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Fictitious Minneapolis street addresses: A guide for writers.
July 31, 2013 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Let’s say you’re a writer, working a novel set in Minneapolis. Your protagonist arrives home after a long day of doing whatever it is your protagonist does all day. To this point, you’ve been very specific with local landmarks and a general feeling of the city — your protagonist rides the 21A, eats breakfast at the Grand Cafe, and meets his or her attorney in an office on the 12th floor of the Rand Tower. All good so far. You’ve set the scene very effectively. People are going to say, “This is a great Minneapolis novel" after they read it. However, the time has now come for you to insert a specific street address into the text. You like specifics, and you need a real-sounding mailing address for, say, a situation where the protagonist receives a mysterious letter. How will you accomplish this? Here you have a problem. You only have two options, neither one very good.

When You Plan, You Begin With A B C

Some more information about Minneapolis street names.

If you still need help getting around.
posted by cthuljew (104 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, this is great. I love stuff like this, little local ins-and-outs. It makes NYC seem almost sensible and well laid-out. Thanks for posting!
posted by nevercalm at 8:34 AM on July 31, 2013


Find a big empty lot somewhere in the city and put a (fictitious) building on it that suits your needs. There's your real-yet-fictitious address.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had a friend who was startled by 25 1/2 St on the west side of Hennepin. I told him that it used to be 23rd east of Lyndale, but, when that neighborhood fell on hard times, it had to sell the street to the ritzier neighborhood.

Of course, they believed me.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Minneapolis rocks for it's streets. If I remember correctly they are alphabetical. so if you are going up the alphabet you are going West. Down East. They were also color coded, by area of town or suburb. Again, I am going off 20 year old memories, but I loved driving around there. Some of the one ways sucked, but otherwise, that city rocks for driving in. Nothing like Chicago or Seattle.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Googling "This is a great Minneapolis novel" returns exactly 2 results, both related to this piece...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:43 AM on July 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ed • 2 days ago
this is why all great Twin Cities literature is set in St. Paul. Fictitious streets are no problem there.



If you attempt to use Google Maps in St. Paul, you will discover that approximately 65% of its streets are fictitious.


I would not, however, say this is "no problem."
posted by louche mustachio at 8:44 AM on July 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Point of order on his note about Wentworth Ave (which I live on, thankyouverymuch): it's not alphabetical-order-defying, because the alpha order doesn't kick in until you're west of Lyndale. The streets between Nicollet and Lyndale are : Blaisdell, Wentworth, Pillsbury, Pleasant, Grand, Harriet, and Garfield. We aren't disrupting shit.

Also: Mpls' best/weirdest street-naming scheme are the streets in NE Mpls named after presidents, in office order. Tyler and Taylor are a never-ending vortex of confusion.
posted by COBRA! at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, there hasn't even been a Great American Novel since 1997, where there were two (Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon and Philip Roth's American Pastoral). I am unable to confirm that there has ever been a Great Minneapolis Novel.
posted by Naberius at 8:47 AM on July 31, 2013


Andy Sturdevant!!! I'm a huge fan of his work. If you like the Fictitious Minneapolis Street Address guide, you should totally roll through the rest of his blog, South Twelfth. And if you like that, he's got a book coming out later this year.
posted by troika at 8:47 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


That’s no good. You got into writing to entertain and provoke, not to get some innocent grandparents in Kingfield harassed every single morning by your maniacal camera-wielding superfans.

Or better yet, you could just purchase a real address, install a trap door at the entrance, and start tagging every superfan who comes calling with an RFID chip so you can know who to avoid at conventions.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:48 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is by far the most ingenious solution to a problem I do not have that I have seen today. Thanks!
posted by fikri at 8:48 AM on July 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


The other thing he's kind of wrong about:

Putting a character at “6803 Pine Ridge Blvd., Minneapolis MN 55405" is the dumbest thing you can do. Anyone reading it would immediately be snapped out of the action and think, “Where the hell is Pine Ridge Boulevard supposed to be? And 6803 isn’t even a Minneapolis address — that’d be in Richfield." Then they throw your book out the window of their bus, or into a fire, or into a lake.

All of Minneapolis' order gets tossed out the fucking window along Minnehaha Creek, where the roads are abruptly curvy and just pop in and out of existence like genies. Lots of tiny streets with names like Rustic Lodge that just run for a few blocks, before the rational grid reasserts itself.
posted by COBRA! at 8:49 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Atmosphere has a few songs with geographically accurate lyrics.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:51 AM on July 31, 2013


(oh, I see he does acknowledge Rustic Lodge at the end, but does so while poo-pooing the fact of its existence).
posted by COBRA! at 8:52 AM on July 31, 2013


Minneapolis rocks for it's streets.

