Renaming Rondo Avenue: Restoring Community, Housing Affordability, and Resources

St. Paul, Minnesota holds a rich historic legacy that is powerfully known as the Rondo Neighborhood. Established by Joseph Rondeau in the 19th century, Rondo was a vibrant neighborhood that thrived as a hub for African-American residents, growing to a population of 85% in the 1950s. However, this once-thriving community faced significant challenges due to urban development projects that led to its destruction, including the construction of Interstate I-94.

Interstate I-94 facing downtown St. Paul

The impact of the highway project, like many urban development initiatives of the time, disproportionately affected marginalized communities, leading to the displacement of thousands of residents and the destruction of homes and businesses. The scars of this traumatic event are still visible today, underscoring the need for ongoing efforts to address historical injustices and promote equitable development.

In December 2023, the St. Paul City Council voted to officially rename a long section of Concordia Avenue, from Griggs Street to Mackubin Street, “Rondo Avenue.” In February 2024, the St. Paul City Council voted to restore St. Anthony Avenue to “Rondo Avenue,” from Western Ave to Rice Street. The street was renamed Concordia Avenue in 1964, and sixty years later, Rondo Avenue was renewed. On April 30th, 2024, there was an official ceremony to reclaim Rondo Avenue. Many were present to celebrate, restoring the avenue to its original name, including St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. 

The history of Rondo serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of preserving community, resources, and housing. As we look back on the legacy of Rondo, we are reminded of the resilience and strength of its residents in the face of adversity. The story of Rondo is a testament to the power of community and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage.

At ABC Realty Twin Cities, we are committed to continuing the important work of restoring community, resources, and housing in Saint Paul and beyond. Through partnerships with organizations like Rondo Community Land Trust, we are dedicated to creating affordable housing options and revitalizing communities that have been historically marginalized.

By honoring the history of Rondo and recognizing its connection to important housing work, we are taking a step towards building a more equitable future for community members. Join us in our mission to restore community, resources, and housing – together, we can create a brighter tomorrow for generations to come. Be sure to take advantage of local resources such as the Rondo Community Land Trust’s Right to Return Initiative, the HomeBuyer Initiated Program, and the Inheritance Fund. More information can be found here, or contact ABC Realty via email ( or phone (651-348-7845) on how to become a Rondo Resident in the historic Rondo neighborhood. 

As we delve deeper into the history of Rondo, we uncover a community that was not only a residential area but also a cultural and economic center for African Americans in Saint Paul. The vibrant neighborhood was home to businesses, churches, and social institutions that played a crucial role in shaping the identity of the community. Despite facing systemic challenges and discrimination, the residents of Rondo persevered and built a close-knit community that thrived on mutual support and solidarity. Check out some current Rondo local businesses like 2 Scoops Ice Cream Eatery on a hot summer day, a block party with Taste of Rondo Bar & Grill, or a smooth cup of coffee at Golden Thyme Cafe on Selby


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