Baby Gorilla Dies at Como Zoo

The Como Zoo community is dealing with a devastating loss this week. The zoo lost a baby gorilla less than a week after it was born to its western-lowland gorilla mother, Alice. This was the first birth of a baby animal is the history of the Como Zoo -- but the zoo has been caring for gorillas for 55 years. 

The baby was non-responsive and weak this past Sunday morning when zoo officials checked in on the gorilla and resuscitation efforts were fruitless. 

Zoo officials suspect the infant was not feeding properly. They were careful to monitor the mother and baby from a distance in an effort to not interfere with the parent-child bonding experience. Alice was very protective of the baby and often turned her back from zoo officials when they tried to observe her caretaking abilities. 

"The baby had appeared as if he was doing well through Saturday evening. He had a strong grip and was vocal," according to a statement from the Como Zoo. "Alice was showing positive signs of maternal instinct, had been observed nursing and cradling the baby."

A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

This sad news comes abrubtly after the amazing news of the gorilla infant's birth. 


What $144,900 Buys in Saint Paul's Como Neighborhood

Here is MLS # 3971689

This single-family home is located at 1573 Alameda Street in St. Paul, Minnesota. This 1 1/2-story home was built in 1938. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 900-square-feet of space.




This charming home features new and refinished flooring throughout. The kitchen has recently been updated.




Don't let its small size fool you, there is plenty of space on the upper level and the basement is finished. The property also has an attached garage, a deck, and a fenced backyard.




This house could be yours for $144,900!

Browse more Como Neighborhood Homes or Saint Paul MN Real Estate


Saint Paul's Merriam Park a Study in Neighborhood Vitality

The Pioneer Press recently published an article about the small-scale retailers that have helped reinvigorate the Merriam Park neighborhood in Saint Paul. Local business owners and entrepreneurs have brought much needed food, retailers, and services to places where they could truly benefit the community.

For decades Marshall Avenue was a bustling streetcar route, a major artery that crossed the Mississippi River to link the Twin Cities. Shops focused on everyday needs, even after buses replaced streetcars.

In 1965, this single block boasted a remarkable assortment: a corner drugstore, a grocery store, a hardware store, a bakery, a Laundromat, a paint store, a barber shop, a cafe, a beauty salon, a variety store, a TV repairman, a restaurant, a dentist's office and, in this strongly Catholic neighborhood, a Catholic gift shop.

By 1980, virtually all were gone. The rise of freeways, malls, suburbs and national chains sapped its vitality. Marshall's traffic plummeted, after Interstate 94 opened nearby in 1968. So a new type of tenant came to the block, one that didn't rely as much on passersby.

There was a prosthetics business, a siding shop, a used furniture outlet. Neighbors still smile about some of the more unusual enterprises — the flag store, the baseball card shop and a shop that sold chairs from old sports stadiums.

But circumstances are always fluid. Older neighborhoods were beginning to be recognized once again for their charm. And local residents dreamt of making a real contribution toward helping the community thrive.

In 1989, Pat and Dick Trotter opened a small bakery called Trotter's Cafe. From the start, they were passionate about local before it was a movement. They insisted on using...

The Polar Bears are Back in Town!

Buzz and Neil, the Como Zoo polar bears who have been in Detroit for 2 years while their new habitat is completed, have returned to St. Paul. The brother bears are taking some time to get used to their spacious new home, Polar Bear Odyssey

About four times bigger than their old abode, the $15 million exhibit is intended to mimic a Hudson Bay ecosystem. In the new exhibit, there is a large indoor complex, two outdoor areas, a saltwater pool, rock outcroppings, and the habitat is planted with native flora. It's the only polar bear exhibit in the U.S. — and the second in the world after Toronto's — to get the Three Diamond Rating by Polar Bears International.

While the bears acclimate to their new surroundings, the exhibit will be closed. Zoo keepers are expectig it to open to visitors until June 3.

The 14-year-old bears have been a popular attraction at Como Park neighborhood zoo since 2002.

For more information on the features of the Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit, go to

St. Paul vs. The Emerald Ash Borer

Next week, forestry crews will start cutting down boulevard ash trees in selected areas of St. Paul as part of a broader strategy to slow the spread of emerald ash borers.