Minneapolis rocks in general. It's the only place I have lived that I would happily move back to.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:53 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The existence of Wentworth Ave is how you can tell someone regularly ventures south of 40th (or is from Whittier as opposed to Kingfield). In addition to our awesome street names, this post reminded me about all the great neighborhood associations we have - someone who was visiting from our-of-town remarked on all the neighborhood pride with the nonstop signs proclaiming "Welcome to Seward!" and such.
posted by antonymous at 8:54 AM on July 31, 2013


No, the best solution is to identify people in Minneapolis you hate, and use their address.
posted by surplus at 8:55 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tyler and Taylor are a never-ending vortex of confusion.


As someone who got lost for an embarrasingly long period of time one chilly night, I can confirm this. Also worth noting - one of them is interrupted by some kind of park, and another doesn't even exist below 29th. You will have to guess.


Actually, there are many streets in NE that are interrupted by random industrial wasteland and 20 foot walls.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:57 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am unable to confirm that there has ever been a Great Minneapolis Novel.

War for the Oaks: A Novel

It's great. It's a novel. It takes place in Minneapolis. Minneapolis is even a character.

Tom Waits- Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis Seems appropriate to the thread.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:01 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Actually, there are many streets in NE that are interrupted by random industrial wasteland and 20 foot walls.

Not as bad as the inexplicable S-curves in SE which stop cars continuing down the same street. Very difficult getting where you want to go anywhere between Como and Hennepin until you've learned how it works.
posted by cthuljew at 9:01 AM on July 31, 2013


No, the best solution is to identify people in Minneapolis you hate, and use their address.


If you don't hate anyone in Minneapolis, I have a list you can use.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:03 AM on July 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also: Mpls' best/weirdest street-naming scheme are the streets in NE Mpls named after presidents, in office order. Tyler and Taylor are a never-ending vortex of confusion.

Pales in comparison to the three consecutive blocks called Cleveland, Harrison, and then Cleveland again.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:05 AM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Not as bad as the inexplicable S-curves in SE which stop cars continuing down the same street.


I live in Prospect Park. It's... challenging.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:05 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


See also: Tangletown (which oddly has a main drag called Prospect Ave...perhaps it's an implied [the ] Prospect[s of you getting lost are great])
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:09 AM on July 31, 2013


Actually, there are many streets in NE that are interrupted by random industrial wasteland and 20 foot walls.

Being from Boston, that's one of those things that always baffles me in gridded cities - streets that cease to exist for a couple blocks, then pop up with the same name again. No! That is now a DIFFERENT STREET. What is wrong with you people. Rename it! There are plenty of good names out there, like Beacon or Harvard or Washington or... ummm... hm. Have you considered naming the street for whatever town it's in yet?
posted by maryr at 9:09 AM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ooohhh, as a native Minneapolitan I LOVE this.

I called out a fellow for faking a Minneapolis address a few months ago. I no longer live in the Cities - I live in outstate MN - but I know a Minneapolis address when I see one. His business card said "9XXX Blaisdell Avenue South, Minneapolis" (I don't remember the exact avenue name, but it was the name of an avenue that extends beyond the crosstown into the 'burbs).

"Hey, wait a minute," I said. "9XXX Blaisdell? That's not in Minneapolis. That's gotta be in Bloomington."

He looked sheepish. "When I tell people I'm from Bloomington, they think of Indiana. So I put Minneapolis on everything, it's close enough. Mail still gets to my office, even with the incorrect city." He gave me a salesperson smile and shrugged his shoulders.

I slitted my eyes at him. PRETENDING to be from Minneapolis? UNCOOL. I did not hire him. He was a LIAR and a FAKE MINNEAPOLITAIN. I would have considered hiring him if he'd been honest about being from Bloomington...I even would have considered hiring him if he'd been from St. Paul. Probably not Edina, though.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:12 AM on July 31, 2013 [25 favorites]


Hey, this is great. I love stuff like this, little local ins-and-outs.

Welp, now I know what I'm doing for lunch!

