Since my birthday fell on a Sunday this year, Lee and I decided to explore downtown a little. Early Sunday mornings are generally a great time to see a downtown area of a major city, and I was particularly excited about seeing the sculpture garden. Lee had taken a look at our Roadside America app and saw some cool little places to stop and see along the way. Yes, Roadside America isn’t just for highways, it also has some cool treasures in big cities as well. Today’s few stops were particularly special.
First up was the Washburn Park Water Tower. We weren’t sure what we would find, but this turned out to be the coolest part of the day. Here’s the blurb from a plaque at the site:
“The history of the water tower, and of an earlier tower on this site, is closely linked to the Washburn brothers, Cadwallader and William, who initiated the development of the Washburn Park known also as Tangletown. The original tower was built 1893 to supply water for the Memorial Orphan Asylum by the Washburn brothers, Cadwallder and William. Water was pumped from nearby Minnehaha Creek to the tower and then piped to the orphanage at the site where Ramsey Middle school stands today at 50th and Nicollet. The tower was then purchased by the city of Minneapolis and connected to the city water supply in 1915. The tower you see, built in 1932 by the City of Minneapolis, was designed by these professionals, who lived in the neighborhood. This 110-foot-high tower can hold 1,350,000 gallons, nearly eight times the capacity of the old tower. It is drained in the fall and filled in the spring to provide a local head for water pressure throughout south Minneapolis during the summer. Since 1983, the Washburn Water Tower has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in recognition of its unique design and monumental sculptures of eagles and the Guardians of Health.”
The water tower has beautiful statues surrounding it and the neighborhood it was a part of was beautiful.
After this park we stopped at a very small statue in a persons yard. It’s really important that places to visit on private property we are respectful, but in this case since it was close to the road Lee was able to get up close and personal. (I had also seen numerous notes online from other people recently who had said that the owner’s did not mind people walking up the walkway to take pictures, as long as they didn’t come to or around the house. – Lee) It is a beautiful wooden statue of the Lorax which is Lee’s absolute favorite Dr. Seuss character. Makes sense we are fans, because he does speak for the trees 🙂 (
After visiting these two out of the way locations, we excitedly headed towards the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Unfortunately as it was later in the day the gardens were pretty crowded, but we hoped that we would maintain social distancing because it was such a large area.
Actually the deeper we went in the less impressed I was. People were not even trying to social distance, and I really wasn’t that impressed by the art. We have seen lots of sculpture gardens throughout the US and despite the beauty of the grounds the sculptures themselves really didn’t speak to me. Of course, art is subjective, but it all felt very “flat” and the crowds certainly did not help.
My two favorite sculptures were a large LOVE sculpture and of course the giant spoon. That was totally amazing and since it was a fountain, it was somewhat interactive which I liked.
We talked about walking across the bridge, but I decided to call it. The dog wasn’t behaving that well, it was very hot and humid, and the crowds were aggressively not maintaining their distance. What I mean by that is people had all the space they needed to keep their distance but instead kept walking straight into our space, over and over again. And like I said with a couple of exceptions we just didn’t like the art. Lee and I decided to go find some lunch and go back to some of the smaller funkier sites in the hopes that we could avoid the crowds.
What happened next set the day on its head, but I am going to stop here and share that story with you next time.
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