SponsorAd

Categorized | NEWS

Bus barn site has rich history in the Midway

Posted on 13 March 2014 by robwas66

Redevelopment of the former Snelling bus barn site, and possibly Midway Center, would bring change to a large block that is rich with community history. The superblock is bounded by University, Pascal, St. Anthony and Snelling avenues.

Redevelopment of the former Snelling bus barn site, and possibly Midway Center, would bring change to a large block that is rich with community history. The superblock is bounded by University, Pascal, St. Anthony and Snelling avenues.

By JANE MCCLURE

Redevelopment of the former Snelling bus barn site, and possibly Midway Center, would bring change to a large block that is rich with community history. The superblock is bounded by University, Pascal, St. Anthony and Snelling avenues. It has been occupied by dozens of different businesses and enterprises over the decades.

One of the first to make his mark was Minnesota pioneer, fur trader and entrepreneur Norman Kittson. Kittson, whose mansion stood where the Cathedral of St. Paul is now, played many roles in city and state history. He was the St. Paul mayor , a railroad magnate and great fan of horse racing. A good part of the block was the site of his stables and race track. His horses, which won many national races, were stabled here and near Philadelphia.

But as the St. Paul grew, pressure came for change. The large block became the yard for what evolved into the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company or Twin Cities Lines. The University Ave. streetcar was built in 1890. Photos of University Ave. from the early to mid-20th century show the property south of University filled with streetcars. A large maintenance garage was built in 1907. Streetcars were repaired and built here.

But as times changed, and the automobile became dominant, the streetcar system was shut down. The larger property along University became the site of Midway Shopping Center, which opened in 1957 after more than two years’ planning. It and the Highland Shopping Center in Highland Village were the city’s answers to suburban malls. Newspaper articles describing the opening of Midway Center note that merchants kept bowls of nickels on their counters, so customers could plug the nearby on-street parking meters on their return trips.

Another major development at that time was the construction of Midway National Bank’s building at the southeast corner of University and Snelling. Further development then didn’t occur until the 1990s when front lots were sold for development of McDonalds, Perkins and a small strip mall.

The bus barn was replaced in 2001, but not after a spirited fight to save it by some historic preservationists.

Before and since the bus barn’s demise dozens of development ideas for Midway Center have been discussed. One idea floated in the 1990s was to build a hotel-entertainment complex south of the shopping center. A transit hub with shops on the bus barn site was eyed at one time, as was a National Guard armory and a headquarters for Metropolitan Council. Plans for Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot came and went, as did ideas to relocate Walgreens and Big Top Liquors on the Midway Center property.

Chanhassen Dinner Theater
FixIt Clinic
FixIt Clinic

St. Paul Ballet

 

Discovery Club

U of M Brain Study

Nilles-Filler Combo Online ad