A former longtime Columbia Heights resident has changed the lives of millions of people around the world, and will continue to do so each time someone reaches for their sobriety medallion. That man is the late William Westman. Read his story here.
(Above: William Westman's 48-year sobriety medallion. Photo credit: Shelley Johnson)
April 9, 2021
Author Joe Bissen wrote about Hilltop Public Golf Links for his book "Fore! Gone. Minnesota's Lost Golf Courses, 1897-1999." You can read the chapter here.
Gary Schwartz submitted this photo from his childhood.
March 12, 2021
(Harriet Blythe on the right.)
(The Columbia Heights Public Library, bottom right corner, at the Heights Theater in 1928.)
(The Columbia Heights Public Library now at 3939 Central Ave.)
March 5, 2021
(Ava Ostrander on the right.)
Aaron Isaacs, of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum, hosted a Zoom presentation on the history of streetcars in Columbia Heights. Watch the presentation here.
(Article from the Minneapolis Star from January 1939.)
(Article from the Minneapolis Star from May 1979. Open the article above in a new tab to view full size.)
January 22, 2021
January 15, 2021
Oakwood School Spring Concert and Kassler’s by Barbara (Smith) Rue.
In the spring of 1953, I was in third grade at Oakwood School. It was located at 41st and 4th St. N.E. Columbia Heights. There was going to be a spring music concert. I needed a dress for this event. The only dress I had I was growing out of and it was faded and needed to be repaired.
I lived at 3712 University Ave N.E. There was no one to take me to get a new dress. Mom (Effie) had to take care of our newborn brother Ricky and also my little brother Denny, age 3. My mother did not drive so I had to walk to Herman’s Department Store. Located on 40th Ave between 4th and 5th St. on the Northside of 40th.
I was given a $5 bill for this purchase. Herman’s did not have any dresses my size. On my own, I decided to walk to Kassler’s on 41st and Central Ave on the Eastside. It was a warm sunny spring day so I walked, skipped, and sang my way to Kassler’s. Going to Kassler’s was like going to the Mall of America for the first time. It was awesome! At that time, there was nothing like it anywhere in our part of town.
Upon entering I was sort of lost. I saw our neighbor Lucille Nyborg, who worked there. She helped me find a very beautiful yellow dress with music notes on it. Lucille said it was a perfect dress for a spring music concert. The dress cost $3.95. With the change of $1.00 and nickel and my new dress in a bag, I headed home. I ran most of the way home as I was so excited to show my mother the beautiful dress I bought.
When I got home, mom said she was starting to get worried about me taking such a long time. I told her my story and then showed her my new dress. She loved it!
The day of the concert I was so proud to wear my beautiful yellow dress. It was a perfect day thanks to Kassler’s and Lucille Nyborg.
January 8, 2021
December 18, 2020
Longtime resident Jane Kibler submitted photos of ice skating at Huset Park in the 1980s.
December 11, 2020
Back in 2011, Gail Olson wrote about life in Columbia Heights in the 1950s. Olson, who lives in Columbia Heights, was a Northeaster Newspaper reporter for 30 years. (Article courtesy of the Northeaster and the Hennepin County Library.)
December 3, 2020
Below is a photo of the Columbia Heights Public Library from 1953 and the building today at 838 40th Ave NE.
November 20, 2020
Back in 2006, Gail Olson wrote about life in Columbia Heights in the 1950s. Olson, who lives in Columbia Heights, was a Northeaster Newspaper reporter for 30 years. (Articles courtesy of the Northeaster and the Hennepin County Library.)
November 13, 2020
Below are a few photos of skiing taking place at "Columbia Heights Park" in the 1940s. It is not confirmed, but "Columbia Heights Park" is more than likely Keyes Park. (Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.)
October 30, 2020
From the Anoka County Historical Society -
A map of Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Columbia Heights showing the layout of the cemetery and the plots with their numbers. Black in on white linen, now gray. The minute detail of the lots within the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. The legal description of the property on the lower-left corner. Hand inked on linen. According to "Anoka County Cemeteries - Public, Private, and Abandoned" this cemetery operated between 1901 and 1915 and was re-developed for residences in 1937. There are no cemetery records nor records saying where any reinterments took place prior to the re-development. It was located between 45th and 46th Ave and 4th and 6th St NE.
October 23, 2020
According to the Bootstrap Book, "Columbia and Oakwood Schools were the two polling places in the 1918 village elections."
October 16, 2020
The northeast corner of 40th Ave and 5th St was once home to the Heights Dairy Store. The photograph of the Heights Dairy Store (dated 1964) was submitted by Jennifer Rosengren.
October 9, 2020
The Columbia Heights football and volleyball teams are set to begin their 2020 season tonight, Oct. 9. Between the two programs, Columbia Heights has five state titles, which includes four titles in a five-year span from the volleyball team (1986, '87, 89, and '90). The football team won its first state title in 1979 with an 8-3 victory over Richfield.
(Above - A photo from the Minneapolis Star Tribune from the Hylanders' 8-3 victory for the 1979 Class AA high school football title.)
September 25, 2020
According to the Bootstrap Book, "The first park, Huset, formerly called City Park, was the scene of much of Columbia Heights' earliest activities. Cows and horses were pastured there. Children swam in a stream which ran through it. The original fire department was located there. Elmer Huset, a minister at First Lutheran Church and the city manager for a time, went to the state legislature and got 60 acres from 37th Ave. to the alley below 40th Ave., and from Quincy to 5th St. for about $10,000. The ordinance creating Huset Park was passed in 1939. About 30 acres of the property eventually became industrial land."
September 18, 2020
According to the Bootstrap Book, "McKenna Park at 47th and 7th St. is an 11-acre tract named for James McKenna, who was elected to the first Columbia Heights City Council in 1921. When the park was being developed in 1963, there was enough money in the department to clear and grade it, but not enough to get grass growing. At a public meeting, 79 residents rose up to demand grass because the sandy park was literally blowing away. Funds were found."
(Above - Columbia Heights Record article showing John P. Murzyn and his plans for the City parks. Below - Columbia Heights Record article showing the McKenna Park shelter being built.)
September 4, 2020
With a new school year upon us, let's take a look at the Columbia School Building. (Photo courtesy of the Bootstrap Book.)
According to the Bootstrap Book, "The north end was built in 1894, the south portion was added in 1911. Razed in 1967." The school was located on the northwest corner of 41st and Central Ave.
A Minneapolis Morning Tribune article states that the Columbia School Building was voted on in Oct of 1895 (see article below). (Article courtesy of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune.)
August 28, 2020
As demolition of the old NE Bank Building begins, let's take a look back to 1982 when the building was being constructed. (Photos courtesy of Terry Nightingale.)
August 21, 2020
A Columbia Heights couple recently found a hidden room in their home that is nearly 100 years old. You can watch the video below and read the article here. (Video courtesy KSTP-TV.)
August 14, 2020
Below is an aerial photo of southern Columbia Heights and Northeast Minneapolis from 1937. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online.)
August 7, 2020
The Hilltop Drive-In Theater, built in 1948 by Edmund Sullivan, was located at 47th and Central. The theater opened its doors on Aug 5, 1949, with showings of The Babe Ruth Story and remained at its site until 1972.
(Below - Newspaper story from the Columbia Heights Record - Aug 5, 1949.)
July 24, 2020
Advertisement from 1892 in which the Minneapolis Improvement Company Northeast held a competition for the name of the new development in Northeast Minneapolis.