MISSISSIPPI RIVER - MINNESOTA 

When the Mississippi flows down, it spreads out over the broad valley making countless bayous of marshland, surrounding innumerable islands, while above its banks bluffs and hills with rounded, pointed, or squared contours, rise against the sky to form an idyllic back drop for the cities lying at its level.
—Minnesota: A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

True-blue Minnesotan Marianne McNamara writes about growing up around the Mississippi River in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for #AmericanGuideWeek Field Assignment #8: Waterways.
It is a river made up of North to South identities. There’s a Minnesota Mississippi. A Wisconsin Mississippi. An Iowa Mississippi. Illinois. Missouri. Kentucky. Tennessee. Arkansas. A Mississippi Mississippi. And a Louisiana Mississippi. This is the Minnesota Mississippi: 

Back in  the 1950s, when I was a girl, my family headed “Up North” for our summer vacations. In Minnesota, Up North is where people go to get away from the city. Not the mountains, not the shore. Up North is thousands of cabins on hundreds of lakes, surrounded by miles of forests, bogs and prairie. Perfect for fishing, swimming and just getting away from it all. We visited some of the familiar towns mentioned in my sixth grade Minnesota history book: Bemidji (home of legendary giants Paul Bunyan and Babe, the blue ox), Alexandria, Duluth (port city on Lake Superior), Park Rapids. 
One of the most memorable experiences from our travels was a stop at Itasca State Park, headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. I thought I knew the size of the river because it flowed through Saint Paul, near my grandmother’s house, on its long, 2,500 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It was wide and deep, with a strong current. But at Itasca, the Mississippi began as a shallow stream at the north end of Lake Itasca. I splashed across the ankle-deep river waters with my brothers.
The Mississippi has flowed through Minnesota for more than a million years. Known as the state of 10,000 lakes, the land was shaped during the Wisconsin period of the Great Ice Age, about 75,000 years ago. Powerful glaciers carved out rock formations creating the beds and valleys of Minnesota’s modern day lakes and rivers, including the Mississippi. Saint Paul, the state’s capitol and second most populous city (behind Minneapolis), was built on a series of bluffs rising up from the river to the surrounding plains.
Today, I live in Saint Paul, just a few miles from the Mississippi. I have always considered the Mississippi my river, just as I consider Minnesota my state and Saint Paul my hometown. I have great respect for the river and love her spectacular beauty. 
In the fall, I would argue there’s not a prettier sight anywhere than the banks of the Mississippi, right here in my hometown, when the sugar maples and sumacs flame red, orange and yellow.

Editor’s Note: Marianne McNamara is mom to one half of the A/G co-editor duo and mom-in-law to the other half. 
* * *
Marianne McNamara is a retired jack of all trades turned writer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Find her at auntshoe.blogspot.com.
Zoom Info
MISSISSIPPI RIVER - MINNESOTA 

When the Mississippi flows down, it spreads out over the broad valley making countless bayous of marshland, surrounding innumerable islands, while above its banks bluffs and hills with rounded, pointed, or squared contours, rise against the sky to form an idyllic back drop for the cities lying at its level.
—Minnesota: A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

True-blue Minnesotan Marianne McNamara writes about growing up around the Mississippi River in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for #AmericanGuideWeek Field Assignment #8: Waterways.
It is a river made up of North to South identities. There’s a Minnesota Mississippi. A Wisconsin Mississippi. An Iowa Mississippi. Illinois. Missouri. Kentucky. Tennessee. Arkansas. A Mississippi Mississippi. And a Louisiana Mississippi. This is the Minnesota Mississippi: 

