Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis

Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis

Infobox neighborhood
official_name = Cedar-Riverside
native_name =
nickname = West Bank
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =


image_shield =

mapsize = 200px
map_caption = Location of Cedar-Riverside within the U.S. city of Minneapolis
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1= State
subdivision_type2= County
subdivision_type3= City
subdivision_type4= Community
subdivision_name= United States
subdivision_name1= Minnesota
subdivision_name2= Hennepin
subdivision_name3= Minneapolis
subdivision_name4= University
established= Founded
established_date= 1849
area_magnitude =
area_total =
TotalArea_sq_mi =
area_land =
LandArea_sq_mi =
area_water =
WaterArea_sq_mi =
area_water_percent =
area_urban =
UrbanArea_sq_mi =
area_metro =
MetroArea_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 7,545
population_density =
population_density_mi2 =
population_metro = 3,502,891
population_density_metro_km2 =
population_density_metro_mi2 =
population_urban = 387,970
population_density_urban_km2 =
population_density_urban_mi2 =
population_footnotes=cite web| title=Twin Cities Region Population and Household Estimates, 2006| url=http://www.metrocouncil.org/metroarea/2006PopulationEstimates.pdf | format=PDF | date=2006-04-01 | publisher=Metropolitan Council | accessdate= 2007-07-24] cite web |title=Table 2: Population Estimates for the 100 Most Populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas Based on July 1, 2006 Population Estimates: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau |url=http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/cb07-51tbl2.pdf | format = PDF | date = 2007-04-05 |accessdate=2007-04-16]
timezone= CST
utc_offset= -6
timezone_DST= CDT
utc_offset_DST= -5
latNS= N
longEW= W
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 55454
area_code = 612
website =
footnotes =
demographics =

The Cedar-Riverside, also referred to as the West Bank, is a neighborhood within Minneapolis, Minnesota. The boundaries of the neighborhood are the Mississippi River to the north and east, Interstate 94 to the south, and Hiawatha Avenue and Interstate 35W to the west. Cedar-Riverside is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the Twin Cities—in close proximity, there are urban poor of diverse ethnic backgrounds, college students, and middle-class urbanites.

The neighborhood is part of the larger University community, and is dominated by the West Bank campus of the large University of Minnesota's (U of M) Minneapolis Campus, which includes the Law School, Carlson School of Management and West Bank Arts Quarter. The two halves of the U of M are connected by the landmark Washington Avenue Bridge. The acquisition of a number of residential blocks by the University for expansion of the West Bank campus was controversial in the 60s. The West Bank campus now occupies

The neighborhood also features Augsburg College, a private liberal arts college and the College of St. Catherine’s Minneapolis Campus. The presence of these campuses brings a progressive flavor to the neighborhood.

Cedar-Riverside is ethnically diverse, due in large part to the presence of the Riverside Plaza and its 1,300 units. The Riverside Plaza is home to between 2,500 and 3,500 people, many of which are immigrants and refugees. Currently, most immigrants in the neighborhood come from the Northeast Africa. The high number of Somali immigrants in particular has earned the neighborhood the nickname “Little Somalia” or “Little Mogadishu.” Northeast Africans are the latest wave of foreign-born residents, following the Europeans of a century and more ago and the Vietnamese and other Asians of just twenty years back.

According to census data for 2000 from the City of Minneapolis, over 50% of the families in the neighborhood are considered very low income, and over 60% are low income. Residents of Cedar-Riverside are transitional; out of the 2,838 occupied housing units in the neighborhood, 2,547 are occupied by renters.

Many maps identify the area as the West Bank Theater District because of the many theaters in the area. The neighborhood is well known for its contingent of activists - from the housing co-op organizing in the 60's, anti-Vietnam war organizing, and the worker-owned co-op organizing from the 70's until today.


The neighborhood has been a port of entry for immigrants since Swedes, Germans, and Bohemians began arriving in large numbers during the late 1800s. The neighborhood has long struggled with poverty and crime and was home base to local hippies, protesters, and other counterculture phenomena of the sixties and early seventies. During those days, the neighborhood was known as the “Haight-Ashbury of the Midwest.”

The buildings in the Riverside Plaza were built in the early 70s to be mixed income housing. The towers of the Riverside Plaza -—with their signature colored panels—are a familiar landmark in Minneapolis. Some of the business’ that started during that time, Martha’s Antique’s, The Whale Leather Shop, Five Corners Saloon, Richter’s Drug Store, Smith’s Leather Shop and Depth of Field which is still there today.

The neighborhood’s past still has an influence in the present. Some of the businesses in the area hark back to an earlier time, like the now closed worker-controlled North Country Food Co-op and the punk hangout, Hard Times Café.

In the 1940s the Cedar Riverside was heavily Scandinavian. Postwar immigrants from all over Eastern Europe then settled in the area. The junction of Washington Ave., Cedar Ave., and 10th St. was known as Seven Corners. The Cedar-Riverside area had been known as "Snus Boulevard" because so many Scandinavians lived there.