They expect to remove about 355 non-diseased but generally declining ashes over two months in wards 6 and 7 on the East Side. All the trees are on public property. Right now, the concentration will be on boulevard tries and in the future it may move to parks.

The work is being funded through a $722,600 state grant aimed at helping cities cope with invasive emerald ash borers. The insects were found last spring in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood. Ash borers will likely spread to many of Minnesota's estimated 940 million ash trees.

The work will be done away from the infested area on the west side of the city. Removing healthy trees in the infected areas would simply force hungry beetles elsewhere and would hasten their spread. In the spring, crews expect to focus their efforts on removing diseased trees in the infested area.

Ash trees make up about 30% of Saint Paul's tree canopy, with more than 30,000 of them just on boulevards. Last year, 83 diseased trees were found and removed in St. Paul and Falcon Heights.

The city is distributing pamphlets explaining the tree-removal process to affected area residents.
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Holiday Flower Show in St. Paul's Como Park

About 60,000 people will visit the Holiday Flower Show in St. Paul's Como Park. The show, which runs through January 18, 2010, at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, "brings a wash of indoor color to contrast with the outdoor snowscape," which as you know is particularly snowy right now. Of course, the poinsettia is the star of the show and it comes in more colors than you could imagine, like peppermint twist, cinnamon stick, and even eggnog.

Located right in our backyard, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is a gem of the Midwest even if you might not realize it. Not many cities have been able to maintain buildings such as this. Despite several calamities in its 95-year history, it has survived. It is a rare cultural attraction that draws crowds even in Minnesota's coldest months.

The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory was first opened in 1915. The conservatory today contains more than 10,000 plants in its permanent collection. Holiday flower shows began at the conservatory about 1925. The combination of special flower shows and the conservatory's "permanant" collection draws nearly 1.9 million visitors each year.

Additionally, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory's history is now featured in a new book, "Jewel of Como," that details the undertaking to create a "botanical temple" to rival those found in cities like New York and San Francisco.

"The building has traveled a long road from dazzling to derelict and back again," the authors wrote. "Annual flower shows entertain and delight, fountains spout and trickle, and the scent of rosemary and jasmine wafts through the air. All who come find comfort in a warm place on a chilly day. Today, Como Park's...

Saint Paul Takes Steps Against Emerald Ash Borer

The St. Paul city council introduced an ordinance Wednesday requiring homeowners to remove ash trees infested with emerald ash borer once a city forester discovers them. A similar measure involving Dutch elm disease is already on the books.

The proposed ordinance would allow Saint Paul city foresters to enter private property to inspect trees suspected of being infested with the beetle. Any tree discovered with the beetle would promptly be declared a nuisance and would have to be removed within 20 days — or as few as seven days in an "emergency," such as a season in which the beetle is about to mature, according to the ordinance.

A mature ash tree can cost thousands of dollars to remove. Though the ordinance mentions offering possible financial help for the cost of removing trees to residents, no specific funding source has been identified. The ordinance also states city could cut down the trees of unresponsive property owners and bill them for the expense.

Since the emerald ash borer was first discovered in in St. Paul's St. Anthony Park neighborhood in May, 80 infested ash trees have been cut down because of an emergency state order. One Saint Paul neighborhood, Como Park, is even attempting an ash tree-less experiment.

"Eventually, all the ash trees (in St. Paul) are going to be gone. That's the reality. ... I don't think people realize yet what this could mean," Hahm said.

An estimated 20% of St. Paul's trees are ash. Emerald Ash Borer has also been discovered in ash tree-rich Falcon Heights.


Ash-less Experiment in Saint Paul's Como Park Neighborhood

Many of the trees in St. Paul's Como Park neighborhood are ash trees. Neighbors on two blocks of West California have agreed to a radical city plan to remove 40 trees and plant new ones, instead of allowing them to languish due to emerald ash borer. Work will start next week.

Though ash borer bugs have not been found in the area, the ash trees are already declining. St. Paul is the epicenter of Minnesota's emerald ash borer infestation. Because getting rid of the pest is not an option, city officials are simply trying to slow its spread.

