Warnell Mims: Transitions: University Ave

Warnell Mims, longtime resident and active churchgoer, recalls her childhood in Rondo, her current home and family

Interviewed by: Keith
Editing and Production by: The students of Tom Davies' Human Geography class
Photos by: Brittany and Tanisha from Randy Starr's Mixed Media art class


May I please have your name?

My name is Warnell Mims.

Miss Mims, how long have you lived in the Twin Cities?

I’ve lived in the Twin Cities since 1956.

How were you affected when highway 94 was put through Rondo?

I had to find a different place to live. I moved once when they started it, and the second move was where I am now and my home in 1964. My husband and I bought a home on Aurora and I’ve been there ever since. So, it made us move out, but it was better for me because before I was renting and then I started owning.

Could you describe the trolleys?

As far as I know, I would get it on University and Victoria and ride to Minneapolis on it and back. It’s as far as I went on it.

Could you compare what University Avenue looked like in the 1940’s and 1950’s to how it is today?

It’s better now. And it isn’t because people are moving out because of the light rail. St. Paul has always been a clean place. My mother visited a couple of times from Florida and she said this was the cleanest city she had ever seen.

Why did you move here to Minnesota?

I moved because I had to come with my husband. He came here to work, and he liked it here and he asked me if I would come. At that time we had one child and I said yes, if I wanted to stay married I had to come. So that’s how I got here. My husband brought me here.

Can you tell us a little bit about your family?

Well, I had four children, I gave birth to four children, three boys and one girl. My second son Keith, we were at a reunion in Myrtle Beach, and the Atlantic ocean took him at 33 years old. He left a family here. I still have three children. I have two sons and one daughter. My husband is dead.

Are there any other things about the light rail or the neighborhood that you would like to tell us?

I hope they don’t raise my taxes too high. That’s the main thing. I hope I continue living here if the taxes don’t get to high. I don’t know about them taking properties. I’ve heard different things, but I don’t know. I guess we won’t know until it actually happens, but I’ll be there until. Okay.

What is it about this area that has kept you here so long?

Home, and the area it’s right in the middle of the city. I have a home and I have good neighbors and I’m in the middle of everything. I’m close to my church and to anything I want. I don’t have to go too far for it. I like the area in which I live.

Made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.