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A Profile of the Longfellow Neighborhood in South Minneapolis

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The Longfellow Neighborhood:

Longfellow is the not technically correct, but almost universally used name for the part of south Minneapolis between the Light Rail and the Mississippi River. It's a quiet, residential, moderately expensive neighborhood popular with families and couples.

Longfellow's Location:

Officially, "Longfellow" can refer to a community of several neighborhoods in south Minneapolis. The Longfellow community contains a neighborhood officially called Longfellow, plus the Seward, Howe, Cooper and Hiawatha neighborhoods.

The official Longfellow neighborhood is a rough square mile between Hiawatha Avenue and 38th Avenue, and then between 27th Street and 34th Street. In practice, everything in the triangular area south of 27th Street in between Hiawatha Avenue and the Mississippi River is known as Longfellow. This area includes the official Longfellow neighborhood, plus Cooper, Howe and Hiawatha.

Longfellow's History:

Longfellow has always been a residential neighborhood. Immigrants living in cramped neighborhoods to the south and east of Downtown Minneapolis began to move to the Longfellow area when streetcar lines were laid connecting downtown Minneapolis to Richfield and southern suburbs in the early part of the twentieth century. And around that time, catalog homes became available, making home ownership a possibility for the working class populations of Minneapolis. Small family homes, many Sears Catalog models from the 1920s, dominate the housing stock in Longfellow.

Longfellow's Housing:

Longfellow neighborhood was first developed as a residential neighborhood in the 1920s. A prominent type of housing, one that characterizes Longfellow, is Sears Catalog Homes, single level houses built in that decade. Duplexes and single family homes dating from the 1920s until 1970s are distributed through the neighborhood. More modern, larger homes have been built recently in the eastern half of the neighborhood, near the river. Apartments are harder to find in Longfellow. Most are in small buildings, with a few newer high-rise apartment buildings near Hiawatha Avenue.

Longfellow's Residents:

Longfellow is a primarily middle class, professional neighborhood. The housing available - small single family homes - attracts small families and couples. Because the neighborhood is so close to both downtowns, many people work in Downtown Minneapolis and Downtown St. Paul. The eastern parts of the neighborhood, near the river, is wealthier, and the western half, near Hiawatha Avenue and the Light Rail line, has more working class residents.

Longfellow's Schools:

Dowling, Longfellow and Hiawatha are public elementary schools in the Longfellow neighborhood. Sandford is a middle school. There is no high school in Longfellow neighborhood, but South and Roosevelt High Schools, both within blocks of the neighborhood's western border, serve the population of Longfellow.

Minnehaha Academy is a private Christian school for preschoolers through high school.

Longfellow's Businesses:

Longfellow is no shopping destination - but that results in a quieter, peaceful neighborhood. The major streets in the neighborhood, Lake Street, and Hiawatha Avenue, have banks, pharmacies and other necessities.

The neighborhood's best known local business is the Riverview Theater, a restored movie theater showing second run movies and classics with discount ticket prices. Opposite the Riverview Theater is the Riverview Cafe, a very popular coffee shop and wine bar. The Fireroast Mountain Cafe is another neighborhood coffee shop, as is Coffee, an Ethiopian coffee shop, and Minnehaha Coffee.

Longfellow's Transportation:

Longfellow is served by the Hiawatha Light Rail line, which runs along Longfellow's western border, connecting Downtown Minneapolis, the airport and the Mall of America. Buses serve the neighborhood too, connecting to downtown Minneapolis, other Minneapolis neighborhoods, and Longfellow is one of the few places other than Downtown Minneapolis to catch a bus to St. Paul.

Longfellow is centrally located in the city of Minneapolis so several highways and the major Twin Cities freeways, I-35 and I-94 are very close by.

The southern tip of Longfellow is within a half-mile of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Longfellow's Parks and Recreation:

The most well known park in Longfellow is Minnehaha Park, home to the famous Minnehaha Falls. Other neighborhood parks, like Longfellow Park, are very popular for families.

The West River Road is very scenic, with a walking trail and bicycle trail, and a favorite place for runners, walkers, cyclists, people exercising their dogs, roller bladers and roller skiers.

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