SAP Lutheran Church hosts local history series

By Mary Mergenthal

Longtime residents of and recent arrivals to St. Anthony Park and the surrounding area are invited to attend a monthly series of talks about the history and environment of St. Anthony Park beginning at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13.

This neighborhood history course is sponsored by St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Ave. Sessions will be held from September through May at 7 p.m., one Tuesday a month at the church.

Augsburg University professor Kristin Anderson will give illustrated presentations covering a variety of topics using historic and contemporary images, as well as maps and aerial photographs.

The program series begins with a look at the spaces and places of the St. Anthony Park area, investigating the terrain and the neighborhood’s changing boundaries and borders, as well as exploring the mysterious Dakota trail that came through the area.

The Oct. 11 session will look at St. Anthony Park as a successful example of a 19th century “garden suburb.” Sessions on Nov. 1 and Dec. 13 will consider local religious and institutional spaces. The Jan. 10, 2023 session will be about our local schools, followed by housing types and styles on Feb. 14 and spaces for commerce and industry on March 14.

The April 11 session will consider issues of historic preservation in the neighborhood. The final meeting, on May 9, will include a panel of neighborhood elders, some of whom have spent their entire lives in the community.

Per CDC guidelines, masks are not required, but are preferred in church spaces when attending program sessions.

Depending on interest, the program organizers may offer walking tours in the spring and summer.

At the presentations, participants can enjoy treats prepared from recipes in vintage St. Anthony Park church cookbooks.

Also, neighborhood writer Adam Granger will be on hand to sell two books on neighborhood history, the late Roger Bergerson’s “History: One Darn Thing After Another, Tales of Como, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale and St. Anthony Park” and David A. Lanegran’s “St. Anthony Park: Portrait of a Community.” Originally published in 1987, the recent Lanegran reprint was spearheaded in 2020 by Granger, who steers profits into anti-graffiti work.

Meanwhile, another interesting facet of the history series: Program presenter Kristin Anderson grew up in St. Anthony Park and lives in the neighborhood.

Although she went to Oberlin College in Ohio, most of Kristin’s education was local. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with master’s and doctor’s degrees in art history and a master’s degree in church history from Luther Seminary.

Kristin is a professor in the Department of Art & Design at Augsburg in Minneapolis. In 2005, she received Augsburg’s Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning award for Excellence in Teaching.

Kristin is a past-president of the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, and she was the local co-chair for the 2018 Society of Architectural Historians International Conference in St. Paul. She is the chair of the Minnesota State Review Board for National Register of Historic Places designations.

Questions? Please contact Mary Mergenthal at mary.mergenthal@gmail.com, or 612-670-8510.

Mary Mergenthal, a longtime resident of St. Anthony Park and former editor of the Park Bugle.

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