Letters: Graffiti was rampant in the ’60s

In reference to the letter, “SLOG: This neighborhood is not your enemy,” printed in the June 2013 Park Bugle, thanks to Marie Williams for her article about graffiti.

Graffiti was rampant in the 1960s, including in St. Anthony Park. I came to St. Anthony Park in the late ’50s and was aghast at the graffiti everywhere in our community. The thought was what to do about it?

The most visible sight was the water tower. Students from our high school and the University of Minnesota regularly climbed the stairs after dark and many painted their tag on the tower. The tower was an “attractive nuisance” and informed several council members of St. Paul’s liability if one of the students should fall and be injured or killed. Within one month, our water tower was painted, fenced and locked. At the same time, all of St. Paul’s water towers were secured.

The next graffiti target was the black railroad bridge over Raymond Avenue. It had paintings on both sides of the bridge. I painted the bridge twice and kept spray cans in my car for smaller hits.

A third major site was the west side of the real estate and insurance building along Knapp Street. With the owner’s help, I cleaned off the graffiti on the entire wall twice on the lower section.

There were numerous sites, including the traffic signal boxes, equipment at Dave’s hardware and the recreation building in Langford Park. In addition to the graffiti nuisance was the taping and stapling of notices on trees and posts along the streets. Many of those were university-generated, but some were for lost cats and dogs or local events.

St. Anthony Park has long been one of the most desirable communities in the Twin Cities. Let us all keep it that way.

Fred Steinhauser, 95, St. Anthony Park resident for 56 years

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