Soon after the ash trees and stumps are removed, Redmond Linden and Sienna Glen Maple will be planted in an alternating pattern. The new trees will be about 2 inches in diameter, and it will probably take about 10 years for them to provide good shade....

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for February 2009

According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities, new posted listings for homes in St. Paul MN, decreased in February.  There were 480 new listings in Saint Paul throughout the month, compared to the 602 homes put up on the market during February 2008.  That is a decline of -20.3%.  In contrast, there were 548 new listings in January 2009.  The Merriam Park neighborhood and West 7th neighborhood of St. Paul experienced increases in posted new listings, while rest saw their listings decrease.

For the year to date posted new listings in St. Paul, the picture looks just a little different. For February and January, there were 1,027 new listings, compared to the 1,164 during the same time frame of 2008. That’s a -11.8% reduction.  The Greater East Side, Merriam Park, and West 7th neighborhoods saw a rise in listings up to +17.4%; other Saint Paul neighborhood listings dropped.

There were many homes sold in Saint Paul in February compared to 2008.  There were 202 homes sold throughout the month, a full +27.0% increase over the 159 homes sold in February of 2008!  Rates at which homes were selling varied from neighborhood to neighborhood, with the biggest differences seen in West Side/Cherokee...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for January 2009

The first St. Paul real estate market analysis for the year of 2009! New posted listings for homes in St. Paul, Minnesota, decreased in January according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  During the month, there were 548 new listings in Saint Paul, compared to the 562 homes put up on the market during January 2008.  That is a decrease of just -2.5%.  It was a mixed bag when the posted new listings are broken out by neighborhood, as some big increases while others saw decreases. Here is a breakdown of new listings by Saint Paul neighborhood:

The number of homes sold within St. Paul, Minnesota, in January 2009 is higher than the same month of 2008, a trend that has been running for a few months.  There were 170 homes sold throughout the month, a +7.6% increase over the 158 homes sold in January 2008.  Closed sales on homes for January 2009 in Saint Paul by neighborhood:

The prices of homes sold in St. Paul have continued to fall.  The average sales price of a home sold in January was $111,222, a negative change from the $205,897 of January2008.  That is a decrease of -46.0%. Only the West 7th neighborhood saw an increase in real estate prices in January. The percentage...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for December 2008

This is the final St. Paul real estate market analysis for the year of 2008.  According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities, new posted listings for homes in St. Paul, Minnesota, increased in December.  There were 399 new listings in St. Paul, compared to the 351 homes put up on the market during the same month of 2007, which adds up to an increase of +13.7%.  Unlike November, lots of neighborhoods in Saint Paul saw increases in new listings.  The increase is a little unusual, because December is obviously a month full of holidays and most people don’t want the hassle of putting their house up on the market.

There were 6,859 new listings of homes for sale in St. Paul that were posted within the 2008 year.  That is a decline of -8.8% from the 7,520 homes listed throughout the year of 2007.  The neighborhoods of Mac-Groveland, St. Anthony / Midway, and West 7th experienced the greatest declines in new listings.  The Phalen and West Side / Cherokee neighborhoods have been the only St. Paul neighborhoods that saw boosts in new listings compared to 2007.

There was a higher number of homes sold within St. Paul, Minnesota, in December 2008 than in 2007.  There were 217 homes sold during the month, +5.9% more than the 205 homes sold during December of 2007.  There were 3,046 closed sales in Saint Paul...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for November 2008

New posted listings for homes in Saint Paul, Minnesota, decreased during November according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  Throughout the month, there were 398 new listings in St. Paul.  In the previous year, there were 481 new listings during November.  That is a -17.3% reduction in new listings, comparatively.  The only neighborhoods of St. Paul which saw increases in posted new listings of homes for sale were Phalen and Merriam Park.  A drop off in new listings is to be expected now and over the next few months as the winter season really starts kicking up snow. 

Saint Paul’s new listings of homes for sale from for the year-to-date from January through November are at 6,460.  That is a decrease of -9.9% from last year’s 7,169 for the same time frame.  Southeast, St. Anthony / Midway, and West 7th neighborhoods are continuing to experience great declines in homes being listed for sale.  The Phalen and West Side / Cherokee areas have been the only Saint Paul neighborhoods to see boosts in new listings through the month of November.