Apparently I am completely at the mercy of unintentional subliminal advertising.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:15 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


My current Is-in-various stages-of-done-and-totally-not-done novel set in NYC and I wanted it to have lots of local color, I thought about inventing a neighborhood but quickly realized that pushes it out into the fantasy realm too much (I'm trying to walk right up to the fantasy genre line and "poom" it, so to speak), so I've taken places I know, re-named them or just given them vagueish locations (In Chelsea, near the corner of 6th Ave ) or straight up invented a street by pretending a building never got built (In the twisty Wall street area, which has a lot of short windy streets all alike) or the old trick of putting address that would logically be in the middle of the Hudson River.

Also when it doubt, anything beyond in the pale is in Hoboken, obviously.
posted by The Whelk at 9:18 AM on July 31, 2013


When I tell people I'm from Bloomington, they think of Indiana.

C'MON GUY THAT"S WHERE THE MALL IS
posted by louche mustachio at 9:21 AM on July 31, 2013


I thought about inventing a neighborhood but quickly realized that pushes it out into the fantasy realm too much

There's always Dowisetrepla.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:22 AM on July 31, 2013


Andy Sturdevant. He took over my arts column on MinnPost when I left Minneapolis. He's a man about town.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:34 AM on July 31, 2013


It now strikes me that I shouldn't really be surprised that I have 5 mutual facebook friends with him, and that I basically guessed who four of them were before clicking.
posted by cthuljew at 9:40 AM on July 31, 2013


Minnehaha Creek isn't the only source of small weirdly-named streets in Minneapolis; the Mississippi near St. Paul also messes a few things up. (Can we blame St. Paul? Just kidding.)

The second link up there has the info I was looking for: the alphabetical street naming as well as the numbering and a few other of the themes extend into a great deal of Hennepin County outside of Minneapolis. Washington and Dakota counties have their own naming schemes, depending on the city in question they can get more or less ridiculous (this article on the street names in Afton points to a "Uniform Street Naming and Property Numbering System" covering the metro area from 1968, which does exist--unfortunately finding the record of this online has been a pain)

If anyone needs a fake name for a street in Inver Grove Heights, memail me.
posted by Electric Elf at 9:42 AM on July 31, 2013


A bit of wisdom that apparently not everyone in the Twin Cities has heard: Minneapolis is the easternmost western city, and St. Paul is the westernmost eastern city.

Elly Vortex: "PRETENDING to be from Minneapolis? UNCOOL."

When I was living in Taiwan, I met a guy who said he was from Minneapolis. Cool, said I, what part of town? Turns out he's actually from Minnetonka (or Lakeville or some other exurb). We were in Taiwan, after all, so geographic precision wasn't called for. But trying to pass Minnetonka off as Minneapolis? One demerit for him!
posted by jiawen at 9:55 AM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Being from Boston, that's one of those things that always baffles me in gridded cities - streets that cease to exist for a couple blocks, then pop up with the same name again. No! That is now a DIFFERENT STREET. What is wrong with you people. Rename it! There are plenty of good names out there, like Beacon or Harvard or Washington or... ummm... hm. Have you considered naming the street for whatever town it's in yet?

It is better than in Finland where the same street will just change names after a few intersections. And that is not including the fact that two official languages means two names for each street in bilingual cities.
posted by Kaiverus at 10:02 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know there are three playwrights associated with Minntonka. There's Pulitzer finalist Lee Blessing. There's Broadway playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. And there's me.

Oh, sure, Minnetonka isn't part of Minneapolis. UNTIL YOU WANT YOUR SUCCESSFUL PLAYWRIGHTS (and one vaguely successful playwright) THAT IS.

Also from Minnetonka: Tom Petters. Oh, and Nancy Parsons, who played Ballbricker in Porky's.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:09 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rex Stout did this kind of thing all the time for Manhattan. Nero Wolfe's address is supposed to be 918 W 35th st. I looked at a map one time, and it turned out that if that address existed it would be in the middle of the Hudson River.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2013


I would like to register my continued frustration with whoever decided that a six part grid that rotates periodically (and not at the boundary between sextants) was laying streets out in a grid. I will not accept your protestations that the river necessitates this insanity!
posted by hoyland at 10:18 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


It now strikes me that I shouldn't really be surprised that I have 5 mutual facebook friends with him, and that I basically guessed who four of them were before clicking.


I checked, we have seventy-one. I can't even begin to guess that many people.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:31 AM on July 31, 2013


Fun Google Maps exercise: Follow South 12th, the name of his tumblr, starting at the river. (You will first deduce that it's an avenue.) So far I count at least seven pieces, one of which is one block long. It skips over my entire neighborhood, which is smushed such that I live near where a street intersects ANOTHER STREET and not an avenue.
posted by clavicle at 10:31 AM on July 31, 2013


The one I remember from my years of living in Minneapolis is that the designations for street names (North, South, Northeast, Southeast) don't necessarily make sense if you are new to the area, since I had no end of visitors that were looking for my 6th Ave SE apartment wandering around the (geographically) Southeast part of town, not realizing that "Southeast" is actually North and East of downtown. And similiarly, if you are at, say "3rd St S" and need to go to "3rd St N", you are going West.

