Austin's Third Ward was 'toughest section of all'
Last week I mentioned "Dutch Town," a neighborhood on Austin’s east side in the late-1800s. Here is an essay by Dr. Francis Meany from "Mill on the Willow: A History of Mower County, Minnesota," explaining Austin neighborhoods in the early-1900s:
"Doc Meany’s East Side Story
My father ran the Democratic party in the third ward and served three terms as alderman. That was before he took out his final citizenship papers in 1896. He ran Tom Meany’s Saloon on Railway Street (10th St. N.E.). I was born in 1895 in a little house just behind the saloon.
The saloon was sold after my father died in 1905. One night a fire started and the East Side Fire Department was called in. They saved all the whiskey and cigars, but the saloon burned down...
There were definite boundaries within Austin. At least as far as the boys and girls were concerned. There was Dutchtown, east of the Milwaukee tracks. The west side was everything west of Main Street. Then there was the toughest section of all, the ‘bloody third ward.’ That covered the area bordered by the river on the west and the Milwaukee tracks on the east.
In those days the best looking girls lived in the third ward, but one of those uptown birds had better not cross the lines and come visit them..."
Mower County Historical Society Lunchbox History (held at the fairgrounds) on Thursday will feature HHH director Laura Helle speaking about the history of East Side Lake at noon. The event is free and open to the public
• Monday, July 2:Austin Community Jazz Band concert in the Peace Garden at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. Bring your own lawn chair. Rain location is Paramount Theatre.
• Wednesday,July 4: HHH office will be open. Self-guided tours available 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Friday, July 6:HHH office closed.
Free concert in the Peace Garden on Tuesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. by Koo Koo Kanga Roo. This group has recently been featured at the Minnesota State Fair family stage and can be described as "Beastie Boys multiplied by Sesame Street." Rain location is Paramount Theatre.