This area of Brainerd, affecionately called Frogtown by many, including its residents and businessmen I might add, has long fascinated me. For one thing, so little history is written on it, yet it was in the early years almost a city by itself. It had a huge downtown-like building used as a grocery store, yet I don't know if that was its original use. There are still remnants of many flat-front homes used as store fronts. It had taverns, a fire hall, a foundry, the RR shops for industry, MANY smaller grocery stores, and lots of housing...all east of The Ravine. I t would be nise to do a study of the area and post some photos and history in one of the businesses there. It is also the location of the LASTG surviving Mom & Pop grocery store..formerly Dandanell's, now/2009 Inwards Grocery.
If you serach the word Frogtown on the Web, this is what you get, courtesy Wikipedia. Do you see some similarities?
Frogtown is a neighborhood in Saint Paul in the U.S. state of Minnesota. Built around University Avenue, the Thomas-Dale neighborhood is colloquially known as Frogtown (German: Froschburg), and has been regarded as a neighborhood in transition for decades. Historically, Frogtown was a subsection of the current Thomas-Dale neighborhood, bordered by University Avenue on the south, Van Buren Avenue on the north, Dale Street on the west and Western Avenue on the east. Frogtown experienced massive problems as the center of Saint Paul's drug and prostitution trades in the 1980s and 1990s and while significant strides have been made in the intervening years, quality-of-life issues still persist in the area.
The neighborhood was first settled 1860-1880 as the downtown area outgrew its borders. Workers on the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, now Burlington Northern, which was built just to the north of the neighborhood sought housing nearby. Minnesota's first successful locomotive run occurred on these tracks in 1882. Shortly thereafter the Jackson Street Railroad Shops were built just northeast of Frogtown. The Jackson Street Shops were then joined by other railroad related industries in the area including the Saint Paul Foundry, built near Como and Western Avenues, providing additional employment opportunities for residents.
Residential development moved westward through the neighborhood as Polish, Scandinavian, German, and Irish immigrants took blue-collar jobs in the area. They built modest wood frame and brick houses on small lots in the neighborhood. Urban renewal has wiped out many of these homes, but working-class Victorian homes from the 1880s are extant, some adorned with arched window and door openings, brick window hoods, and frilly intact open porches.