(Then again, that's *nothing* compared to Montreal..)
posted by kaszeta at 10:33 AM on July 31, 2013


Pretty much the only two local people I'm Facebook friends with are mutual friends of Andy Sturdevant's. That's funny.
posted by padraigin at 10:33 AM on July 31, 2013


Fun Google Maps exercise...


You have very strange ideas about fun.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:34 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I LOVE this post!

I'm embarassed to admit that I only just learned now that the President streets are in the correct order. I never really thought about it before but I might have just assumed they were random or something.

I'm still new to NE. I do, however, know the origin of most of the South Minneapolis street names so at least there's that.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:34 AM on July 31, 2013


You have very strange ideas about fun.

You are not wrong.
posted by clavicle at 10:35 AM on July 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


PRETENDING to be from Minneapolis?
This is really, really common actually. Especially if your business address is in St. Louis Park or Golden Valley or another inner ring 'burb. My company is guilty. Actually, my last two companies were guilty of this lie.

Minneapolis is the easternmost western city, and St. Paul is the westernmost eastern city.
I've heard a slightly different version: Minneapolis is the first of the great Western cities, and St. Paul is the last of the great Eastern cities. Makes it a bit more exotic, and certainly makes sense if you are familiar with both cities.

The hardest addresses to place in south Minneapolis without looking it up? Snelling Ave, between 22nd and 24th. Followed by Hiawatha LANE between 53rd and 54th. And no one really knows about western Nawadaha, they just say "turn at Dairy Queen."
posted by lstanley at 10:37 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The one I remember from my years of living in Minneapolis is that the designations for street names (North, South, Northeast, Southeast) don't necessarily make sense if you are new to the area

Oh, not just if you are new. One of my first places here was in SE a couple blocks from Como. It is an unending source of bewilderment to me that my current address is also SE, but seems so far away.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:39 AM on July 31, 2013


Also from Minnetonka: Tom Petters. Oh, and Nancy Parsons, who played Ballbricker in Porky's.

You forgot Kris Humphries of Kardashian fame
posted by triggerfinger at 10:46 AM on July 31, 2013


Being from Boston, that's one of those things that always baffles me in gridded cities - streets that cease to exist for a couple blocks, then pop up with the same name again. No! That is now a DIFFERENT STREET

No, it's absolutely correct. Streets run along the numbers, and wherever they do, they should have the same name. In Chicago, California's at 2800W. Halstead is at 800W. It's the natural order of things that you disturb at your peril.

Now, the nonsense of Kedzie being an E-W street in Evanston, when any ful kno it's N-S at 3200W, that I can't help you with -- esp. since it intersects with Chicago, which is an N-S street, which is, again, WRONG.

But it's Evanston. Nothing can help you there.
posted by eriko at 10:49 AM on July 31, 2013


My reactions:

1. I love this post and I am hoping that there will someday be a great Minneapolis novel set on Wentworth Avenue. (I remember my wife was once reading a mystery novel set in Minneapolis. We were living in the basement of my dad's house that summer. She said, "this detective is supposed to live in the hills west of Lake Nokomis. Where is that?" And I got to say, "here, right here, we are in the hills west of Lake Nokomis!" That was a fun moment and I want it to happen with something a little fancier.

2. I've tried to point out the first and second alphabets to my two oldest kids (5 and 7). I thought they would think that was cool, but I just got shrugs.

3. I live on 10th Avenue South. Is South 12th named after 12th Avenue South? Is Andy Sturdevant my neighbor? (Probably not the neighbor with the confusing display of Israeli flags, crosses, and menorahs in the front window, though that house is on 12th Avenue.)

4. Here is my tip for what to do if you get lost in St. Paul: find the river and then drive north along the river until you either find a bridge back to Minneapolis or re-enter the portion of Minneapolis on the east bank. Don't try to muck around in St. Paul.

5. St. Paul is not a "great city". Visit downtown St. Paul during the middle of the day. It looks like a neutron bomb went off.

6. Pretending to be from Minneapolis is common and sad. I met many fake residents of Minneapolis during freshman orientation at college. One woman from Mankato was even claiming to be from Minneapolis.

