Celebrating 75 years of cooperative life | the alley diary
By Becky Gazca, Walt Weaver and Lou Tiffany Welter
How many of you have walked past that building at Park Avenue and 26th Street and wondered what it was? In front of the American Swedish Institute, “2615 Park” was built in 1929-1930 to fill a void in the neighborhood landscape. It was the dream of our founders and builders, Carl Anderson, Gustav Nelson, Andrew Rydell and Gustav Rydell, to build the most luxurious and elegant apartment building in this neighborhood.
“Funding for the construction of 2615 was obtained through the skin of our financial teeth in 1929. The architect most often credited with creating the plans was Martin G. Lindquist. The construction company was the Anderson-Nelson Company, owned by Carl Anton “CA” Anderson and Gustav “Gus” Nelson, both recent Swedish immigrants. Originally designed to be ten stories high, plans were reduced to six stories thanks to the Great Depression. 2615 was to be a “residents” hotel but with all the amenities of a typical “passenger” hotel. Owned by a group of businessmen, it was run by the Anderson-Nelson Company with CA’s son Lars acting as garage attendant, office manager, maintenance man, switchboard operator, driver and groundskeeper for his first twelve years. When did this man sleep?
On August 20, 1947, the Star Journal reported: “The first steps to turn 2615 Park Avenue, a million-dollar apartment building, into a co-op with tenants buying their own apartments were underway today. “Soon the era of chauffeurs, maids, cooks and laundresses became part of the 2615 tradition. The Loretta Tea Room last served Sunday brunch over twenty-five years ago. We We know that some people with illustrious names have made their home here: Ted Mann; Charlie Johnson of sports fame; popular columnist Bob Murphy; bandleader Eugene Ormandy; teacher, mentor and peace activist Marv Davidov and others. But, in 1935, was Amelia Earhart really living in Unit 612? Rumors abound. We may never be certain. For more details on the history of 2615, borrow a copy of the book, Biography of a building – The personalities of 2615 Park Avenue. By Mary Jo Thorsheim Ph.D.
We believe we are the oldest housing co-op in Minnesota, celebrating 75 years this year! Governed by a Board of Directors, with over 100 resident shareholders, as well as our property manager and garage staff, we work hard to preserve our piece of history. It was the insight of our founders who built this enduring structure, that we are charged with the duty of protecting, preserving and enhancing their legacy. The existence of our magnificent home after all these years, through the changes of the city around us, is proof enough of an even brighter future.
Courtesy Mary Jo Thorsheim Ph.D. use excerpts from her book Biography of a building – The personalities of 2615 Park Avenue available at the cash register of the Hennepin County Public Library.