December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

Merry Christmas to all who stop by today. I wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable day of celebration.

December 24, 2008

Christmas Lights

Now this house doesn't have tons of Christmas lights, but I do enjoy this one. Mainly because of the time they take each year to string the lights on their roof so it resembles a Spirograph pattern. Which happens to be one of my favorite toys to play with growing up. They've added a few things over the years I've been driving by it, but not too much. This home can be found in South St Paul around the 5th - 7th Street exits.

December 22, 2008

Frozen Parking Lot

Current temperature for this photo was around 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Freshly fallen snow covers the parking lot half filled with cars on a Sunday evening in Cottage Grove. The sun had recently set and the sky was oh so colorful tonight. The frozen cars, waiting for their owners to finish up their Christmas shopping so they can return home. Was I out Christmas shopping this evening you may be thinking. Nope, not a chance, I had to pick up some fish food from the pet supply store.

December 20, 2008

Finally A Win

After a six game losing streak, my Minnesota Wild finally earned a victory against the New York Islanders. This has been a tough stretch to watch all of the losing outcomes. The Wild finally got Marion Gaboric back from his annual "lower body injury" and from what I've seen in his first two games back is a team that once again has offensive chances of goal scoring. Gabby brings a different level of offense to the Wild and it quite the difference maker having him in the lineup. The opposing team is force to worry about his presence on the ice and what he can do with the puck. In the past two games, the Wild offense has had many more opportunities to score than they've seen in quite a few games.

December 19, 2008

Like A Stone

I've always liked this building and how it looks. The redness of the stone has always stood out as it obviously cannot be the natural color. But the blocks above the windows, look at the texture. It appears to have been chipped and carved, which it may have been, I don't know. Each block above the window looks different from the next.

December 18, 2008

Nighttime On The Mississippi

A nighttime photo of the Mississippi River on a very calm evening in St Paul. I was looking through my photos and stumbled upon this one overlooking the Mississippi River. I took this on day 4 of the Republican National Convention back in September. I really had the ISO set high, thus the graininess in the photo. Believe it or not, I didn't use a tripod for this one, but I was holding it against a railing.

December 17, 2008

Marquee Theatres

I've been told the marquee theater sign has changed at the Mall Of America. This contribution photo from Dave R was sent to me last week. I'll certainly get out to the mall soon to see it. I've always enjoyed the various displays the theaters have outside their doors. Hopefully marquees will be one tradition in the United States that survives. It would be a shame to see them all disappear over time because they use evil light bulbs. I still have trouble coming to grips why an incandescent light bulb is bad because it uses more electricity, yet at the same time, the average power supply in a computer today is rated at 400 Watts. 2012 is when we start saying goodbye to the 100 Watt incandescent light bulb and completely phased out by 2014 with the 40 Watt. We are asked to put CFL's in the sockets instead, but my concern is the small amount of mercury in them.

December 16, 2008

Schmidt Brewery Catwalk

Before Minnesota Brewing Company purchased the Schmidt Brewery, along the catwalk between the castle like tower and the silo's, one could see the word 'SCHMIDT'. The letters were lit up in bright red neon letters. At night, it could be seen for miles, the letter were large, larger the letters L and K from the landmark sign.

I spent a good hour or so looking for an old photo of the Schmidt neon letters but could not find one. Perhaps someone has one in their old photo albums that they could scan and send in to be posted? My email is listed under my About Me page.

The letters would light up, one at a time to spell the brewery's name in the exact same pattern, S C H M I D T, then all lights off, then all lights on, then all lights off, and all lights on once again. Finally the lights would all turn off again, after a brief pause, the letters would once again light up one at a time in sequence. As a child, I could envision this pattern in my head and time it to the exact second when the letters would turn on and off when ever the neon letters would be out of site. Or you could close your eyes, walk the pattern in your head a couple of times and see how close you were to the sequence. Tell me I'm not the only one who did this when you were young? Someone else has to have done this silly game too....right? Hahaha!

December 14, 2008

Just Like A Castle

I've always thought the main tower of the Schmidt Brewery looks like a castle.

December 13, 2008

Jacob Schmidt

Born in Bavarian in 1845, Jacob Schmidt arrived in America at the age of 20. After working in New York and Milwaukee breweries for almost five years, he came to St. Paul to assist his friend, Theodore Hamm, as the brewmaster at Hamm's brewery. Three years later, he travelled to New Ulm to work for August Schell of Schell's Brewery, and from there worked in various breweries around the Midwest.

In 1884, Jacob moved back to St. Paul and purchased a half interest in the North Star Brewery located at Commercial St. & Hudson Rd. (The place had been in operation under various owners since its inception by Edward Drewry and a Mr. Scotten, in 1855.)