7. Minnetonka, really? Are you going to start bragging about all the office parks?
posted by Area Man at 10:49 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Minnehaha Creek isn't the only source of small weirdly-named streets in Minneapolis; the Mississippi near St. Paul also messes a few things up.

Yep. Prospect Park. I live here and it still confounds me.

At least it's pretty and there's lots of cool wildlife and stuff for you to look at while you consider whether or not you will ever escape the shadow of The Witch's Tower. There are foxes and owls and raccoons and rabbits and chipmunks and eagles and falcons and professors.



(Can we blame St. Paul? Just kidding.)


Yes.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Being from Boston, that's one of those things that always baffles me in gridded cities - streets that cease to exist for a couple blocks, then pop up with the same name again. No! That is now a DIFFERENT STREET.

This is just rebelling against the European practice of multiple names for the same street. Not just Finland - in the Original Cambridge (TM), there is a street that has seven names in a two mile stretch. For clarity's sake, we gave it an eighth name that we used for most of it ("Sainsburys Street", as in, "you know, the street Sainsburys [the grocery store] is on").
posted by jb at 11:12 AM on July 31, 2013


When I was a kid, I had the perfect fake address I always used. I lived in one building that was xx63; the next building was xx67. There was no xx65 anywhere -- so that was the return address on any prank letter I sent.

I was like a pint-sized superspy. The Feds never have found me.
posted by jb at 11:14 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


maryr: Being from Boston, that's one of those things that always baffles me in gridded cities - streets that cease to exist for a couple blocks, then pop up with the same name again. No! That is now a DIFFERENT STREET. What is wrong with you people. Rename it!

Normally I'd be with you, but someone from Boston has no standing to complain about confusing streets, given that they're from the city where Tremont Street takes a right turn at an intersection and continues. I was once lost for three quarters of an hour looking for an address on Tremont.
posted by Kattullus at 11:32 AM on July 31, 2013


Oh, and as far as I know, the six-syllable "Minneapolitan" is the longest urban demonym in regular use. Does anyone know of a longer one?
posted by Kattullus at 11:34 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kattullus - surely if you want to complain about Tremont St, the part to complain about is here where it makes a right and then a left and then continues.
posted by maryr at 11:48 AM on July 31, 2013


Kattullus, I think "Indianapolitan" would beat "Minneapolitan". But only in syllables, I am sure that Minneapolis is superior to Indianapolis in just about every other way.*


* Colts vs. Vikings notwithstanding
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:52 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


maryr: surely if you want to complain about Tremont St, the part to complain about is here where it makes a right and then a left and then continues.

Oh goodness yes, that part. That was how I remembered it, but then I convinced myself that I had to be mistaken because only the crazed disciple of a mad god would lay a street out like that... and Lovecraft was from Providence, not Boston.
posted by Kattullus at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2013


Elly Vortex: I think "Indianapolitan" would beat "Minneapolitan".

That's true, but do people use "Indianapolitan" much? It only gets 39200 results on Google while "Minneapolitan" returns 633000.
posted by Kattullus at 12:00 PM on July 31, 2013


If you were from Indianapolis, would you go spreading that fact around? (I keed, I keed.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:06 PM on July 31, 2013


I was trying to meet a friend at an apartment at 2320 Dulles Station Road in some exurban wasteland called Herdon, Virginia. I buzzed the intercom, spoke with my friend, and entered the building. I spent about 15 minutes going through the halls trying to find the apartment number (my friend had a broken leg so it wasn't easy for him to come get me). Eventually I went down to the front desk and was informed that he was probably in "the other building" which was across the street on a different block. With the same street address! Fucking savages.
posted by exogenous at 12:08 PM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


"If that's her address, she's living in the middle of the East River."

DUN DUN
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's true, but do people use "Indianapolitan" much?

True, true.
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:27 PM on July 31, 2013


The Minneapolis street address, "Twenty-six-forty-nine Colfax Avenue" is briefly mentioned in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, though the story doesn't really take place in Minneapolis practically at all. It is a real address and a real house, a pretty one too. I wonder if the house looked that nice when John and Sylvia lived there or if it's been gentrified due to the cachet of being mentioned in such a well-known book.

