War for the Oaks Reader Photo Project

***Update 1*** ***Update 2*** ***Update 3*** ***Update 4 All Done!***

OK, here’s the other spring thing: I’ve been doing The Reader for a while now, and I’m intending to keep doing individual ones as before, but it occurred to me that we have an important Minneapolis book that would be perfect for a series of them: Emma Bull’s seminal urban fantasy novel War for the Oaks. Basically I want to take pictures of people reading WFTO in the locations from the book.

Most of these will be done individually, and I’d like people to volunteer for them. But I’d also like to do two large group readings, one on the Deer Pen field at Minnehaha Falls and one in front of Como Conservatory. Those I’d like to get as many people as possible to show up for. I’m thinking the first weekend in June for those, if the weather suits.

Here’s the list of individual locations I want to do, more or less in the order they appear in the book. I was surprised at how few are things that aren’t there anymore. A few of these can be done immediately, but most of them will have to wait a week or two until the trees have greened out a bit.

  • Peavy Plaza fountain (DONE)
  • University Bar (DONE)
  • Chester’s (DONE)
  • Washington Ave. between Hennepin and Nicollet (DONE)
  • Nicollet Mall west of Washington (Phouka chases Eddi. I want to try to do this one at night.)(DONE)
  • Eddi’s Apartment on Oak Grove Ave (DONE)
  • New Riverside Cafe (DONE)
  • Cedar Ave. south of Riverside north of The Cedar (DONE)
  • South edge of Loring Park (DONE)
  • Practice Space (DONE)
  • Ediner coffee shop at Calhoun Square. (DONE)
  • Hennepin Ave. between Uptown and Loring Park. (DONE)
  • North side of St. Paul (Buying the Triumph.) (DONE)
  • Walking from Eddi’s to First Ave. (DONE)
  • Rhinehaus (DONE)
  • Outside First Ave (DONE)
  • Walk back on LaSalle Ave. (DONE)
  • Van Dusen House, LaSalle & Groveland (DONE)
  • Calvary Baptist Church, Blaisdell and 26th (DONE)
  • Something in Tangletown (DONE)
  • Something on Minnehaha Parkway (DONE)
  • Minnehaha Parkway at Lake Nokomis (DONE)
  • Minnehaha Park Building (DONE)
  • Minnehaha Stairs (The back stairs, I’m pretty sure.)(DONE)
  • Creek at the Deer Pen (DONE)
  • Bridge below the Deer Pen (DONE)
  • Shore at the fork, right bank (DONE)
  • Rocks up from the path (DONE)
  • Retaining Wall (Rescuing Hairy Meg) (DONE)
  • Bridge at the Falls (DONE)
  • Stairs from the Falls (South side stairs) (DONE)
  • Minneapolis College of Art and Design (DONE)
  • Carla’s House, on Garfield south of 25th (DONE)
  • Tower Hill Park (DONE)
  • Loring Park at the fountain (DONE)
  • Como Conservatory, Sunken Garden (DONE)
  • Lake of the Isles Parkway (DONE)
  • East Cedar Beach (DONE)
  • Inside First Ave. (If they’ll let us do this.)

As you can see, there’s plenty for everybody. Some of these need a little extra location scouting, but they should all be workable. I made a Google map. I would love to be done with this by sometime in early June, if Minnesota makes it possible, so that we can have results by Fourth Street. I’m keeping my own schedule very open for this, so hopefully I can work around you.

Comment here or on LJ or tweet at me and I’ll update the post as I get volunteers.

22 thoughts on “War for the Oaks Reader Photo Project

  1. I need to be a part of this! WFTO was a big part of my healing when I left GAC after a bad breakup and breakdown. I’d love one of the more natural scenes rather than urban, such as Minnehaha. Other than that, I’m not too picky.

  2. Yes, you are right. I really, really want the Van Dusen Mansion.

    I totally love this project, by the way. Have I mentioned that?

  3. This is amazing. I have a favor to ask. Could you put off one shot to be taken on the Friday before the Solstice? That will be the Friday of 4th St and as I am from Boulder that is the only time I will be in the Cities. If you can’t I will understand. The coolness will not be diminished. This is so exciting.

