Homewood Cohousing - Minneapolis updates
This file contains old 'updates' about Homewood Cohousing previously
featured on the home page. They are in chronlogical order so more recent
are at the end. They are separated by "***" for searching.
*** Update Jan 3, 1997 (Earliest update)
The last few months - since August when we got possession of the
second house (1240 Russell) - we have been busy working on "1240". We
are not done yet but are getting close. Tho it was in pretty good
condition, there were some things that needed doing before being ready
to be occupied. As usual we underestimated how long this would take. It
also took longer because we have done most of the work ourselves. The
new windows, refinished oak floors and repainted trim on the front of
the house (and innumerable other things) have improved it a lot.
The main task immediately ahead is to find occupants for "1240".
We've been thinking that this may not be cohousing people initially. A
number of friends and relatives of neighbors as well as people from the
neighborhood have expressed interest in a non-cohousing rental of the
house if we cant find cohousing oriented occupants.
Work on 1240 has kept us busy enough that we have not done too much
recruiting and organizing to build support for the community. We have
had a few potluck suppers. There is a young woman - Lynnea - interested
in cohousing and living at 1240 for a year or so. She is the daughter a
neighbor, a college student and an organizer. She is looking for
roommates. There are several other people with some cohousing interest
and some interest in 1240, tho no families.
The house across the alley (1216 Sheridan) is no longer a possibility
for acquisition. Our city council member (council chair Jackie
Cherryhomes) will be moving in there after it is renovated. Jackie has
some interest in cohousing and borrowed two of my cohousing books for
several weeks. On the other hand she is very busy and not inclined to
socialize when she gets home.
A very nice 6 unit apartment building across and up the alley
(2419 Plymouth at the corner of Sheridan) has been for sale since last
fall. We discussed buying it as part of the cohousing community but it
seems like more of a project than we are ready for at this time. Fred is
shoveling the sidewalks and a few other chores for the current owner
while he spends 3 months in Arizona. He has owned it for the last 30
years. We saw this as a way of becoming more familiar with the building
and maybe forming a relationship with the current owner that could
evolve into a partnership or something.
Now it appears that the building will be bought by a neighbor who is
sympathetic to cohousing. His intent is for his mother to live there and
he expects she will be interested in cohousing! We hope to learn of
vacancies as they arise there so we can try to recruit cohousing
oriented tenants - tho the turnover rate has been quite low.
There is also a double bungalow just south of the apartment building
(1238-40 Sheridan) that is for sale. We will be touring it soon.
*** Dec 1997 update:
In early 1997, work on 1240 was completed for now (old houses always
have more work...). Since March it has been occupied by friendly folks
who are expected to be there till sometime in 1998 when it will be
available. They are sympathetic to the retrofit cohousing idea but not
in a position to be long time participants.
We did not pursue either the 6 unit apartment building or the double
bungalow mentioned in the January update.
We are looking at houses that are very close and available.
In early December 1997 we made a more substantial effort to start a
Our Potluck on 12/6/97 supper went well. Including us there were 16
people - 4 households from nearby, 1 from the neighborhood, 1 from a
couple miles away and two from Monterey Cohousing. A comparable number
sent there regrets that they could not come this time including 4 that
intended to come but could not after all. There was plenty of good
Five households stayed for the (RMCA) Cohousing video which I urged
people to watch specifically to see the motivation and observe the kind
of things people who live in cohousing do together including eating
together often. Afterward we had a wide ranging discussion of things we
could do together including eating together, sharing a heated garage to
work on cars, sharing a cable tv subscription, some common space
eventually etc. We decided to have another potluck supper in January
(Sat, 1/24/98 at 5pm) at the Peterson's and February at Al Knox's.
Fred emphasized the significance of close proximity in facilitating this
sort of interaction. I think there was consensus that at this stage,
while other people are welcome the emphasis is on the folks that live
close - roughly either side of the 1200 block of Russell and the East
side of the 1200 block of Sheridan.
Fred also discussed the reasons for buying 1240 Russell and considering
buying 1220 Sheridan and 1244 Russell which are to hold on to
opportunities for people to move close to participate in the community
building that he sees this might evolve into.
*** March 98 update
In early December 1997 we made a more substantial effort to start a
potluck supper. Potlucks were held in Dec, Jan, Feb and one is
scheduled in March. The Feb and March potlucks were combined with a
Racial Dialogue based on a call by the Fellowship of Reconcilliation.