I don't think I've thought of ZAMM as a work of fiction, but, while highly autobiographical, in an NPR interview done shortly after the book was published, the author did refer to it as a novel (around 5:35).
posted by marsha56 at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


There already are fake street names in Minneapolis and St. Paul, by they way. They're "trap streets" put by mapmakers in order to catch people who violate their copyright by simply reproducing their map. Alas, I no longer remember any of the street names. I had a friend who was a cab driver, and he said that the dispatchers used to haze new people by sending them to these trap streets.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:49 PM on July 31, 2013


Great. Now I'm trying to think of similar mechanisms for Seattle.

- The non-cardinal-suffixed avenues south of downtown tend to end abruptly in the low hundreds when they reach Yesler; those would probably work
- Plenty of avenues cease to exist for blocks at a stretch in Federal Way
- Does anyone remember how far any given numbered street runs through Magnolia/Leschi/what-have-you before ending at water? Extend it another block and nobody will be the wiser.
- And finally, probably most obviously - downtown Kirkland.
posted by spitefulcrow at 1:01 PM on July 31, 2013


@Bunny Ultramod

I don't recall any of the trap streets (I used to know a bunch of them), but if you ever do reverse geocoding in South Saint Paul (in the area by the Red Cross), those always code up as a trap municipality: Bar Code, MN

For some reason, I'm also reminded of the hilarity of the late 90s, when there was a ~2 year period when they were doing repair work in Dinkytown when University was closed, and 4th St SE was temporarily reversed to be one way eastbound instead of westbound. Of course, most online mapping (and the few auto-routing GPS units available at the time) didn't know this, and there were a *lot* of confused people driving around like Clark Griswold ("Look, it's Dinkytown!").
posted by kaszeta at 1:34 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


louche mustachio: "Oh, not just if you are new. One of my first places here was in SE a couple blocks from Como. It is an unending source of bewilderment to me that my current address is also SE, but seems so far away."

Isn't there a place where you can stand at the corner of 4th St NE and 4th St NE? I could swear I've been there. Or maybe it was a dream.
posted by jiawen at 1:35 PM on July 31, 2013


The Minneapolis street address, "Twenty-six-forty-nine Colfax Avenue" is briefly mentioned in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, though the story doesn't really take place in Minneapolis practically at all. It is a real address and a real house, a pretty one too. I wonder if the house looked that nice when John and Sylvia lived there or if it's been gentrified due to the cachet of being mentioned in such a well-known book.

I used to live in the apartment building next to 2649 Colfax, and was really excited when I figured out that the house next door was mentioned in ZAMM.

Unfortunately, that apartment was a shithole, and it was broken into a bunch of my guitars were stolen, so the one degree of separation from ZAMM was pretty much the only good thing about the place.
posted by COBRA! at 2:09 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


COBRA!: "All of Minneapolis' order gets tossed out the fucking window along Minnehaha Creek, where the roads are abruptly curvy and just pop in and out of existence like genies. Lots of tiny streets with names like Rustic Lodge that just run for a few blocks, before the rational grid reasserts itself."

I hate this kind of shit. My brain is not actually capable of processing turns that are not 90 degrees. It just autocorrects and tells me I've turned 90 degrees, thus putting me 90 degrees off where I actually am when I turn off the diagonal. (As in, if I go N-NW-W, my brain interprets it as N-W-S because I made two lefts. DUH.) It's like rivers do not even understand how cities are planned and platted.

spitefulcrow: "Great. Now I'm trying to think of similar mechanisms for Seattle."

The downtown business district streets come in matched pairs: Jefferson, James, Cherry, Columbia, Marion, Madison, Spring, Seneca, University, Union, Pike, Pine. JCMSUP - Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest. I have not been to Seattle since I was 11 but I learned about the street names from an absolutely terrible novel set in Seattle with literally no other redeeming features. So, road name realism FTW!

cthuljew: "It now strikes me that I shouldn't really be surprised that I have 5 mutual facebook friends with him, and that I basically guessed who four of them were before clicking."
louche mustachio: "I checked, we have seventy-one. I can't even begin to guess that many people."
padraigin: "Pretty much the only two local people I'm Facebook friends with are mutual friends of Andy Sturdevant's. That's funny."

Awwwww. This is the most midwestern thing that has ever appeared on metafilter and I. love. it.

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:02 PM on July 31, 2013


A bit of wisdom that apparently not everyone in the Twin Cities has heard: Minneapolis is the easternmost western city, and St. Paul is the westernmost eastern city.

In the recent Mapping the Midwest thread people alternately claimed that Minnesota is either in the Midwest, the Upper Midwest or is a northern state. Now the Twin Cities are also both eastern and western.