SOURCE: Minnesota History of Brewing

December 12, 2008

Schmidt Brewery History

Originally the Stahlmann Brewery, but built as the Cave Brewery in 1855 was sold the the Jacob Schmidt and family in 1900. They purchased the old Stahlmann Brewery because the North Star Brewery which Jacob Schmidt had half interest in burned to the ground and a new location was needed. In 1901 it became the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company. They built a new facility and malt house along side the existing structures. In 1955, the plant was sold to the Pfeiffer Brewing Company of Detroit, but continued to use the very popular Schmidt name and logo. In 1972, G. Heilemann Brewing Company of LaCrosse, Wisconsin brought the brewery. I believe the plant closed briefly in 1987 when Heilemann's was purchased by an Australian company. The plant did reopen in 1991 when the Minnesota Brewing Company moved in and produced the strangely named beer labeled 'Pig's Eye'. If however you are a local, Pig's Eye is a very familiar name as it has quite a history in the early days of St Paul. [I believe they wanted to name St Paul 'Pig's Eye' at one point]

The plant struggled in the late 1990's financially. To help keep the plant alive, it sold part of the plant to Gopher State Ethanol and it became the nations first urban ethanol processing plant. Those of you in the Ethanol business are familiar with the foul oder it can produce. As you can image, the neighborhood was full of complaints. In reality, having an ethanol process plant in a neighborhood turn into a very bad idea. In 2002, beer production unfortunately ended at the Schmidt Brewery. The bitter smell continued to stink up the neighborhood. In May of 2004, the ethanol side of things closed for good, not due to the complaints and many court battles that lasted for years. It was closed do to financial reasoning.

Now the plant sits vacant. Though in doing some research tonight, I'm reading the plant may have been sold for 7.5 million and parts of the plant will be reconstructed in to art studio's and perhaps more. It would be nice to see the castle like structure that has stood in St Paul for 150 years to live on versus being torn down.

December 11, 2008

Pure Spring Water At The Well House

the well house at the schmidt's brewery in st paul. If you look closely, the two blue squares offer free water to anyone who brings bottles or jugs to fill up. Growing up, we often stopped here every couple of weeks to get the good drinking water. Waiting in line some days for others taking their turn. I'm not sure if they still offer the free water as the plant has been closed since 2004 or 2005.

UPDATE 12/12/08: 4.02.1990 - Schmidt Brewery will cease dispensing free spring water.

Taps at the Schmidt Brewery that have dispensed free spring water to the public since 1983 will be turned off sometime after the planned July 3 plant closing.

Each month, thousands of people wait in line to fill their glass jugs or plastic bottles. They take away a combined average of 79,000 gallons each month. The brewery estimates it gives away 955,000 gallons of spring water each year.

From the time the faucets were installed, the water was a hit. Regulars say there really is no season or time of day when there isn't a line.

The regulars were hit hard by the news that they would be cut off from the spring.


The words are a bit hard to read so I've transcribed them below.

Over 1100 feet beneath this well building flows a stream of sparkling pure spring water. We have drilled deeper than any other brewer in the United States to tap this water because no other single ingredient is more important to the qualtiy and character of our beer than the purity of our perfect brewing water.

This water fell as rain over a century ago and has been viltered pure by nature through natural rock and limestone. There is no finer or purer brewing water anywhere in the world.

We don't aim to make the most beer, Only The Best!

Minnesota Brewing Co. [originally the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company]

December 10, 2008

Down On The Corner

The corner of 5th and St Peter, plus a side entrance to The Saint Paul Hotel in downtown St Paul.

December 9, 2008

Now For Something Really New

I passed this street sign on the West Side neighborhood in St Paul. I'm puzzled to the meaning of this sign. What possibly could a sign like this alert drivers or pedestrians for? Beware of a silhouette carrying a jacket and briefcase?

UPDATE: This sign is part of a money spending project of St Paul called 'Traffic Calming Art Signs'. Here is a link about the signs:

December 8, 2008

I Am Thankful For

The great set of stairs attached to the Minnesota Science Museum. One thing I am thankful for living in a part of the country that does receive a lot of snow during the winter months is I do not have to shovel those stairs. It's been snowing here off and on the past week, nothing major yet, but enough to get out the shovels. I could only imagine how long it takes a person to clear all of those stairs of snow. Perhaps if I play my cards right, I can snap a photo of them being cleared of snow.

December 6, 2008

Self Service Car Wash

Another photo from the 7th Avenue car wash.

December 5, 2008

Tin Cups

a business sign on Rice Street in St Paul reads Tin Cups. Made a quick drive through the North End neighborhood of St Paul. More specifically, I drove down Rice Street. It has been a while since I've driven down Rice Street for as far as I did. I have a Grandmother that lives just off of Rice Street, so I get there from time to time, but typically I take a different route. As I drove south on Rice Street, there was so much that has changed, yet quite a bit of it is still as I remember it. Tin Cups and their great sign sits on Rice and Maryland Avenue. Attached to Tin Cup's is a liquor store and beyond that, there are a bunch of new or updated shopping stores that looked quite different from what I could recall.

December 4, 2008

The Extras At The Car Wash

Just a close up of some of the extras from yesterday's car wash photo.

December 3, 2008

Four Stall Car Wash

This car wash location has been here on 7th Street in St Paul on the West End neighborhood for a very long time. Their unique shape sets them apart from anything being built today in car wash land. I guess you could say they are a historical landmark for the city of St Paul. I can tell you this, anyone who has driven by them knows exactly where these are. It may have been a while since you drove past them, they are still there cleaning cars on a daily basis. When the day comes and they are no longer standing, their oddly shaped points will be missed by those who remember.

December 1, 2008

Theme Day: Circles Or Spheres

The first day of each month, many of the city photo bloggers participate in a theme photo. December's theme is circles or spheres. I found wanted to incorporate Christmas into my theme day photo and found the largest Christmas ornaments I could find in the Twin Cities. These can be found hanging at the Mall Of America in Bloomington.

To see more creative theme day photos around the world, stop by the portal page for a convenient thumbnail view of all participants. As the time zone change around the globe, more photos will be added.