image shared by Brian Finstad, used under First Amendment
Fair Comment and criticism, blog post by John Hoff

First, a word of explanation about this amazing image. Brian Finstad (the bearded guy to the right) moved to North Minneapolis a couple years ago and helped bring about an amazing transition at a house that was originally purchased for $7,500. Brian and his partner transformed that $7,500 house into the kind of place you read about in glossy magazines about historic homes. 

The image in this photo is NOT that house. This is ANOTHER house... 



...located on 1522 Hillside Ave. N., which was saved from destruction by television's famous "Rehab Addict," Nicole Curtis. Brian has been working on the house constantly.  He recently turned up a cache of historic items in an attic. Today Brian shared a photo on Facebook of the amateur historians and archeologists who were involved in finding all that old stuff. It's not really VALUABLE except in the sense of being very interesting and historical and, oh, look--!

Some time traveler left a cell phone, discovered 100 years later. Amazing. This is going to revolutionize the way we think about the space and time continuum. But I digress. I have business with this image and I hope many readers do, too. 

For years, I have been incensed by the images which portray our neighborhood in Google searches. When you search "North Minneapolis" what turns up for the first half dozen or so images are "red pin" maps of foreclosures and a disturbing image of some guy who was beaten and now his battered face hovers above a pale neck brace. 

I have noticed the images tend to change, sometimes. A hot story about North Minneapolis will momentarily take the top spot with the images. But then the images inevitably shift back to their old configuration. There have been a couple instances where images from THIS BLOG have momentarily occupied that top spot. 

Thus it occurred to me there might be a way to engineer a better image, to change the actual "images of North Minneapolis" by picking a popular photo, giving it prominent position, and urging readers who care about North Minneapolis neighborhood revitalization to click on the image from time to time.

But what image? For a while I considered an image of my own son posing with a birthday cake next to a little friend in the neighborhood who helped make the cake. But, I thought, too much of an ego thing. I needed a different image. A perfect image. An image that shows harmony among diverse people and some of the things neighborhood revitalizers care about deeply like...old houses, drinking wine, bonfires...

I looked. I looked for months. Years, actually. I was trying to solve this problem before I left for Afghanistan in 2011, so it's been YEARS. 

Tonight I saw this picture. And I said to myself...

That's North Minneapolis (NoMI) That's the image. That's what needs to come up in the search engines instead of the blood red dots marking mortgage meltdowns and some tragic dude who mixed it up with the cops and (surprise!) got the worst of it.  

If you care about North Minneapolis and you agree we need a better neighborhood image, well, find ways to share this image in the part of the internet habitually occupied by Googlebots. Which is NOT Facebook by the way. It drives me crazy that so many of our vital discussions are taking place on North Vent Facebook forum, and are the Google bots putting that stuff in search engines? No, not like what happens with BLOGS. 

If you share the image, metatag it with "North Minneapolis." 

Watch what happens in the next few months when you perform a Google search of "North Minneapolis" and see if we can have an impact with this image.

This is an EXPERIMENT. I don't know if it will work. Kind of like I didn't know if it would work when I bought a house for $17,900 but it certainly worked out great. My neighborhood is full of bargains like that and we are TURNING THIS PLACE AROUND. 

You rock, Brian Finstad. You did right by that old house, and this is a little moment for you in the sun. But let's see how long this moment can last. Let's see if this can become THE IMAGE of our neighborhood. 

On another note...

North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,
North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,
North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,
North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,
North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,
North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,
North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,
North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, North Minneapolis,

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your idea of diversity is a table full of white people in Nomi. What a crock. Oh, I know you're talking about Will the biggest race hater on North Talk who has a white Mother, kids and girlfriend. I am sure this photo is how you would LIKE to see the diversity in Nomi! Please!!

Johnny Northside! said...

If you're on Facebook you can use this link to look at many more photos of the artifacts.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.200293160178020&type=1

Johnny Northside! said...

To the commenter at the top of the page.

And your idea is what? Blood in the streets and (it would appear) actually counting people's racial blood quantum and judging them according to THAT?

Johnny Northside! said...

Some Facebook discussion about this old mansion I want to throw on this thread for the record:

I am going to type out a detailed inventory I compiled of the manuscript artifacts we found. The story of Amelda Marion Yates is fascinating from a social history point of view. It asks the question: How does a divorced woman survive in 19th Century America? Particularly one involved in a very public tabloidesque divorce. Newspaper accounts claim that due to her husband's abandonment, she suffered "deprevations of the necessities of life" and that he "refused to provide maintenance for her."

Yet 1522 Hillside is one of the largest, most grand homes in North MInneapolis. All we can tell that occurred between her scandalous divorce in Galena Illinois and building a mansion sized house in Minneapolis is that she taught for one year in Stillwater.

Her life is full of curiosities. Did she "win" a judgment against her husband? Did she come from a monied family? Or did she have to figure it out on her own? Maybe a little of each. I realized tonight by putting together the pieces (literally) that she was doing one of those "make money while you stay at home" deals selling water proof women's apparel.

