In 1953, the Donovan Construction
Meadowbrook Manor, located at
Excelsior Blvd. The project started in 1947. It was first advertised as having 640 units in 89 buildings,
although the count now is 556 units in 58 buildings on 25
The complex was
constructed at a cost of $6 million. At the time, it was the
largest apartment housing project in the Midwest.
The construction photos below are courtesy of Mr. Denn
Evans, Manager of Meadowbrook Manor.
At opening, rent for an efficiency apartment was $62 a
month. One bedrooms went for $85, and two bedrooms peaked at
In 1963, the following ad for Meadowbrook Manor appeared in
the TV Times.
In the beginning, Meadowbrook Manor was a stylish address, serving
singles, young couples, and schoolteachers in a market with
few apartments. There were two community garden spots,
now taken over by parking. (Community gardening has
been added back in 2009.) There was also a "Country
Boy" convenience store located at 6920 Meadowbrook Blvd.
This was an apartment that had been given a separate
entrance, but has since been reverted into an apartment.
In an era before clothes dryers were common, clotheslines
One drawback is that it did not come with air conditioning, which
was installed in the late 1990s. It was at this time
that many improvements were made to the units. One big
job was to remove fuel oil tanks that first provided heat
for the buildings.
For many years the complex has been owned by the Bigos
THE MEADOWBROOK COLLABORATIVE
By the 1990s the complex had become "low-income
housing," with many units rented to low-income people
holding Section 8 rent supplement vouchers. Conditions
were described by Linda Trummer in 2006:
"Meadowbrook [was covered with] overgrown weeds and
broken glass and discarded beer cans. This was a scary
place to visit in the early '90s and an even more
frightening place for good people to live. I still
remember one mother telling me that the day after she moved
in, she looked out the window to see the police in their
SWAT gear surrounding her corner townhouse, preparing to
kick in a neighbor's door. Felony drug arrests were
common a dozen years ago."
To address these problems, the
Meadowbrook Collaborative was formed in 1993, led by
Linda Trummer. The Meadowbrook Collaborative is a
partnership among the City of St. Louis Park, St. Louis Park
School District, Park Nicollet Health Services and the
Ridgedale Branch of the YMCA. The collaborative works with the
Meadowbrook property owner and residents to offer services
and activities aimed at ensuring that residents' health,
education and safety needs are met. Initially the program
was run out of an apartment at 4115 Meadowbrook Lane.
A police substation shared that space. In 1995-96, a
former laundromat was briefly used for youth programming.
(The laundromat had been shut down when it was discovered
that the water was being pumped into Minnehaha Creek.)
"The 'Kids' Clubhouse' was an abandoned space filled with
garbage. The police had initially used it as their
"COP Shop" until their windows were shot out, and we invited
them to share space. It was a cold, dirty, musty
building - but it was where we met every day to play games
and have a snack. That ugly old room may have been
cold, but there was always a lot of warmth and laughter and
love.. We built a playground and basketball court, and
created a community center with a computer lab and library
and warm place for kids to come after school. Later
the City added a sun shelter and shade trees so we could
expand outdoors during the summer months."
In about 2003, the program moved into two combined townhouses at
4072 Meadowbrook Lane.
The Meadowbrook Collaborative is a State and national success story, and has
been visited by Governor Pawlenty and First Lady Laura Bush. Mrs. Bush recognized
the Meadowbrook Collaborative as an example of the type of
communities in her initiative, Helping America's Youth. "The
great example that Meadowbrook is for the rest of the
country is it is a housing project that's turned into a real
community where a number of groups work together to make
sure all the children and adults in the community have a
chance to live in a real community," Bush said.
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.