And now the part that you’ve been waiting for: the good news.  The number of homes sold within St. Paul, Minnesota, during November...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for October 2008

New listings for homes in Saint Paul, Minnesota, fell again during October according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  Throughout the month, there were 515 new listings in St. Paul.  During October of 2007, there were 603 new listings.  That is a decrease of about -14.6%.  Normally, I list the neighborhoods here that saw the greatest decreases in new listings, but there are many which saw decreases of 20% to over 45%.  The only neighborhoods which saw any significant increase of new listings were the Phalen and Merriam Park neighborhoods of Saint Paul

Posted new listings of Saint Paul real estate for the year to date were at 6,062 from January through October.  That is a decrease of -9.4% from last year’s 6,688 during the same time period.  Merriam Park, West 7th, and St. Anthony / Midway continue to experience great decreases in new listings.  The Phalen neighborhod and West Side / Cherokee neighborhoods are the only ones to have seen any increases in new listings for the year to date.

Now for a really good number: The amount of homes sold within Saint Paul, ...

Saint Paul on the Forefront of Green Practices

The City of St. Paul has been working hard to ensure that it stands out as a community that not only cares for the environment, but sees the money saving value green technology potentially offers.  I went back through my previous posts to find all of the ones I wrote about how Saint Paul has been evolving towards a more earth-friendly community.  I even surprised myself with how many I found!

Working backwards, there was the article I wrote about a Macalester College student who was recently recognized as an environmental leader; a great story about youths in Dayton’s Bluff being honored for their anti-littering work; and a recycling collection program at the Como Park Zoo.  Additionally, the City of St. Paul works hard to preserve its urban canopy and has committed a large percentage of its lands for green spaces.  Finally, more activities occurring in St. Paul emphasize the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle, most recently with the 2008 Minnesota Solar Home Tour and the Eco-House at the Minnesota State Fair.

Phew, that’s a lot!  It should come as no surpise, then that the rest of this post will discuss two new green living practices in which the City of ...

Como Pool Closed for Good

A popular summer destination for Saint Paul residents has closed and the end of an era has come to the Como Park neighborhood.  The deteriorating Como Pool, which has been serving the community since 1962, has closed for good due to safety problems and high repair costs.  The decision as to when another pool will be built to fill its absence has not yet been made.

The Como Pool has needed repairs for many years.  Because of mechanical and electrical problems, the City of Saint Paul has decided the pool can't be operated safely.  The infrastructure is now so old that repairs would far outrun its value.  Bringing it fully up to operational code would cost well over $1 million.

Como Pool was built for $161,000 by the private firm Public Pools Inc., which operated it on land leased from the City of St. Paul until 1965 when the firm went out of business. The city then bought the pool for $15,000. 

The outdoor pool attracted 15,000 swimmers each summer until its closure this past September.  Most visitors live in homes the neighborhoods that surround Como Regional Park in St. Paul: Como Park, North End, Thomas-Dale, and Midway.  Those residents are very interested in what will...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for September 2008

Changing from what has been happening in recent months, new listings of homes for sale in Saint Paul, Minnesota, rose during September according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  During the month, there were 621 new listings in St. Paul.  Throughout September of last year, there were 602 new listings.  That is equal to an increase of about +3.2%!  The Phalen and Highland Park neighborhoods of St. Paul experienced the greatest increase in new listings during September at +44.3% and +32.4% respectively. On the contrary, the West 7th and Merriam Park neighborhoods saw declines in new listings of -45.0% and -50.0% respectively during September. 

Posted new Saint Paul real estate listings from January through September for the year to date were at 5,543.  That is a decrease of -8.9%.  The month of September’s rise in new listings helped to raise that number up a bit that from August’s -10.2%.  If the trend continues in October for new listings in Saint Paul, the real estate market might be on par with posted listings for last year.  Saint Paul's Merriam Park and St. Anthony / Midway had the most extreme decrease in new listings.  The Phalen and West Side / Cherokee neighborhoods have seen...

