The University Grove neighborhood, tucked in a quiet, wooded corner next to the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, is a showcase of midwestern residential architecture. The 103 homes built for professors and administrators over a 60-year period represent an “architectural time capsule” of modern America according to a 1989 article about the neighborhood in The New York Times. The result is a mix of family homes, from modern to traditional, side-by-side. What ties the homes together is the visual continuity of openness between individual lots and street setbacks.
Curved streets and majestic oaks define the Grove in its secluded but convenient location. Nestled between the University golf course and one of St. Paul’s premier neighborhoods, St. Anthony Park, residents are within walking distance to the St. Paul campus and many of the basic services of urban living.
St. Anthony Park boasts its own small downtown, affectionately known as “The Park.” It has a neighbor-owned grocery store, hardware store, full-service bank, a Carnegie library, barber/beauty shops, wine store, dry cleaner, travel agency, restaurants, coffee shops, service station, post office, bakery, independent bookstore and small retail specialty shops. In the neighborhood are churches, nursery schools, child care centers, and a medical/dental clinic.
Recreational and cultural activities are plentiful in the neighborhood. The Grove has a playground picnic area and the former streetcar line is now a wooded walking trail. The St. Paul campus tennis courts and new gymnasium/pool are located on the eastern border of the Grove. The Les Bolstad University Golf Course is literally a chip shot away. Falcon Heights, the burg in which the Grove and the St. Paul campus reside, offers a growing network of walking paths, bikeways and parks. Both St. Anthony Park and Falcon Heights offer extensive year-round recreational sports programs for people of all ages.
The neighborhood’s cultural life is enriched by the distinguished “Music in the Park” series, Art in the Park fair, an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration, community theater groups, and exhibits and programs at nearby churches and on the St. Paul campus.
The Grove is part of the Roseville area school district Brimhall Elementary serves K-6 and is noted for its international student body and strong parental involvement. Older children attend the Roseville Area Middle School and High School. Buses for all three schools stop in the neighborhood.
The Grove is well-served by public transportation including an inter-campus bus stop (Circulator) in the Grove. The Circulator is free and makes stops every 15 minutes during the regular University school calendar to bus connections on the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses. Downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul are easily accessible by nearby bus lines.
Learn more about the city of Falcon Heights.
The University Grove Homeowners Association considered seeking historic designation for the neighborhood in early 2000.
A neighborhood committee studied the pros and cons of seeking this designation, and was aided and informed on the process by the University. It was learned the neighborhood merits this designation not only for its distinctive architecture of the individual homes, but also the unusual social arrangement and mutual involvement between the neighborhood and the University. Only a few universities historically pursued the experiment in university/community development, including Minnesota, Stanford, and Princeton.
The Grove’s location in the typical oak savannah of the region and the number of remaining statuesque oak trees is pertinent to the designation. Also, the role of the firm Morel and Nichols, a national pioneer in urban planning, is historically significant as the original designers of the community in 1928 and 1929.
At the 2000 annual homeowner’s association meeting, residents decided not to pursue historical designation.