Cedar Avenue became a hub of the Minneapolis Scandinavian community in the late 1800’s. Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish were spoken in many of the businesses, and in the early days, stars of Swedish American vaudeville entertained at Dania Hall, Mozart Hall and the Southern Theater. Where men in the community once worked in small businesses, or as skilled tradesmen, and workers for the railroad, flour mills, and breweries, Cedar-Riverside declined as a core community in the 1920s due to the impact of Prohibition on the entertainment district.

There was Samuelsen’s confectionery and soda shop, Hagen's appliance store, Moberg’s Norwegian deli, and a host of other Scandinavian-owned businesses. On Cedar Avenue was Dania hall where the Danish community would meet. An eclectic mix of Gothic and classical styles, the building included a dining hall and kitchen in the basement, commercial space on the first floor, offices for the Society of Dania plus billiard and reading rooms on the second floor. A theater/assembly hall on the third and fourth floors featured Scandinavian vaudeville acts and weekend dances. On the corner next to Dania Hall was the Breezy Point Tavern owned by Oscar Carlsen, a Norwegian immigrant from the turn of the century. Oscar had come to Minnesota working in the lumber camps. He drove the first motorized delivery truck for the Kato Brewery in Mankato and finally owned the tavern.

The West Bank, with the locally infamous Seven Corners district, mouldered into a skid row scene in the 1950s, setting the stage for its next phase: In the mid- to late '60s, the area became the center of the University-oriented Counter Culture and antiwar movement. A community of Hippies — and numerous students and hangers-on who emulated the Hippie lifestyle (at least on weekends) — lived in old rental houses in the area and congregated at coffeehouses, such as the Extemporé, The Scholar and the Broken Drum, and at bars, such as the Triangle Bar, the Viking, Caesar's, The Mixers and the Music Bar. (The latter burned down the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated, and eventually was replaced by a "people's park"). The Triangle often featured performers and recording artists Dave Rae, Tony Glover and John Koerner, who had associated to some degree with Bob Dylan during Dylan's brief Minneapolis sojourn. Some students from the era will remember going up on the roof at the Extemporé on Riverside Avenue and, more likely than not, refilling their glasses of juice with vodka they smuggled in.

The West Bank also was home to McCosh's secondhand book store, a center for Beat and Hippie left-leaning bookworms, and later Things, probably the first 'head' shop in the Twin Cities, which sold Counter Culture curios, antiwar buttons and posters, incense and drug paraphernalia. Marijuana, hashish and LSD were readily available from 'dealers' in the area after about 1967. At the same time, the antiwar movement began staging lively demonstrations at the 'U' and in downtown Minneapolis.

Fairview Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital figured prominently in the neighborhood, being only a few blocks away. Fairview and St.Mary's, which merged in 1986, later merged with the University of Minnesota Hospitals, forming a major medical complex straddling the Mississippi River. The organization is now known as University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Art culture

Cedar-Riverside is home to a rich arts culture. There are several playhouses and theatre groups in the area (like the Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Theatre in the Round, and the Southern Theater). There is also a hot music scene, with bands frequenting current local bars like the 400 Bar, the Red Sea, the Triple Rock Social Club, and the Cedar Cultural Center.

The West Bank music scene is also known as a catalyst for major musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Leo Kottke, Butch Thompson (Jazz Originals), Peter Ostroushko (Prairie Home Companion), Dave "Snaker" Ray (Koerner, Ray & Glover), Erik Anderson (The Wallets), Sean Blackburn (Prairie Home Companion), Bill Hinkley (Minnesota Music Hall of Fame), and Karen Mueller (Autoharp Hall of Fame).

Many of these musicians also taught, performed and/or jammed at West Bank School of Music, a West Bank legacy since 1970. The Cedar Cultural Center, Cafe Extempore, Scholar Coffeehouse, Riverside Cafe, Viking Bar, 400 Bar, 7 Corners, Whisky Junction, Cabooze and also Cedarfest have all been popular music venues in their time. KFAI community radio (started in 1978) has also been a mainstay at Cedar-Riverside in the Bailey building since 1991.

The arts flavor of the area is enhanced by the presence of the University of Minnesota’s West Bank Arts Quarter, which is home to the University’s arts programs. In fact, the University is the only in the nation with all of its arts disciplines located together in a single district.

Notable establishments

* [http://www.riversideplaza.net/ Riverside Plaza]
* [http://www.kfai.org/ KFAI Radio]
* [http://radiok.cce.umn.edu/ Radio K]
* [http://www.fairview-university.fairview.org/index.asp Fairview University Medical Center]
* [http://www.thecedar.org/ Cedar Cultural Center]
* [http://www.mixedblood.com/ The Mixed Blood Theatre]
* [http://www.southerntheater.org/ Southern Theater]
* [http://www.theatreintheround.org/ Theatre in the Round]
* [http://www.westbankmusic.org West Bank School of Music]

External links

* [http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/neighborhoods/cedarriverside_profile_home.asp Minneapolis Neighborhood Profile - Cedar-Riverside]
* [http://www.cedarriverside.com/index.html Cedar-Riverside Business Association]
* [http://www.westbankcc.org West Bank Community Coalition]
* [http://e-democracy.org/cr Cedar Riverside Neighbors Online Forum]

ee also

*Cedar-Riverside (Hiawatha Line station), light rail station on the Hiawatha Line.

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