In conclusion, Minneapolis is a land of contrast.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:03 PM on July 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Isn't there a place where you can stand at the corner of 4th St NE and 4th St NE? I could swear I've been there. Or maybe it was a dream.

One turns into the other, but I think they actually hit Hennepin at roughly a right angle, so you can't turn from one to the other. There might be a corner of 5th St NE and 5th St SE in that intersection where Hennepin and Central cross. Isn't there a little triangle in the middle of the intersection with a bus stop on it?

There are a couple of apartment buildings in Uptown with an address on Holmes (across Lake from the north side of the Lunds), but Holmes doesn't actually exist there--it'd be where the parking lot between the buildings is.
posted by hoyland at 4:37 PM on July 31, 2013


Wait... is that Lake or Lagoon? I do mean the north side of the Lunds.
posted by hoyland at 4:38 PM on July 31, 2013


I had to make up fake NYC addresses constantly in my years as a TV art department PA. For Manhattan, yes, everyone was living in the middle of either the Hudson or East Rivers. For Brooklyn, I'd find a very tiny street in the right neighborhood and give it a big (but still 3-digit, let's not go crazy here) number. For Queens, I mastered Queens' weird address system and invented improbable numbers like 438-19 30th Street. I don't remember what I did for the Bronx and Staten Island.
posted by Sara C. at 5:13 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also can this be the place where I complain about the Los Angeles tradition of having a bunch of streets with damn near identical names right next to each other?

For example, in the Valley, Laurel Terrace runs parallel to Laurel Canyon, just one street over. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THIS?

Or, probably a more famous example is Melrose Place, which is a small street that juts off of Melrose somewhere in West Hollywood. WHY? I mean, could nobody think of ANY other name to give any streets?
posted by Sara C. at 5:16 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or, probably a more famous example is Melrose Place, which is a small street that juts off of Melrose somewhere in West Hollywood. WHY? I mean, could nobody think of ANY other name to give any streets?

I think that's actually pretty normal, though maybe less so in the US. My grandad's town has a Station Avenue, a Station Road and a Station Approach on three sides of the train station. The road and avenue intersect. I'd say it'd be debatable whether Station Approach should count as a road, but there is a supermarket whose address is Station Approach.
posted by hoyland at 5:28 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have no mutual friends with Andy Sturdevant. Clearly, I'm on a bad path. Time to reevaluate some key life decisions.
posted by Area Man at 5:47 PM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


jb: "When I was a kid, I had the perfect fake address I always used. I lived in one building that was xx63; the next building was xx67. There was no xx65 anywhere -- so that was the return address on any prank letter I sent.

I was like a pint-sized superspy. The Feds never have found me.
"

They have NOW.
posted by Samizdata at 5:51 PM on July 31, 2013


Also can this be the place where I complain about the Los Angeles tradition of having a bunch of streets with damn near identical names right next to each other?

For example, in the Valley, Laurel Terrace runs parallel to Laurel Canyon, just one street over. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THIS?


Driving E <> W through Pasadena, you will cross Fair Oaks, Oakland, Oak Knoll, Oak, and Grand Oaks Avenues. (That's not including Los Robles, which translates to... you guessed it.) I've given up trying to remember where any of them except for Fair Oaks falls in relation to the others.
posted by Austenite at 5:54 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Related: the practice of real estate developers to name the streets after the woodland animals now displaced by tract housing. Squirrel Lane, Deer Street, etc.
posted by exogenous at 6:46 PM on July 31, 2013


Squirrels and deer displaced by tract housing? If only...
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:52 PM on July 31, 2013


Wait... is that Lake or Lagoon? I do mean the north side of the Lunds.

It's Lagoon. If it's the buildings I'm looking at on satellite right now, which have The Mall on the other side of them, then holy SHIT, that is some fucked up dimensional portal shit.
posted by clavicle at 7:06 PM on July 31, 2013


I've always remembered the directions of the one-way streets in downtown Minneapolis by considering the businesses. Odd-numbered streets go toward the warehouse district, where things are a bit more odd* (casual-dress startups, nightclubs, sexworld, etc.). Even-numbered streets go toward the skyscrapery portion of downtown where things are more even-keeled (suits and ties, Target Corp., department stores). I don't imagine the city planners did that on purpose, but it has saved me many times when trying to drive around downtown.

* No offense to the warehouse district. I worked there and very much preferred it to dress codes and ID badges.
posted by vytae at 7:09 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


"If that's her address, she's living in the middle of the East River."

Many years ago, when I lived in the southwestern corner of town, I was riding the bus home from downtown. Bus pulls over to pick up a guy at a stop. Kid gets halfway up the bus steps and asks "Uh, does this bus go to 44th and Morgan?"