Back in  the 1950s, when I was a girl, my family headed “Up North” for our summer vacations. In Minnesota, Up North is where people go to get away from the city. Not the mountains, not the shore. Up North is thousands of cabins on hundreds of lakes, surrounded by miles of forests, bogs and prairie. Perfect for fishing, swimming and just getting away from it all. We visited some of the familiar towns mentioned in my sixth grade Minnesota history book: Bemidji (home of legendary giants Paul Bunyan and Babe, the blue ox), Alexandria, Duluth (port city on Lake Superior), Park Rapids. 
One of the most memorable experiences from our travels was a stop at Itasca State Park, headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. I thought I knew the size of the river because it flowed through Saint Paul, near my grandmother’s house, on its long, 2,500 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It was wide and deep, with a strong current. But at Itasca, the Mississippi began as a shallow stream at the north end of Lake Itasca. I splashed across the ankle-deep river waters with my brothers.
The Mississippi has flowed through Minnesota for more than a million years. Known as the state of 10,000 lakes, the land was shaped during the Wisconsin period of the Great Ice Age, about 75,000 years ago. Powerful glaciers carved out rock formations creating the beds and valleys of Minnesota’s modern day lakes and rivers, including the Mississippi. Saint Paul, the state’s capitol and second most populous city (behind Minneapolis), was built on a series of bluffs rising up from the river to the surrounding plains.
Today, I live in Saint Paul, just a few miles from the Mississippi. I have always considered the Mississippi my river, just as I consider Minnesota my state and Saint Paul my hometown. I have great respect for the river and love her spectacular beauty. 
In the fall, I would argue there’s not a prettier sight anywhere than the banks of the Mississippi, right here in my hometown, when the sugar maples and sumacs flame red, orange and yellow.

Editor’s Note: Marianne McNamara is mom to one half of the A/G co-editor duo and mom-in-law to the other half. 
* * *
Marianne McNamara is a retired jack of all trades turned writer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Find her at auntshoe.blogspot.com.
Zoom Info
MISSISSIPPI RIVER - MINNESOTA 

When the Mississippi flows down, it spreads out over the broad valley making countless bayous of marshland, surrounding innumerable islands, while above its banks bluffs and hills with rounded, pointed, or squared contours, rise against the sky to form an idyllic back drop for the cities lying at its level.
—Minnesota: A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

True-blue Minnesotan Marianne McNamara writes about growing up around the Mississippi River in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for #AmericanGuideWeek Field Assignment #8: Waterways.
It is a river made up of North to South identities. There’s a Minnesota Mississippi. A Wisconsin Mississippi. An Iowa Mississippi. Illinois. Missouri. Kentucky. Tennessee. Arkansas. A Mississippi Mississippi. And a Louisiana Mississippi. This is the Minnesota Mississippi: 

Back in  the 1950s, when I was a girl, my family headed “Up North” for our summer vacations. In Minnesota, Up North is where people go to get away from the city. Not the mountains, not the shore. Up North is thousands of cabins on hundreds of lakes, surrounded by miles of forests, bogs and prairie. Perfect for fishing, swimming and just getting away from it all. We visited some of the familiar towns mentioned in my sixth grade Minnesota history book: Bemidji (home of legendary giants Paul Bunyan and Babe, the blue ox), Alexandria, Duluth (port city on Lake Superior), Park Rapids. 
One of the most memorable experiences from our travels was a stop at Itasca State Park, headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. I thought I knew the size of the river because it flowed through Saint Paul, near my grandmother’s house, on its long, 2,500 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It was wide and deep, with a strong current. But at Itasca, the Mississippi began as a shallow stream at the north end of Lake Itasca. I splashed across the ankle-deep river waters with my brothers.
The Mississippi has flowed through Minnesota for more than a million years. Known as the state of 10,000 lakes, the land was shaped during the Wisconsin period of the Great Ice Age, about 75,000 years ago. Powerful glaciers carved out rock formations creating the beds and valleys of Minnesota’s modern day lakes and rivers, including the Mississippi. Saint Paul, the state’s capitol and second most populous city (behind Minneapolis), was built on a series of bluffs rising up from the river to the surrounding plains.
Today, I live in Saint Paul, just a few miles from the Mississippi. I have always considered the Mississippi my river, just as I consider Minnesota my state and Saint Paul my hometown. I have great respect for the river and love her spectacular beauty. 
In the fall, I would argue there’s not a prettier sight anywhere than the banks of the Mississippi, right here in my hometown, when the sugar maples and sumacs flame red, orange and yellow.