And the directories indicate she built a large house for the purpose of providing "room and board." Not only built large, but expanded upon as well. This was not a large house built for a large family. It was a lone woman in crisis, trying to figure out how to survive. It was built from day #1 with the purpose of "letting rooms."

Was her book a survival necessity as well? Did she need to gain public sympathy out of economic necessity? The Canadian newspapers reported that although they were on the side of Mr. Yates, the newspapers in Galena Illinois were "sympathetic to Mrs. Yates." We also find in the attic numerous references in letters of people expressing that they were sympathetic or felt sorry towards her and one letter with a sister where they are discussing a "wealthy older gentleman."

She definitely was a woman of strategy and most certainly that had everything to do with survival as a woman in a 19th Century world that as not on her side. While in Minneapolis, she claimed to be a "widow."

We of course now know that is not true. Her husband was still alive even well after her departure from Minnesota. I am sure the title of "widow" was what she needed to do to survive. Would her divorced status have affected her ability to teach? Did it? Is that why she only taught so briefly? Did her past catch up with her in Minneapolis being not too far up the river from Galena Illinois?

Her next move after Minneapolis was a brief stay in Fort Worth Texas before she disappears into Mexico as a missionary. Was that purpose driven by faith or was she in a position of limited options and it provided a way to sustain herself, hold onto dignity, and finally finding a place of anonymity to leave her past behind? The attic even produced a letter in advance of this departure discussing arrangements. 1522 Hillside's story is most unusual in just about every way possible.

Anonymous said...

Not that I should go to this level of explanation, but for what it is worth, guy on the left is black. Guy taking the photo is black. And a black woman is accompanying us on our next survey for artifacts of this structure.

- Brian Finstad (couldn't remember my "Google Account" to "log in")

I am just fine if this is photo is not the "face of North Minneapolis." I just want people to pay attention to the social history that is being uncovered by the discovery of these artifacts. It is proving very interesting from a women's history perspective.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the historical info actually relevant to the property. The first comment is so typical of the red herring arguments that otherwise derail interesting topics.

Anonymous said...

First comment might be someone still pissed about their mugshot being posted here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:28 P.M. it's not about race it's about people who are making Nomi BETTER.

Mviana said...

Fascinating look into the life of Amelda Marion Yates. I hope you will post more if you are able to learn more about her.

Anonymous said...

The guy in the photo is HALF black. Yes, NOMI should be about everyone coming together to better the community. I take issue with calling this photo diverse AND saying THIS is what we look like. That isn't true or accurate and you can spin it anyway you want to.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, all this property belongs to the homeowner, the person who bought the house, and should be turned over to her. Unless, of course she said Brian could have it.
We all know your propensity to keep other people property, but in this historical case you folks should do the right thing.

Johnny Northside! said...

Get off the spaceship, anonymous commenter. Of course the property belongs to Nicole Curtis, the home owner. You think if Brian intended to keep that stuff he'd put it all over the internet and even create an inventory?

Anonymous said...

Based on previous posts in this blog - the policy has been finders keepers. Honest people just want to make sure Nicole get the stuff. One has to wonder why it's even been removed from the house? It should have been given directly to her and not even posted in this blog.
Why are YOU inventorying the stuff if it's not yours? Why would it even be in your possession knowing your propensity to "take" things.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure the first comment and the one at 12:38 were penned by the church lady admin from North Vent. She likes to use ALL CAPS and lots of exclamation points to do her race-baiting!!!

Anonymous said...

Catching up on my newspaper reading. I see the Strib called Johnny Northside a "controversial" blogger. Uh, since when are just-the-facts and common sense considered "controversial"?! Keep it up, Johnny!

Anonymous said...

OMG! OMG! Anon 9:28 I think your on to something!

It's not the color of their skin but the fact that each person in this photo seems to be wearing something BLUE. What's with that? This needs to be addressed before people in green or red don't have a chance to learn about Northside history too!

Get over yourself!

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of white people out to help people who are not white. Get off of your high horse's and get on board with equality and understand that unless you know what all of these individuals think and live, you are stereotyping and that is fair to no one person. No double standards for people that think and use their head's, Jan 26th @1:38:
Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Since when, John, have you done anything constructive to improve the neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

First let me say to the high or intoxicated commenter, this is NO comment at 1:38.


Your comment is ignorant and does nothing but cause hostile and racist environment . What the hell does that mean? There are a lot of white people that do things for non-whites? There are tons of us African Americans who do a ton for this community and bought homes here to try and HELP this community.


Let us take a look at what white people have done for the area if you want to be silly.

WHITE people have set up and initiated welfare, sec 8 and public housing. WHITE people continue to let it dominate out area.

WHITE people place the sex offenders here. WHITE people are the majority of judges who keep letting these thugs out. WHITE people are the majority of slum lords that have made this place a dump. White people have made the majority of LAWS and enforce them. Should I go on? Give me a break!!!

