History of Nicollet Island, Part II
Produced by Jessica Folker
Once a posh enclave for the city’s wealthiest residents, Nicollet Island had turned gritty by the early 20th century. Dominated by industry and inhabited by transients, many who wandered onto the Island were drawn to the bars
and flophouses of skid row. By the 1970’s, slumlords offering cheap rent attracted an enclave of colorful characters, and Nicollet Island became home to an eclectic mix of hobos, hippies, artists and working-class families.
In part 2 of the History of Nicollet Island, producer Jessica Folker introduces us to former and current Island dwellers, who share stories about living with drifters, donkeys and some of the Twin Cities’ best musicians on this urban island oasis.
An award-winning street poet and Island inhabitant who has lived in a number unusual dwellings, including a houseboat and a school bus.
Still living on the island, of all current residents, John Chaffee has been there the longest, since early 1970s.
John’s son, Jack, was grew up on Nicollet Island during the 1970s-80s.
Jazz and folk singer Prudence Johnson shares memories of what it was like to raise a daughter on the Island.