Editor’s Note: Marianne McNamara is mom to one half of the A/G co-editor duo and mom-in-law to the other half. 
* * *
Marianne McNamara is a retired jack of all trades turned writer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Find her at auntshoe.blogspot.com.
Zoom Info

MISSISSIPPI RIVER - MINNESOTA 

When the Mississippi flows down, it spreads out over the broad valley making countless bayous of marshland, surrounding innumerable islands, while above its banks bluffs and hills with rounded, pointed, or squared contours, rise against the sky to form an idyllic back drop for the cities lying at its level.

Minnesota: A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

True-blue Minnesotan Marianne McNamara writes about growing up around the Mississippi River in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for #AmericanGuideWeek Field Assignment #8: Waterways.

It is a river made up of North to South identities. There’s a Minnesota Mississippi. A Wisconsin Mississippi. An Iowa Mississippi. Illinois. Missouri. Kentucky. Tennessee. Arkansas. A Mississippi Mississippi. And a Louisiana Mississippi. This is the Minnesota Mississippi: 

Back in  the 1950s, when I was a girl, my family headed “Up North” for our summer vacations. In Minnesota, Up North is where people go to get away from the city. Not the mountains, not the shore. Up North is thousands of cabins on hundreds of lakes, surrounded by miles of forests, bogs and prairie. Perfect for fishing, swimming and just getting away from it all. We visited some of the familiar towns mentioned in my sixth grade Minnesota history book: Bemidji (home of legendary giants Paul Bunyan and Babe, the blue ox), Alexandria, Duluth (port city on Lake Superior), Park Rapids. 

One of the most memorable experiences from our travels was a stop at Itasca State Park, headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. I thought I knew the size of the river because it flowed through Saint Paul, near my grandmother’s house, on its long, 2,500 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It was wide and deep, with a strong current. But at Itasca, the Mississippi began as a shallow stream at the north end of Lake Itasca. I splashed across the ankle-deep river waters with my brothers.

The Mississippi has flowed through Minnesota for more than a million years. Known as the state of 10,000 lakes, the land was shaped during the Wisconsin period of the Great Ice Age, about 75,000 years ago. Powerful glaciers carved out rock formations creating the beds and valleys of Minnesota’s modern day lakes and rivers, including the Mississippi. Saint Paul, the state’s capitol and second most populous city (behind Minneapolis), was built on a series of bluffs rising up from the river to the surrounding plains.

Today, I live in Saint Paul, just a few miles from the Mississippi. I have always considered the Mississippi my river, just as I consider Minnesota my state and Saint Paul my hometown. I have great respect for the river and love her spectacular beauty. 

In the fall, I would argue there’s not a prettier sight anywhere than the banks of the Mississippi, right here in my hometown, when the sugar maples and sumacs flame red, orange and yellow.

Editor’s Note: Marianne McNamara is mom to one half of the A/G co-editor duo and mom-in-law to the other half. 

* * *

Marianne McNamara is a retired jack of all trades turned writer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Find her at auntshoe.blogspot.com.

GARRISON KEILLOR - MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

Happy American Guide Week, everyone! To celebrate, we’re going to be presenting a cross-section of stories from around the country - different states, cultures, traditions, and people.

So you all listen to The Moth, right? According to Garrison Keillor, it’s a show that makes women whoop. Well, we get excited, that’s for sure.

In this dispatch for American Guide Week’s Field Assignment #3: History, The Moth sends us Mr. Keillor’s recollections from the 1940s and ’50s Minneapolis of his youth—a city of burlesque houses, the wafting fumes of YMCA pool chlorine, and summer afternoons spent in the library.

* * *

The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. Find The Moth on Tumblr at moth-stories.tumblr.comsee/hear more on their website,  follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.

ROBBINSDALE, MINNESOTA - STATION TO STATION

…a network of railroads spun from the Twin Cities … diverging east and west as far as the eye can follow

Minnesota, A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

These train tracks run underneath the 36th Ave overpass in Robbinsdale, a northwest Minneapolis suburb. I’d visited back in April, but returned in May once the trees had finally leafed out and again in June. The last visit was with some friends from work who’d agreed to model for me. Once it started getting dark, we actually ran into some deer near the tracks.