New Giraffe at Como Zoo Makes Public Debut

Throughout the summer, the Como Zoo had butterflies to attract the public.  In August, a baby flamingo was born.  Now, a baby giraffe that was born just ten days ago on October has made its debut at the Como Zoo on Monday. The baby girl is about 5 foot, 5 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds.

The giraffe will make public appearances from time to time during each day as she gets adjusted to her new surroundings.

The birth is the 12th giraffe birth in the past 15 years at Como Zoo.

The giraffe is the tallest of all land-living animal species.


View Fall Colors from the Highland Water Tower

As a Minnesota resident, you already know that the foliage here is breathtaking in the fall. This weekend, residents of and visitors to St. Paul have a special chance to take a look at beautiful fall foliage from an unusual vantage point.  On Saturday and Sunday, view the autumn leaves from the top of the 127-foot Highland Water Tower in Saint Paul during its open house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Visitors are invited to climb the 151-step staircase inside the tower to the observation deck.

The Highland Water Tower’s observation deck offers visitors with a fantastic view of the area, particularly looking down on the changing colors of the trees scattered across the Highland Park golf course below and out toward the Mississippi River. On a clear day, airplanes can be seen taking off and landing at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport to the south. The view of the landscape stretches from the Saint Paul city skyline on the east to the Minneapolis skyline on the west. The Highland Water Tower open house provides an excellent opportunity for photographs and is also a fun outing the whole family can enjoy.

The water tower is an historic landmark located in the Highland neighborhood at the intersection of Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway. The tower, which was designed by Clarence...

Fall Flower Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Though it may be just a little depressing to see the bright shades of summer fade to brown and orange hues, there are some upsides to Autumn.  First, it’s not as hot as our Minnesota summers can be, but the sun is still out.  Second, our Saint Paul’s excellent tree canopy looks just as great in the reds, golds, and oranges of fall as the greens of summer.  And third, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory opens it's annual Fall Flower Show.  On Saturday, October 11, the show will open with hundreds of chrysanthemums in two different editions in pallets of pink, lavender, purple and yellow and maroon, gold and bronze.

The chrysanthemum flower has been known since before 5000 BC in a small yellow form. The Chinese considered them with such great reverence that their royal throne was named after the flower.  Chrysanthemum flowers have traditionally been boiled in China to make "chrysanthemum tea," used in folk medicine for influenza patients. In landscaping, chrysanthemums are valued for the fact that they bloom in fall.  Chrysanthemum flowers are also a favorite of florists for arrangements, due to the longevity of their blooms.

The tradition of the annual Fall Flower Show began in 1915 when the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory first opened.  Today, the Conservatory hosts five season annual flower shows.  The Fall Flower Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is open October 11 through November 30 with the edition intermission November 3 through 7 and open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00pm.

For over 100 years, Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and Como Zoo in Saint Paul...

The Como Park Neighborhood of Saint Paul

Como Park is in the northwest area of Saint Paul real estate. It is bordered on the north by Hoyt Avenue and Larpenteur Avenue and on the south by the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks and Maryland Avenue, with Snelling Avenue making up the western boarder and Dale Street the eastern boundary.  Known as St. Paul's Garden District, Como Park is primarily a residential and recreational neighborhood.   The neighborhood is centered around Como Lake and its large parks.

At the beginning of its “modern” history, Como Park was settled as farmland in the mid 1800's. Como Lake was named in 1848 and was incorporated into the city of St. Paul in 1854. Real estate developer Henry McKenty believed the Como Park area would make a great resort, which lead to construction on Como Road beginning in 1868.  Though McKenty's real estate visions never developed, Como Road still exists today as part of a major street running through the neighborhood, Como Avenue.

256 acres of land on the west side of Lake Como were bought by the City of St. Paul in 1873 because of its picturesque location.  The electric street car was introduced to Lake Como in 1893, allowing Saint Paul residents to make the 3-mile trip to Como Lake Park in 30 minutes. In 1897, the Como Zoo was built. The Como Lakeside Pavilion was constructed from 1905 to 1906. Then the Como Park Conservatory was built in 1915. These historic structures are still the centerpieces of the neighborhood’s recreational venues.

In fact, Como Park is the most widely used park in the Twin Cities area. Admittance to the Como Park Zoo is free to visitors. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, formerly the...

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