Rondo Neighborhood & the Building of I-94
This predominantly African American neighborhood in St. Paul was displaced in the 1960s by freeway construction. In the 1930s, Rondo Avenue was at the heart of St. Paul's largest Black neighborhood. African-Americans whose families had lived in Minnesota for decades and others who were just arriving from the South made up a vibrant, vital community that was in many ways independent of the white society around it. The construction of I-94 in the 1960s shattered this tight-knit community, displaced thousands of African-Americans into a racially segregated city and a discriminatory housing market, and erased a now-legendary neighborhood.
While the construction of I-94 radically changed the landscape of the neighborhood, the community of Rondo still exists and its persistence and growth are celebrated through events like Rondo Days and the Jazz Festival.
GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:
- "Before There Was Interstate 94
There Was Rondo,"
by Mary Sanders.
In Voices: A Collection of Writings and Stories for a Diverse Community, written and compiled by Mark Clark, et al.
St. Paul, Minn.: St. Paul Dept. of Planning and Economic Development, 1992.
MHS call number: F613.S3 V65 1992.
Days of Rondo, by Evelyn Fairbanks.
St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1990.
MHS call number: F605.1.F353 A3 1990.
- Freeway Exodus; Experiences in Finding Housing as a Result of
the St. Anthony-Rondo Freeway Displacement from Western to Lexington Avenues
in St. Paul: A Research Report, by F. James Davis, with the collaboration
of Alice Onque.
[St. Paul, Minn.: Hamline University, 1963?].
MHS call number: HD7304.S25 D2
- Northern Lights & Insights: Evelyn Fairbanks.
[Minnetonka, Minn.]: Hennepin County Library, 1990.
In this film, Evelyn Fairbanks, author of Days of Rondo, reminisces about the neighborhood that was Rondo and what it was like to grow up there.
MHS call number: Videotape 375 (1 30-minute color videocassette).
- Remember Rondo: Celebrating the People, Their Lives and Times,
July 1, 2, 3, 1983: History of Rondo Avenue, written by David
St. Paul, Minn.: Rondo Avenue, Inc., 1983.
Includes history, the neighborhood, commercial service, Rondo Avenue commercial buildings and other establishments, 1926-1964, and community institutions.
MHS call number: F613.S93 R674 1983.
- Remember Rondo: A Tradition of Excellence, edited by
[St. Paul, Minn.: Remember Rondo Committee, 1995].
Includes history of Rondo, black migration to Minnesota, profiles of African-American pioneers, and background on Rondo Avenue, Inc.
MHS call number: F613.S9 A277 1995.
- Remember Rondo Ave. Days, July 11-17: 10th Anniversary Commemorative.
[St. Paul, Minn.: Rondo Avenue, Inc., 1993].
MHS call number: F613.S93 R674 1993.
- Metropolitan Waste Control Commission, Project Photographs.
This archival collection includes 1930s-era St. Paul street scenes taken in the Rondo neighborhood.
MHS call number: See the black State Archives Notebooks — filed under Metropolitan Waste Control Commission — for a detailed list and the locator number (there is only 1 box), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
- "Rondo Ave., 1865-1966: Echo of the Past, Herald to the Future,"
Edward Harris, Jr., and Steve Wilson, producers.
[Minnesota]: H/W Productions, 1990.
This video recording examines the history of the Rondo Avenue neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota. Former residents are interviewed including David V. Taylor and James Griffin.
MHS call number: Videotape no. 211 (in the A-V Collection; 1 48-minute color videocassette).
- St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority Project Photographs
Photographs of residential and commercial buildings in the city of St. Paul. Particularly well represented are individual residences, downtown blocks and views, individual commercial buildings, and urban renewal projects (demolition, house moving, project sites, and a few interiors of living quarters). There are also photographs of parking lots and ramps, flood areas, street improvements, and miscellaneous construction, along with slides of redevelopment area maps, building models, and related planning tools.
MHS call number: See the red State Archives Notebooks—filed under Ramsey County: St. Paul: Housing and Redevelopment Authority— for a detailed list and the locator number (there are 7 boxes and 1 partial box, but not all relate to this topic), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
- "St. Paul's Past: River, Railroads, and Rondo," written
and produced by Brendan Henehan.
St. Paul, Minn.: Twin Cities Public Television, 1991.
This video explores the history of St. Paul, Minnesota through stories of four key places in St. Paul: Lower Landing, Merriam Park, Summit Avenue, and Rondo.
MHS call number: Videotape no. 404 (in the A-V Collection; 1 41-minute color and black-and-white videocassette).
- Union Gospel Mission Administrative Records, 1902-1992 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. 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 required written permission.
MHS call number: see the green Manuscript alpha notebooks — filed under Union Gospel Mission — for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 11 boxes, but not all relate to this topic), or use an electronic version of the inventory. Rondo property materials can be found in Box 4, call number 143.F.7.1B (9 folders).
- Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
- Minneapolis Star
- Minneapolis Tribune
- St. Paul Dispatch
- St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
- Check the library catalog for other materials.