  4. What a neat project! Thanks for taking the initiative.

    My mother rents an apartment in a mansion on LaSalle, across the street from the Van Dusen mansion; it’s of the same era and has a similar feel. I don’t know if that’s helpful in any way, but I’m sure she would be happy to invite people in for photos if you’re looking for something of that nature. Just shoot me an email if you’re interested.

    I just wish I were in town to claim on of these myself!

  5. The Riv space is now inhabited by the Acadia Cafe, and has very much the same feel as the Riv used to, pink walls and all. It would be possible to shoot a photo in there that exactly evokes the place at the time the novel was written to those who remember it.

    The statue “Cottontail Along the Trail” (familiarly known as “Bunnyhaha”) was an NRP project that came long after WFTO.

    There are several truly charming spots along the creek through Tangletown, between Lyndale and Nicollet. Perhaps the park bench at the south end of the first footbridge east of Nicollet would serve. Shooting east, you could get the Nicollet Bridge in the background, I believe.

    Re: the park, I am not sure what “shore at the fork, right bank” but if it is below the falls and below the second bridge, referring to the north side of the creek where the Deer Pen meets the creek, there has been substantial construction since WFTO along that bank. It’s nice, but not period.

    For that matter a very large chunk of limestone fell off the brink of Minnehaha Falls in the last month, so excluding that edge of the lip would be more nearly accurate.

    I can provide more info on what has changed at Minnehaha since WFTO was written, if you wish.

    (I wonder how one makes changes to Google Maps’ understanding of things. It misplaces the Hiawatha statue.)

    Anyway, this is a charming project! I dislike having my picture taken or I would offer to pose.



    • Given that WFTO is 25 years old, I don’t think there’s any hope of being totally period-appropriate. And in a way it’s about people still loving the book so many years later, so period-inappropriateness is something of an asset. (Though I left out Eddi’s dream, because I didn’t think shooting the mini-golf course that’s where the Guthrie used to be would be a good idea.)

      I can’t reconcile the text with entering the parkway anywhere west of Luverne. They come in from Tangletown in the north and proceed east on the parkway, clearly without crossing the creek on Lyndale or Nicollet, and the only way to do that is the Stevens Ave. bridge. (Or maybe 50th, but that’s farther east.) I will probably end up doing something between Chicago and Bloomington.

      Right bank is the south side just below the Deer Pen, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

      I don’t know if I’m going to be able to frame what Eddi supposedly sees of the Falls at all, as she never gets upstream of the bridge, or crosses to the north side. That’s a tough angle even with the new retaining wall below the bridge.

      Thanks for the comments.

  6. Hi Tim,
    I’ll be at 4th Street but am also local; I can’t do the Wednesday night shoot, but would be up for other locations whenever it works for you. I’ve just retired, so my schedule is more open than it has been, though still busy (didn’t just want to sit around!). Thanks. See you soon. –Kit

  7. I would love to get in on this! I live in St Paul, so something in this neck of the woods would be better for me (maybe buying the Triumph?). Please let me know if/when/where you need me!

  8. I’ve never attended 4th Street, and didn’t hear about this until last week. Any chance that there might be a presentation at next year’s
    Minicon in April, or CONvergence in July?

    • I will probably be at Minicon and if I do I will bring the set I’ve been carrying around. Not sure whether I’ll do anything regarding a presentation or not. They will also be on the web imminently (I got distracted by a last-minute show of my other work or it would be done by now) and I’m looking into getting a book done.

  9. Hello. I hope this went well for you. Thanks for the map. I’ve always been fascinated with the War for the Oaks and recently decided I wanted to visit Minneapolis and see the places in the book for myself. As luck turns out we’ve decided to make our honeymoon this June in Minneapolis. We’ll be visiting a lot of the places you’ve marked on the map. Thanks a lot! And if there’s happens to be any recap of this event this year let us know!

    • Thanks, Jamie. I’m running a Kickstarter for the finished book right now, and there’s a link there to see all the photos. I doubt there will be an event in June, but we’re in the beginning stages of planning something for October, if you feel like coming back.

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