We expect the potlucks to continue monthly. I have a list of about 30
households to whom I send email and networked voice mail announcements /
reminders as well as leafletting those on the block not reached by these
methods. I primarily focus on people who live on or very close to the
block but also invite people in the neighborhood and also some cohousing
friends from the area.
The typical attendance has been 12 - 20 people which fits in a living
room. We have rotated houses on the block.
Two nearby houses were sold in December before we could make offers -
we were not sure we wanted to invest in and be responsible for more
One of these - 1244 Russell - will be available later this year after
being renovated by the non-profit developer that bought it. 1240 Russell
(the house we bought - see elsewhere) will be available this summer or
later this year also.
We have been visited by a family who is part of a cohousing community
that may move to Minneapolis for job reasons. We'd love to have them
for their Friday night potluck when they were visiting the area.
When Monterey's kitchen and dining are remodeling are done, maybe
some of the Homewood potluck folks can go to Monterey for a potluck.
Monterey is not too far from us - a mile west of Cedar Lake.
See also the these newly posted items:
5 images about Homewood cohousing
newspaper article about Homewood
*** Update 6/29/98
The two houses - 1220 Sheridan Av N and 1244 Russell Av N that are being
renovated ( 1220 is well started; 1244 is yet to start) on the block
continue to be available. Email Fred for details. The first block
party on 6/22 (a block party in Minneapolis is when the street is closed
(by a petition of 75% of residents and barracaded and everone on the
block is invited to picnic / party in the street) was great fun and
weather. The second block party will be in August - email Fred for
details. A July potluck has not yet been organizied - trying to find a
date when the most folks will be around. Summer in Minneapolis is short
*** 11/99 Update
Finally a new tho Brief update! The potluck supper continues -
generally monthly and rotates to various houses. About 6 households
participate fairly regularly. Over the summer it was hard to find dates
that worked for folks.
1240 Russell - the house Fred and Becca bought in 1996 (across the
street from where we live) is about to be sold to folks who found us by
searching for "cohousing Twin Cities" on the web. We look forward to
their moving in. There are currently no houses available on the block.
Fred visited Denmark and toured cohousing in Feb 1999 with 7 other folks
from around the US - a great trip. I've finally gotten a slide show made
of the pictures taken.
*** Sept 2000 update. HOUSE FOR SALE - see below
In Dec 1999 James and Janell did buy and move to 1240 Russell and are a
great addition to our community. They have made further improvements on
that house. Our potluck continues with about 6 households participating
regularly - our core 3 plus 3 households who are long time neighbors on
the block. In addition to these 6 we have other neighbors who are invited
to the potlucks but seldom or have not yet eaten with us but are
neighborly in other ways. Summer was again a hard time to find times to
meet. Less organized interactions continue - child care swaps, house
repair consults, gardening (shared mulch!) and impromptu visits back and
forth. We have found that the distance to 1240 Russell (and it's
orientation to the east alley) has limited casual, serendipitous
interaction with those of us that straddle the west alley. We have
resolved to find ways to have more contact. The block club (a more general
level of organization on the block) is considering getting speed bumps in
our alleys to slow down and discourage traffic. The housing market in
Minneapolis is very tight and prices are rising and our neighborhoods long
depressed prices are rising even faster tho not to the levels elsewhere.
1227 Russell is for sale and its location in between the 3 current
households makes it very desirable to find community oriented folks to
live there. Here is the announcement we are distributing widely for this
House for sale on Community oriented block
*** 9/26/00 house is sold (10/31 closing so not final til then) ***
Are you interested in creating community where you live? Consider
buying an available house and joining 3 households on our block
trying to raise neighborliness into cooperative activities such as
eating together, gardening together, helping raise each others children
('it takes a village') , sharing equipment etc. Our goal is to create a
cohousing-like community in our Minneapolis neighborhood near Wirth
The house north of ours is for sale. It is a 1.5 story stucco house
with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, finished basement. $148,500 asking price.
It was listed 9/13/00 but stuff sells fast in this tight market.
See old description at Russell Av N community.
Fred H. Olson or Becca Brackett, 1221 Russell Av N, Minneapolis, MN 55411
(612) 588-9532 (fholson at cohousing.org)
*** July 2003. This page is only about 2.5 years overdue for an update...
The info here is generally true, we are still here. We seldome eat together
(potlucks) now due to scheduling difficulties and shortage of round tuits
(we dont get around to it.) Housing prices have escalated beyond reasonable.
As of 7/03 there is a house next to Fred and Becca for sale at an
unreasonable price. After looking over whats here, email Fred for updates.
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maintained by Fred H. Olson fholson at cohousing.org