photo albums

"Big Blue"
at the Burr Oak Center
walk-through tour

When TRACES took possession of "Big Blue" on 11 September 2009 the 5,135-square-foot "ark" (with two, two-stall garages!) had been empty for a year and the only colored walls were in the bathrooms. With a shifting array of volunteers and staff, director Michael Luick-Thrams totally renovated the site by the Center's open house on 11 Octoberand in the process lost 15 pounds! Life at Big Blue at first was like Modern Day Pioneeringor at least camping: it took five days to get electricity turned on, a week to get phone/internet service and ten days to get the water system restoredand then it had a half-dozen leaks, having not been properly winterized when it was closed.

pancake brunch November 2009

scenery around Burr Oak Center

open house October 2009

views from Big Blue's deck

before and after photos of Big Blue

before and after photos of the White House

meetings with community leaders September 2009

TRACES office and flat in Saint Paul

Burr Oak Center members and resident interns, as well as primary partners, may use this space in Saint Paul's Merriam Park neighborhood two weekends or one full week, every six months. [These photos were taken during the previous owner's occupancy; it looks different today—not so empty... and the Buddha's gone. (Sorry!)] Director Michael Luick-Thrams takes special pride in the "edible landscape" he has established since moving onto the property since August 2007: there are apricot and cherry trees, rhubarb and asparagus beds, numerous berry (rasp-, blue-, lingon, Russian Honey) and red-/black-current bushes, and a swelling strawberry bed. "Hostas an' lawn be gone!"