Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Swede Hollow

I took the girls On Adventures this afternoon to a place called Swede Hollow. It's a lovely urban park, nestled into a ravine just a mile from downtown Saint Paul, and virtually unknown to many of the city's residents. In the mid-1800's the valley situated just below the Hamm's brewery had a railroad running thru it, and its steep sides made it undesirable for development. That didn't stop Swede Hollow from being settled by several hundred of the poorest of the early Swedish immigrants to the area. Later waves of immigrants from other countries landed there for a season, as they worked hard to become established and/or educated, but the name Swede Hollow stuck. In the 1950's it was determined that the lack of sanitation and the inaccesibility of the location made it unable to be used for habitation any longer; the city destroyed all the shacks in the hollow, and evicted the residents. Over the years the Hollow has been made into a wonderful park, unique in layout and character, though somewhat hard to get to for casual visitors. One of the entrances - the one we used today - is only accessible by descending a series of stairways into the ravine that are roughly equal to the height of an 8-10 story building. Anyway, the girls loved it, and we will probably go back, but on a slightly cooler day, as it heat and humidity took their toll on all three of us.

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