Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Swede Hollow is Real!

 OK, I knew Swede Hollow was a real place. Please see my previous post in which I review the book called Swede Hollow by Ola Larsmo . I knew Swede Hollow was a real place and had been a neighborhood for several groups of immigrants when they were new to St. Paul, including Italians and Irish and Swedes and possibly others. I had been to Swede Hollow Café a number of times in the past, but I had never explored the actual Swede Hollow area.

This time I looked around, and just a block or so behind the café, I found this park.. in the real place that the historical events occurred.

After having just read the book, it was fun to see the actual place. The book is fiction, but relies on some historical events and names, so I felt that seeing the park was an authentic "discovery" of the old neighborhood. It's fun to have history come to life before one's eyes.

It's hard to see it here, but this is a very steep hill going down into the hollow.

The stairway may give you a better idea of how steep the hill is. I wonder if this stairway is in the same location of the original stairs which were built by the residents of the hollow. In the book they
always sounded a bit rickety and very steep. I wanted to go further down and explore, but there was a person sitting at the top of the stairs. Sad to say, I didn't feel comfortable walking near him.
I will go another time.

In the book, the children of the hollow often climb the big hill and hide in bushes to spy on the Hamm Mansion at the top. There is no longer a mansion; there is a big building which is now an assisted living facility. .. and it is located in, guess what, Hamm Park!
(Hamm's Beer used to be a famous product of Minnesota.. I don't know if it still exists! The Hamm family living in the Hamm Mansion must have been from that enterprise.)