Editorial: Some things change, but a lot of things don’t

This issue of the Bugle tells the story of two area institutions that are marking their 40th anniversaries this year: Seal Hi-Rise, an affordable housing complex off Raymond Avenue in South St. Anthony (see story here) and the Goldstein Museum of Design on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus (see story here). Those landmark birthdays made us curious as to what else was going on in Bugleland 40 years ago, so we looked at the October-November 1976 issue of the Park Bugle to find out.

Looking through the 40-year-old paper made us recognize that change is constant, yet many of the changes announced in the 1976 Bugle aren’t a whole lot different than some of the new things coming our way in the next year. Front page headlines announced a free pickup of all dead elm wood from area residences to help control the spread of Dutch elm disease (emerald ash borer, anyone?), a neighborhood meeting on new street lights along Como Avenue (see the letter to the editor about LED lights here), swine flu shot clinics, and a fiscal crisis in St. Paul Public Schools that saw class sizes at St. Anthony Park Elementary School reaching 37 students per classroom in some grades.

Big news on page 8 announced the dedication of South St. Anthony Rec Center (now occupied by the Joy of the People soccer group) on Cromwell Street to Elizabeth Clark, a community leader who pushed for the building of the center but died before she could see it open. And a new wing opened at St. Anthony Park Elementary School that included a gymnasium and cafeteria (40 years later, the school is about to be remodeled and expanded, which we wrote about here). Nearly 900 people attended the dedication ceremony held in the new gym and were entertained by a 112-student choir and a 34-student band, the band and choir directed by the school’s two music teachers.

Another story announced the merger of two St. Anthony Park institutions: Luther Seminary and Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary. Advertisements in the 16-page paper included campaign ads (it was an election year), as well as advertisements for local businesses, including a coinoperated launderette in Milton Square, a spring bulb special at Hermes Floral on Larpenteur Avenue, a leather shop—Lederviva U.S.A—in Milton Square, a fall clearance sale at Micawber’s bookstore, and ads from some of the restaurants that served the area four decades ago: Bridgeman’s (now Finnish Bistro), All American Bowling Lanes and Bar (on Como Avenue west of Highway 280) and the Lamplighter Inn (where Muffuletta is now). A number of businesses that ran ads 40 years ago in the Bugle, still are: Carter Ave. Frame Shop, St. Anthony Park Bank (which is now Sunrise Banks), Park Service and the Bibelot Shop.

The takeaway from all this? Our communities are in a constant state of flux, and while change is a given, in so many ways the issues that keep people passionate and vocal are much the same. You can take a look at old Bugles at Bugle Archives. We’ve got every issue from the newspaper’s beginning in 1974.

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