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Rondo Neighborhood & I-94: Primary Sources: Archives & Records

Government Records

The Gale Family Library has several collections that document buildings and homes torn down in the Rondo neighborhood.

Minnesota Department of Transportation, Audio Visual Materials, 1907-1990.
Photograph prints and negatives and movie reels depicting highway construction and repair projects and project sites prior to road construction, showing neighborhoods, commercial buildings, residences, and bridges. The folder titled "Interstate 94 Construction Photographs - Ramsey County, February 1963-June 1965" documents the destruction of the Rondo neighborhood.  Each photograph is identified with the specific location, date, and time the photo was taken. Some street names are included.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Redevelopment Project Files, 1953-1969.
The majority of the records concern the Eastern and Western Redevelopment projects, which were conducted on more than 60 acres of land, located in neighborhoods to the immediate east and west sides of the State Capitol.  The portions related to Rondo neighborhood can be found in the Western Redevelopement Area appraisal files.  Properties were appraised for city acquisition and future demolition. Folders are arranged by street name and address and dates range from June 1953-January 1957, certain fodlers contain photographs of properties.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

196 Aurora Avenue, Housing Redevelopment Authority Records 196 Aurora Avenue, Housing Redevelopment Authority Records

Scans of an appraisal file for 196 Aurora Avenue (box number: 105.G.2.5B)

Saint Paul City Planning Board

Information Report to the Planning Board Regarding the Proposed Central routing of the "East-West Highway": submitted and approved by the board, May 12, 1950. 
MNHS call number: TE25.S2 S245 1950

St. Paul's Freeways: An Opportunity in Civic Design. 1967. 
MNHS call number:TE177.S23 A35 1967


Union Gospel Mission Administrative Records
Organizational records of a St. Paul evangelistic and social service institution that provided religious services, meals, shelter and other programs for the transient and homeless (1902-1992). Papers include information about freeway construction, property relocation and urban renewal activities for the Ober Boys Club, a Mission property located in the Rondo neighborhood. Maps, photographs and legal documentation are included.
Restriction: Access to records less than 25 years old requires written permission.
MNHS call numberDigital Finding Aid

Rondo Avenue, Inc. Records

Annual reports, articles of incorporation, bylaws, minutes of board and committee meetings, reminiscences, a few photographs, and some project files of an organization involved in commemorating and resurrecting the memory of the historic Rondo community.  Materials include files on annual Rondo Days festivals held in the early 1980s and in 2003 and 2008.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid


Hallie Q. Brown Community House Records

Records of an African American community center which had its beginnings in 1908 when African American members of the Odd Fellows and Masons fraternal lodges purchased six lots on Aurora Street between Kent and Mackubin located within St. Paul's largely African American Rondo neighborhood.

MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid


Published Memoir

Growing Up in St. Paul: The Rondo Years, 1948-1950, by Susanne Sebesta Heimbuch. 
In Ramsey County History, Vol. 46, no. 2 (summer 2011). 
MNHS call number: Reading Room F612.R22 R3 v.46:2

Kathryn Coram Gagnon: Operettas, Dancing, Parties, and a Growing Love of Music, an interview with Kate Cavett. 
In Ramsey County History, Vol. 39, no. 3 (fall 2004).
MNHS call number: Reading Room F612.R22 R3 v.39:3

Buelah Mae Baines Swan Remembers Piano Lessons and ’a Nice Vegetable Garden’ Out Back, an interview with Kate Cavett. 
In Ramsey County History, Vol. 39, no. 2 (summer 2004).
MNHS call number: Reading Room F612.R22 R3 v.39:2

The Days of Rondo, by Evelyn Fairbanks.
St. Paul, Minn: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1990.
MNHS call number: F605.1.F353 A3 1990, also available for purchase

Oral History

Oral History Interviews of the Rondo Oral History Project, 1997-1998, 2003-2004.
Collection of interviews, created by Hand in Hand Productions, capturing the lives and experiences of long time residents of St. Paul, Minnesota’s Rondo community. A mixed neighborhood with respect to ethnicity and income, it has been home to a significant African American population since the early 1900s and was a particularly vibrant community in the 1930s. The neighborhood was essentially devastated by the construction of Interstate Highway 94 through its center in the 1960s. Many of its African American inhabitants, businesses, churches, fraternal orders, and social clubs were displaced into more segregated locales where they faced discrimination in housing and other areas.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid, Digital Audio and Transcripts

Voices of Rondo: Oral Histories of Saint Paul’s Historic Black Community.
Minneapolis, MN: Syren Book Co., c2005.
MNHS call number: F613.S68 S887 2005 

Children of Rondo: Transcriptions of Rondo Oral History Interviews, edited by Kimberly Zielinski. 
Saint Paul, MN : Hamline University, Hamline University Press, c2006.
MNHS call number: F613.S68 S818 2006

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