The resulting photos were used as reference material for my painting, shown as the final picture in this set:

Robbinsdale, Minn., Oil on Canvas, 24 x 48 inches, 2013

Editors’ note: Some of Nate’s paintings will soon be featured in the group show “Heart of Art”—the inaugural exhibition at Anna Zorina Gallery in New York, on view from September 7 through October 19. Visit annazorinagallery.com for more information.

* * *

Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs —beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists), dim with beauty (Southern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr atnburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.

* * *

THE AMERICAN GUIDE is joining STATION TO STATION for a cross-country train ride. Stop: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Follow your guide along the rails and see America. [Track A/G’s trip here]  

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE - MINNESOTA - MISSOURI - CALIFORNIA 

"You should enter a ballpark the way you enter a church."

—Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Left Handed Pitcher, Boston Red Sox (1969-1978) and Montreal Expos (1979-1982)

Guide Notes: (Pictured, top to bottom)

Minneapolis, Minnesota. June 29, 2013. Royals 2 Twins 6. 

Kansas City, Missouri. July 4, 2013. Indians 7 Royals 10.

Anaheim, California. July 24, 2013. Twins 0 Angels 1. 

Los Angeles, California. July 25, 2013. Reds 5 Dodgers 2. 

San Francisco, California. July 27, 2013. Cubs 1 Giants 0.  

Oakland, California. July 28, 2013. Angels 6 A’s 10. 

San Diego, California. July 30, 2013. Reds 2 Padres 4. 

* * *

Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs — beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.

NEAR WORTHINGTON, MINNESOTA - I-90

Open year-round, Interstate 90 in Minnesota is 276 miles and traverses the southern side of the state, parallel to the Minnesota-Iowa state line. The route connects the cities of Worthington, Albert Lea, and Austin. 

Near Worthington, Minn., Oil on Canvas, 20 x 42 inches, 2013

* * *

Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. he curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs — beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.

TEN PIN JESUS - SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
There’s a friendly reminder when you walk into the St. Francis Bowling Center in Saint Paul, Minn., players are asked to “be courteous and respectful to other players by using appropriate, Christian behavior.”
That’s because this is a church basement bowling alley.  
Once common across the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, there are less than 200 church bowling lanes left in America today. German immigrants started building these holy alleys in the 1860s as meeting places and moral refuges for wholesome, after-quitting-time fun (i.e. to keep family breadwinners from blowing their paychecks at the bar).
Most started closing down in the 1980s and ’90s. But, you might be glad to know, some of the church lanes that are left now sell beer.
* * *
Tom McNamara is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.
Zoom Info
TEN PIN JESUS - SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
There’s a friendly reminder when you walk into the St. Francis Bowling Center in Saint Paul, Minn., players are asked to “be courteous and respectful to other players by using appropriate, Christian behavior.”
That’s because this is a church basement bowling alley.  
Once common across the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, there are less than 200 church bowling lanes left in America today. German immigrants started building these holy alleys in the 1860s as meeting places and moral refuges for wholesome, after-quitting-time fun (i.e. to keep family breadwinners from blowing their paychecks at the bar).
Most started closing down in the 1980s and ’90s. But, you might be glad to know, some of the church lanes that are left now sell beer.
* * *
Tom McNamara is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.
Zoom Info
TEN PIN JESUS - SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
There’s a friendly reminder when you walk into the St. Francis Bowling Center in Saint Paul, Minn., players are asked to “be courteous and respectful to other players by using appropriate, Christian behavior.”
That’s because this is a church basement bowling alley.  
Once common across the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, there are less than 200 church bowling lanes left in America today. German immigrants started building these holy alleys in the 1860s as meeting places and moral refuges for wholesome, after-quitting-time fun (i.e. to keep family breadwinners from blowing their paychecks at the bar).
Most started closing down in the 1980s and ’90s. But, you might be glad to know, some of the church lanes that are left now sell beer.
* * *
Tom McNamara is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.
Zoom Info
TEN PIN JESUS - SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
There’s a friendly reminder when you walk into the St. Francis Bowling Center in Saint Paul, Minn., players are asked to “be courteous and respectful to other players by using appropriate, Christian behavior.”
That’s because this is a church basement bowling alley.  
Once common across the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, there are less than 200 church bowling lanes left in America today. German immigrants started building these holy alleys in the 1860s as meeting places and moral refuges for wholesome, after-quitting-time fun (i.e. to keep family breadwinners from blowing their paychecks at the bar).
Most started closing down in the 1980s and ’90s. But, you might be glad to know, some of the church lanes that are left now sell beer.
* * *
Tom McNamara is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.
Zoom Info
TEN PIN JESUS - SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
There’s a friendly reminder when you walk into the St. Francis Bowling Center in Saint Paul, Minn., players are asked to “be courteous and respectful to other players by using appropriate, Christian behavior.”
That’s because this is a church basement bowling alley.  
Once common across the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, there are less than 200 church bowling lanes left in America today. German immigrants started building these holy alleys in the 1860s as meeting places and moral refuges for wholesome, after-quitting-time fun (i.e. to keep family breadwinners from blowing their paychecks at the bar).
Most started closing down in the 1980s and ’90s. But, you might be glad to know, some of the church lanes that are left now sell beer.
* * *
Tom McNamara is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.
Zoom Info
TEN PIN JESUS - SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
There’s a friendly reminder when you walk into the St. Francis Bowling Center in Saint Paul, Minn., players are asked to “be courteous and respectful to other players by using appropriate, Christian behavior.”
That’s because this is a church basement bowling alley.  
Once common across the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, there are less than 200 church bowling lanes left in America today. German immigrants started building these holy alleys in the 1860s as meeting places and moral refuges for wholesome, after-quitting-time fun (i.e. to keep family breadwinners from blowing their paychecks at the bar).
Most started closing down in the 1980s and ’90s. But, you might be glad to know, some of the church lanes that are left now sell beer.
* * *
Tom McNamara is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.
Zoom Info

