District 10 Como Community Council

Know Your Como

The D10 Neighborhood Relations committee has assembled volunteer writers from the neighborhood to celebrate and appreciate the large and small contributions of our neighbors and the diversity that make Como a special place. The latest Know Your Como pieces will be posted in the D10 website’s newsfeeds and our weekly newsletter, but you can find all the articles archived below.

Do you have an interesting neighbor, live by a unique building, or know some fun history about our neighborhood?  Help share the story of our community by contributing to Know Your Como!

The goal of Know Your Como is to celebrate the diversity and contributions – large and small – of our neighbors and the people who came before us. Through stories, graphics and photos, we aim to highlight the rich history and iconic places that draw people to our community. Help us appreciate and learn about what makes Como a special place by contributing to this project. You can do so by interviewing your neighbors, collecting oral stories, taking photos and researching the many buildings and locations that make this community our home.

To get involved, please send an email to knowyourcomo@district10comopark.org  describing how you’d like to help. If you’d like to submit a story, a photo or graphic, please complete the Submission form below.

Everyone says so. The early morning walkers are the friendliest. We say “good morning,” or “have a great day!” Even the guy with ear buds who walks fast and never makes eye contact occasionally throws up a hand in greeting or dismissal. We all have opinions about the latest kiosk addition at the east end of Como Lake. We agree a food truck with coffee and hot chocolate would be a good addition on weekends.

D10 Board Member and Como Neighborhood History Project leader Laura Oyen presented House History Training and resources on 12/3/22.

Grandfather Oscar and father Willis share memories of the Kunze farm in this second part of the Kunze farm story. Information is also from a newspaper clipping, interviews, and a personal account written by my father, Willis. In the newspaper on the occasion of Oscar’s 90th birthday (Pioneer Press, November 21,1968), he was interviewed at the Gibbs farm on Larpenteur and Cleveland where as a boy, his family visited the Gibbs family.

My great grandfather, Alexander Kunze, came to Minnesota in I868 and acquired farming land. Later my grandfather, Oscar Kunze, lived and worked on the farm, and my father, Willis Kunze, grew up on the farm. He later built a house on a piece of the property which is the house I live in now.

Don McCall estimates that he’s been asked that question more than 5,000 times since he bought his velomobile in 2017. The most memorable encounter was with the St. Paul Police, who pulled him over for riding west on Como Avenue, in what they assumed was a motorized vehicle without a license. As with most encounters, the cops ended up in a long discussion and a picture of Don’s startling method of transportation.

This summer students and faculty from the St. Catherine University Summer Scholars program teamed up with community members to complete 10 oral history interviews of long time Como community members. Their work during the summer of 2022 explored the Como Park neighborhood history and highlights aspects of our community beyond the State Fair, Park, and the Zoo.

This year’s first Como Community Council Harvest Festival at Tilden Park featured all things harvest: backyard chickens, vegetables from the community garden, fermentation demonstrations and the great pie bake-off.

As a young mother, Robin Sherritt Gadban, now 69, often packed a picnic and brought her kids to Como Lake for the day. She dreamed of living in Como Park, and one day her dream came true.

Anyone who follows what we do over at Neighborhood Relations may have figured out by now that we LOVE competitions, and we LOVE seeing the amazing things our community can do. For the last few years, we have done the Halloween and Holiday decoration competition and every time I love the creativity that is unleashed.

It was a search for a new home that brought most people to the United States, but their fight for a roof over their heads didn’t end when the tempest dropped them on our shores. Across the American landscape, clashes erupted where one people tried to start homes in places that millions already called home. Such is the story of the house my wife and I bought our first year of marriage, a house built in 1886 by Lake Como, back when some could probably remember the area as it once was: home to the Dakota.

By Sonjie Johnson It was an astonishing idea. Spend $100,000 in 1873 to buy 260 acres of land, including Como Lake, a lake that was little more than a large swamp at the time? Crazy as it sounded, that’s exactly what the Minnesota Legislature decided to do.

While digging through some papers recently I was reminded of a young mother (me) who was looking for a way to meet others in the community and frankly, get a few moments away from two young children at home. That was over 25 years ago, and marked the beginning of my participation in the Midway Parkway Garden Club.

The crocuses were just poking their heads out on a cold April day at the North Path Garden at Como Lake. This soon-to-be colorful and well-tended plot is the creation of Debby Smith, recipient of the St. Paul’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year award, a distinct and well-earned honor. And she had a lot to tell.

“It’s important to call it out,” asserts a promo now airing on TPT – Twin Cities Public Television. “We need everyone’s perspective -- to come together.” The speaker is Rahel Nardos, MD, a friend of Tseganesh Selameab, MD, a Como neighbor, mother, spouse, and doctor. The ‘it’ Dr. Nardos refers to is race. The show, “Speaking of Race,” is a co-production of TPT and the Center for the Art of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Q: What is made out of plastic, filled to the brim with liquid gold, and looks like a friendly little bear with a rendition of the Como Pavilion glued to its chest?

If you are looking for a place to warm up this winter be sure to stop into Sumo & Smoh. Sou Moua’s (Sumo) and Salima Janmohamed’s (Smoh) delicious eats will warm your belly and the couple’s uplifting energy and kind presence will melt your heart.

You remember the one, the one who knew the best car repair shop. The one who could get your snow blower started, or find your dog that got out. If somebody’s kid was playing a local gig, or it was time for a picnic, you’d get an email with a time and place. Every neighborhood had one.

Green is Dave Crawford’s favorite color, which makes sense when you see the dream home that he and his wife, Diane Peterson, designed and built just east of the golf course. If you drive or walk north on Lexington Avenue, surely you’ve noticed it: it’s big, modern, colorful, and passive.

Pick a day. Any day, at Como Lake, 7 or 8 in the morning. Ask another regular walker if they’ve seen Bobby and they’ll know exactly who you mean.

Bikes, planes, streetcars and golf carts. These modes of transportation peppered a chance conversation I had with my neighbor Bob, whose recollections of living in our neighborhood go back 80+ years.