Arch finds way back home

October 23, 2012 by  

A historic piece of metal architecture that one graced the streets of St. Paul has been rescued and will be “saved and restored”, said Jerry Hammer, general manager of the Minnesota State Fair, last week.

Hammer, who discovered the piece in a nearby wooded area, will use part of the fair’s project budget to restore the former streetcar arch, which has historic significance for St. Paul. He researched the piece, the history of which could be captured by brochure printers for future attendees of the State Fair.

The arch was erected in 1933 at the intersection of Como and Hudson in St. Paul. It was manufactured and installed as a Depression-era Emergency Relief Association (ERA) project, a federal undertaking to put men to work. It lasted at that corner, which was originally the end of the line, into the 1980s – well after streetcar service was continued.

Because the arch was at the streetcar terminus, ticket boxes were at the base of each arch. Hammer said he will do some research as to what color the arch was painted and how it was lit. On the two columns that support the arch were ticket boxes, which he hopes will be rejuvenated and used again.

Hammer’s research also showed that over the years, the wording at the crest of the arch varied, sometimes saying ‘Minnesota State Fair’, and sometimes sporting a simple letter ‘M’. The word ‘Minnesota’ will be placed in the restored version, with the original color restored, the lighting researched, and the placement determined.

Hammer said it will probably be close to fairgrounds, as well as to its original location.