Now, he might have meant 44th Avenue North and Morgan Avenue North, up closer to Brooklyn Center or Robbinsdale. But this was the southside, where you have Morgan Avenue South and West 44th Street...which don't cross each other.

Bus driver gets a weird look on his face and says in a loud voice: "THAT'S RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF LAKE HARRIET!"
posted by gimonca at 7:12 PM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


And for those of you still on tenterhooks, 5th St. is continuous from NE to SE. There is an angle where it crosses Hennepin and Central, but it's pretty obtuse. And on Google Maps, there is a car crossing that intersection in the SE direction, right between Hennepin and Central.

FUN!
posted by clavicle at 7:17 PM on July 31, 2013


Relocate your setting to Atlanta. Your protagonist lives on Peachtree.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:17 PM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the recent Mapping the Midwest thread people alternately claimed that Minnesota is either in the Midwest, the Upper Midwest or is a northern state.


I said it was South Canada.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:28 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't forget to try to build in intersections that shouldn't exist, but do. Bryant & Aldrich. Park & Portland. Washington & Adams.
posted by mrbula at 8:03 PM on July 31, 2013


Regarding Southeast, my understanding is that was the neighborhood's name because it comprised the southeast portion of the village of St. Anthony. It was later annexed by Minneapolis but confusingly retained its name.
posted by look busy at 8:33 PM on July 31, 2013


I have a friend who lives at 2300 (street in Uptown Minneapolis). His house is in the middle of the block because there's no 23rd street.

Holmes Avenue is funny because it only exists for a few blocks, where there's a street in the middle of some long blocks. But it stays alphabetical because Hennepin/Holmes/Humboldt, so don't get alarmed.
posted by padraigin at 8:46 PM on July 31, 2013


Okay, I know one of his FB friends IRL. I may be okay.
posted by Area Man at 9:28 PM on July 31, 2013


In the recent Mapping the Midwest thread people alternately claimed that Minnesota is either in the Midwest, the Upper Midwest or is a northern state.

It's the Great Northwest. That's why St. Paul's Schmidt Beer was "The Brew That Grew With The Great Northwest."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:55 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great Northwest

What does that make Washington and Oregon? The Shitty Northwest?
posted by cthuljew at 9:58 PM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The first same sex couple just got married in city hall!
posted by Area Man at 10:01 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Great Farther North and West.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:12 PM on July 31, 2013


What does that make Washington and Oregon?

Upstarts.
posted by mygoditsbob at 5:01 AM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've always remembered the directions of the one-way streets in downtown Minneapolis by considering the businesses. Odd-numbered streets go toward the warehouse district, where things are a bit more odd* (casual-dress startups, nightclubs, sexworld, etc.). Even-numbered streets go toward the skyscrapery portion of downtown where things are more even-keeled (suits and ties, Target Corp., department stores).

I work across the street from Target HQ, and it's pretty fucking odd over there. It's like working next either a cult or a beehive filled with people.

Also, for the record: 12 mutual Andy Sturdevant friends.
posted by COBRA! at 7:11 AM on August 1, 2013


Also, for the record: 12 mutual Andy Sturdevant friends.

So jealous.
posted by Area Man at 7:27 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


What does that make Washington and Oregon?

Strivers. Well, strivers or suck-ups. You choose! :7)

(Typing this in St. Paul now; no Andy Sturdevant friends. *sniffle* That's what I get for moving away.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:52 AM on August 1, 2013


I like look busy's explanation for Southeast. I always thought that Southeast was so-named because it was east of the river and south of Hennepin (at least where Hennepin runs E-W).

I just moved away from Minneapolis, and this post is making me homesick. What I wouldn't give to have a kouign-amann and an espresso at Dogwood and then walk upstairs and have a beer at Republic while looking down on people trying and failing to parallel park in front of Davanni's.
posted by Handstand Devil at 10:02 AM on August 1, 2013


Man, I need to make it to a meet up and become facebook friends with you guys because I'm totally actually friends with Andy Sturdevant. *tosses hair*
posted by MsDaniB at 12:08 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


is his beard as soft as it looks
posted by troika at 12:46 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, 27 mutual FB friends with Andy Sturtevant, and I still think his writing is crap.
posted by look busy at 3:23 PM on August 1, 2013


I liked his series on the official portraits of Minnesota governors, and I like his strolls.
posted by Area Man at 3:33 PM on August 1, 2013


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