TEN PIN JESUS - SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA

There’s a friendly reminder when you walk into the St. Francis Bowling Center in Saint Paul, Minn., players are asked to “be courteous and respectful to other players by using appropriate, Christian behavior.”

That’s because this is a church basement bowling alley.  

Once common across the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, there are less than 200 church bowling lanes left in America today. German immigrants started building these holy alleys in the 1860s as meeting places and moral refuges for wholesome, after-quitting-time fun (i.e. to keep family breadwinners from blowing their paychecks at the bar).

Most started closing down in the 1980s and ’90s. But, you might be glad to know, some of the church lanes that are left now sell beer.

* * *

Tom McNamara is the co-editor of THE AMERICAN GUIDE.

STEARNS COUNTY, MINNESOTA

ST. CLOUD (alt. 1,032; pop. 21,000), on the Mississippi River, which forms the eastern boundary of Stearns County, is the county seat and trade center for a large agricultural area that extends in all directions…In other parts of the country, St. Cloud’s importance rests on its numerous quarries, the stones of which have been used since the 1870’s by builders and architects throughout the United States for many of their most noteworthy structures.

— Minnesota, A State Guide (WPA, 1938)
Artist and Guide to Minnesota Nate Burbeck scouts around the country, shooting panoramic images to use as the basis of his paintings. Yesterday, we posted part one of his dispatch — the photos from his latest reconnoiter. Today, Nate provides images of the process and results:
Stearns County, Minn., Oil on Canvas, 24x50 inches, 2013.
* * *
Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs — beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013” on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.
Zoom Info

STEARNS COUNTY, MINNESOTA

ST. CLOUD (alt. 1,032; pop. 21,000), on the Mississippi River, which forms the eastern boundary of Stearns County, is the county seat and trade center for a large agricultural area that extends in all directions…In other parts of the country, St. Cloud’s importance rests on its numerous quarries, the stones of which have been used since the 1870’s by builders and architects throughout the United States for many of their most noteworthy structures.

