History of Stevens Community

Stevens Community's rich history is traced back to the turn of the century when two property owners, Richard J. Mendenhall and Dr. Nathan B. Hill, owned most of the surrounding area.

The land was eventually sold and developed as a residential neighborhood, made up of a few large, single family homes. The Mendenhall greenhouses covered more than a block to the west, of what is now known as Stevens Square Park. In 1908, the park was named in honor of Colonel John Stevens, founder of Minneapolis. Landmarks of an era gone by can still be seen in the neighborhood, such as the water pump in the park. Women in the early 1900's depended on the water pump so they could have fresh water to do their chores. The pump is still in use today and many residents claim it's the purest water they've tasted.

The population in Minneapolis had soared from 200,000 in 1900 to 300,000 by 1910, and apartment housing was desperately needed for young professionals who worked in the city and wanted the advantages of living close to downtown. The first of the neighborhood's signature 3-1/2 story brownstone apartment buildings were constructed between 1912 and 1925, many of which have retained their classical features and are now modernized and refurbished Stevens Community Apartments.

 

With the added convenience of nearby trolley cars, a newly renovated Stevens Square Park, and an abundance of new apartments, this area became the ideal home for people who wanted the advantages of living close to downtown. Throughout the years, Stevens Square, unlike other Minneapolis neighborhoods, has retained its remarkable historic charm and design. Reminiscent of the turn of the century, people are still drawn to the area because of its urban village environment and its proximity to downtown. A diverse population of 4,500 people makes it one of the most densely populated areas in the city and contributes to the neighborhood's appeal.

Through the combined efforts of neighborhood organizations, city programs and committed individuals, the neighborhood is experiencing a renaissance. A dream once conceived in 1917, is about to become a reality for the Stevens Square Neighborhood. Third Avenue will be transformed into a new signature street for Minneapolis called "Avenue of the Arts." The Avenue of the Arts will provide a high profile centerpiece for the city to showcase the visual and performing arts and will feature public art and creative street scape elements and landscaping.

These combined efforts are making Stevens Square into an even more desirable neighborhood than it was 100 years ago.

Thanks to the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Study and the Stevens Square Community Organization for the historic information.


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