NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | Cornerstones: A history of North Minneapolis


The day is coming when Northeasters will be able to cross the Lowry Bridge to explore friends and family in North Minneapolis – a good time to refresh memories and learn more about the legendary history of the Northside community.

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Daniel Pierce Bergin worked with the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) and Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), to produce an hour-long documentary on just that topic. The documentary Cornerstones: A History of North Minneapolis” offers the viewer powerful stories of Northside life blended with themes of race relations, immigration and cultural changes through “place-based memories.”

Bergin will offer a public viewing and discussion of his documentary on Saturday, February 4, 2-3:30 p.m. at Sumner Library, 611 Van White Boulevard, at the intersection of Van White Boulevard and Olson Highway. Bergin is a senior producer with a varied background including the documentary North Star: Minnesota’s Black Pioneers. Other Bergin productions include Standing the Test of Time, the biography of architect Cass Gilbert, and a literary history documentary entitled Literature & Life: The Givens Collection.

Sumner Library opened its doors in 1915 is a vital player in the history of the Northside. for nearly a century library has served the public through decades of change. Funded through the largesse of Andrew Carnegie, the Tudor Revival style building designed by architect Cecil Bayless Chapman was a showpiece as well as a citadel of learning in the working class neighborhood.

In the early days, the library served as unique place where the Jewish Community of the Northside congregated and came together to learn. The Sumner Library ensured the preservation of the Yiddish and Hebrew languages through their collection of books written in these dialects. This further enhanced the sense of community and oneness felt in the North Side neighborhood. In time, the collection and the programs of Sumner have evolved with the changing demographics of the Northside. The same spirit of service to newcomers is the distinguishing feature of Sumner today.

Because Bergin will be on hand February 4th to discuss and respond to viewers’ questions, prospective attendees may wish to preview the documentary in advance. It’s been telecast and will be shown again on Sunday, February 26, 1:00 PM, and Wednesday, February 29, at 5:00 AM and 11:00 PM. The documentary is also streamed on the web on several sites, including the TPT Cornerstones site.

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