Lisa said...

For the love of God, QUIT MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT RACE! Diversity is NOT only about skin color. I feel sorry for the ones who are consumed by this.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, now I'm sure. Anon on January 27, 2014 at 7:19 PM is also the NV church lady. She appears to be very conflicted.

Anonymous said...

Yep, 7:19 church lady is cracked.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, @7:19? White people have set up the welfare state that is keeping blacks down? What would you have us do? Let the babies starve? Stand up, for Christ's sake, and OWN what you are doing to YOURSELVES! He was just turning is life around? Enough already! Just stop!

Anonymous said...

January 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM makes a good point. John Hoff has not done anything constructive to improve the neighborhood. All he does is blog.
When was the last time he planted a tree? Helped build a Habitat for Humanity House? Served the poor a meal?
Any asshole can call 311 with a complaint, but it takes a "real" neighbor to help paint a house.
How can anyone have respect for someone who hides behind a computer and blogs hurtful things about the people in a neighborhood, painting the community and a whore riddled, criminal infested ghetto.
Revitalizer? - bullshit.

Anonymous said...

You're are a real piece of work John Hoff and your word about what you will allow or will not allow to be posted on you blog,are worthless. Two can play that game BUT I don't need to write and post comments about you, enough people can't stand you. I see why. Blinders removed.

Anonymous said...

White people are the root of all evil here? Really? The people responsible for 1/27 7:19's comment are assholes through and through and don't care who they're harming. They're destroying ALL people of all races with their greed and cruelty. It's not just because they're white. That's like blaming the physical and moral destruction of our community on people of color.

Johnny Northside! said...

I am printing part of a comment and rejecting the rest on the basis of race baiting, etc., as follows...

Yea, go on,7:19, you said you wanted a break and I am offering to break your neck ,HOW ABOUT IT? Reality is a motherfucker and CHICAGO rejects have fucked this city over (...)

Anonymous said...

What’s truly hilarious is that in your minds somehow Chicago is destroying your lives. Why do people come here from Chicago and who is responsible for that?? From what I can tell it is nothing but gang members killing gang members and guess what? That has not directly hurt my family or I. I have never been shot and I don’t know any good person who has. What I find horrible about this area is the dilapidated, crap shack houses with missing roofs on every block, the slumlords. Are they from Chicago? The sex offenders on every block, are they from Chicago? The people who approved low income housing concentrated all up and down Broadway and Lowry, are they from Chicago? What really bothers you? I think a look in the mirror is needed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some cognitive dissonance going on with Anon 11:57. These phenomena--crack houses, slumlords, sex offenders, gang members, etc.--are all connected, and people from all backgrounds and walks of life contribute to it. And it does affect you and me, and all of us, if bullets are flying--our property values sink, not to mention our general safety. Guess what--a lot of gang bullets end up in innocent people's houses, and haven't we had enough innocent kids and babies get shot in this neighborhood??
But I don't disagree with you on where the root of the problem lies. If we didn't have investor/slumlords pillaging properties, there wouldn't be places for lowlifes to hang out and spread their criminality. Just don't get too wound up on the how people focus on the details, cause it sounds like we're all on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Nice stained glass window. Too bad someone painted the woodwork and ruined it. Signed, former NoMi who left in 1983 when Cracked Up Belton and other PTB* opened the welfare floodgates to Baby Mama's from out of state and their hoodlum punk BFs were right behind. They, too, ruined it.

* Powers that be

Nellie Moore said...

Do we know when and where she was born? Is Yates her maiden name? I could do some digging on Ancestry and see what I can find.

Johnny Northside! said...

You're certainly welcome to dig as much as you like, but much digging has already been covered. Check out the Old North Minneapolis Facebook page and probably the personal Facebook page of Brian Finstad. And I believe Nicole Curtis, the Rehab Addict, who is the owner of the house is probably going to put a lot of that info in the public eye.

But if you're GOOD at that kind of thing, well, you can pick up the trail where Brian Finstad has taken it and jump off from there. If you're sincerely intersted in that kind of thing I would urge you to contact Brian Finstad.

Anonymous said...

1962.. moved from somini I have a treasure trove and you know who I am

Johnny Northside! said...

I have no idea what the comment above means and perhaps I should have rejected it as spam, but it's too odd to be spam...

Anyway. No idea what that comment means.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting, the loud mouth Johnny Northside won't let the real opinion about him to be posted. His is a sick man who needs help. He is toxic and prone to vile comment. I pray that he is discovered for the fraud that he is and is not longer read.

Johnny Northside! said...

At the end of the day, it's my blog and I'll publish the comments I feel like publishing and I do not even need a basis or justification for publishing or rejecting a comment.

Johnny Northside! said...

As of February 14, 2015, this little blog experiment to change the "image search" results in Google for "North Minneapolis" has failed.

http://adventuresofjohnnynorthside.blogspot.com/2015/02/year-long-blog-experiment-to-change.html