An Eyesore Not Worth Saving

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Time has cycled onward and I’ve not kept up with the chronicle of the destruction of the Pauline Fjelde house. It is no mystery…everyone knows in the end, the house was destroyed. Still, there is value in retelling this story even though this is the effort of one storyteller. In this story are the seeds of so many other stories ever repeating.

There is in this story, something that would forever mark each participant and observer, so that even today every new struggle to save a house and the response of all those opposed enact and react consciously or unconsciously guided by what happened to the Fjelde house.

What would be truly interesting would be for all the players involved to tell their story…but that will never happen.

It is August and storm clouds are brewing on the horizon.

In the six months since the February 26th Zoning and Planning hearing when the Schoffman’s lost their appeal and their wrecking permit was again denied, they began to publicize their case in the media, just as the Fjelde advocates did. Dueling articles. Contrasting perspectives.

There was a changing of the guard with the planners assigned to the case, perhaps both of whom now ardently wish that they had never heard of Pauline Fjelde.

Attorney Daniel Kennedy continued to strongly advocate for the Schoffman’s to City officials and planners. And they listened.

In the months between Feb 26 and August…the games between all parties involved were intense.
Each time the house was boarded to protect it, the Schoffmans’ exercised their legal right to unboard it. They left windows and doors open and the house filled with trash…or as it’s called in the ordinance that prohibits it. “combustible debris”

The Fjelde advocates met under the aegis of an association they’d formed named the Minneapolis Historic Homeowners Association. But life changes and other issues…there are ALWAYS other issues, distracted them and there were differences and divisions among the group regarding strategy and the right course of action or inaction…as it seemed. Some were considered “too radical”, others “too polite.”

Within the City there were likely meetings. But they also had many other issues to work on…the historic landmark designation process is a long haul — 12-18 months or longer and the S.S. designation can be guided into dangerous waters by constituents with powerful influence and aggressive attorneys who want a shipwreck…

and So It Was…

We had no idea it was historic!

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