— Minnesota, A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

Artist and Guide to Minnesota Nate Burbeck scouts around the country, shooting panoramic images to use as the basis of his paintings. Yesterday, we posted part one of his dispatch — the photos from his latest reconnoiter. Today, Nate provides images of the process and results:

Stearns County, Minn., Oil on Canvas, 24x50 inches, 2013.

* * *

Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. He curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs — beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013” on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.

WHITE BEAR LAKE / STEARNS COUNTY, MINNESOTA

WHITE BEAR LAKE, 142.9 m. (941 alt., 2,600 pop.), is a resort town favored by St. Paulites. Indians believed that the lake, whose shores are lined with summer homes, was haunted by the spirit of a white bear, slain by a brave as it was about to attack his beloved.

— Minnesota, A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

Artist and Guide to Minnesota Nate Burbeck scouts around the country, shooting panoramic images to use as the basis of his paintings. We’ll be bringing you another post with the results of this expedition, but for now, part one of his dispatch:

The first cluster of photos I took was in White Bear Lake, Minn., a northern, “inner-ring” suburb of St. Paul that I suppose I would categorize as older (post-War housing boom), with maybe even slightly blue-collar type of neighborhoods — at least when compared to some of the further out, newer exurbs I’ve photographed before. 

A few weeks later I drove up I-94 to Stearns County, Minn., to take pictures of a small cluster of houses just outside the St. Joseph/St. Cloud area. This part of Central Minnesota (and Stearns County in particular) is considered by many to be one of the more politically conservative areas in the state. I even saw a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag flying on a pole in one of the neighboring yards (not pictured here). Though still mostly rural, the area’s been steadily growing as more people have flocked to commuter towns spilling out of the Twin Cities Metro. The housing sites I photographed here worked very well and thankfully the weather was nice and gloomy — just what I was hoping for. It’s a lot more open than the more established suburb of White Bear Lake, and the house/backyard I ended up using for my painting is right next to unused wooded areas and small-scale farmland that surrounds it.

* * *

Nate Burbeck is a State Guide to Minnesota and an At-Large Guide to the Midwest. he curates a few regionally-themed art tumblrs — beyond 9th avenue (Northeastern artists), fly over art (Midwestern artists) and in the new frontier (Western artists) and has himself been named one of “Ten Artists to Watch in 2013" on the Walker Art Center’s mnartists blog. Follow Nate’s work on Tumblr at nburbeck.tumblr.com or on his website.

Post offices in Philip, South Dakota and Balaton, Minnesota, documented as a part of Mary Rothlisberger’s very cool photography project, GOD BLESS THE USPS.

In Rothlisberger’s words, the project

seeks to appreciate, evidence, celebrate and archive the post offices of the United States with careful attention to rural and small-town communities. … SAVE THE ECONOMY, SEND MORE LETTERS.

Follow GOD BLESS THE USPS on Tumblr and check out Rothlisberger’s website for more great work. 

(h/t cabin-time)

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - STATION TO STATION

Even the casual visitor (when he overcomes his bewilderment and determines into which city he has wandered), cannot fail to note certain obvious differences. The St. Paul skyline is all of a piece, Minneapolis sprawls; St. Paul is hilly, Minneapolis level; St. Paul’s bridges leap down from the high shore to the loop; in Minneapolis they snake across the river with no regard for distance; St. Paul’s loop streets are narrow and concentrated, while in its twin city the center of activity extends many blocks along the broad shopping avenues. Minneapolis marks its streets and ornaments its lakes, but leaves its river shore ragged and unkempt below the cream-colored elevators. St. Paul makes much of its river shore but illumines no street sign for a nervous driver. St. Paul has already attained a degree of mellowness and seems to be clinging to its Victorian dignity, while in Minneapolis dignity is less prized than modern spruceness. The visitor from the East will perhaps feel more at home in St. Paul; if from the West he is likely to prefer Minneapolis.

—Minnesota: A State Guide (WPA, 1938)

* * *

Mark Ryan is an environmental engineer from the Twin Cities.

* * *

THE AMERICAN GUIDE is joining STATION TO STATION for a cross-country train ride. Stop: Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Follow your guide along the rails and see America. [Track A/G’s trip here]