The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #192


A reader writes:

First-time guesser, and I know this will not be a winning entry, but I figure I ought to throw my hat in the ring. The dumpster in the foreground looks American, but seeing as 49 out of 50 states (something I overheard, not sure of veracity) currently have snow, the only thing that could narrow it down would be the large lattice style radio tower in the background. Since I have two-year-old twins, I don’t have hours to spend on Google Maps. There is a list of lattice style radio towers on Wikipedia, however, and in light of Michael Sam’s recent announcement and your tendency to have thematic locations in the contest, I’m going to guess Kansas City, Missouri.


Once a “Winter Wonderland” (it’s Michigan’s state motto), this depressing shot has to be of one of the many bleak cities in the auto-industry decimated region of lower Michigan. Completely flat landscape, old Sears Roebuck building, little outdoor activity … might be Lansing, Dearborn, Battle Creek. Let’s go with Flint.


This was a really tough one. The extended weekend made it even harder (this is a Monday/Tuesday activity for me). Using the satellite dishes and the little bit of skyline in the upper left-hand corner, you know it’s a few miles northeast of a major city. Given the state of disrepair, I was leaning toward Detroit, but I can’t find any close-in industrial areas. Anyways, with the style of the triangle building and a strange feeling that I’ve seen that warehouse before, I’m going to guess Baltimore.


This is a wild guess. Today is the one-year anniversary of the meteor strike in Chelyabinsk, and it would be like you to feature them in the VFYW contest. But I have no idea how to find the building. I can’t find a large radio tower in Chelyabinsk in Google Earth. But yeah, that’s totally Chelyabinsk.

Another adds, “How frustrating is it that we can map the cosmic background radiation of the observable universe but we couldn’t see a huge meteor coming at us from the direction of the sun until it was streaking through our freaking atmosphere?” Another reader:

Omigod, omigod, omigod! This is Atlanta during one of the recent ClusterFlakes. It was taken in the the Old Fourth Ward, towards the former Sears warehouse (which became City Hall East and is now being redeveloped into lofts). The building on an angle is The Masquerade, a music venue, and next to that you can make out the Beltline, the amazing rails-to-trails (actually concrete bike and walking paths) that will someday ring the inner city.

The first ClusterFlake, three weeks ago, shut the city down for three days, but not on purpose. For the next storm, which occurred last week, the state leaders decided the best response was to shut the city down again for three days, but they mostly skipped the fun camping-in-your-car part this time.


Ah, some snowy big city in Yankeedom.  Atlanta, maybe?  (Finally the country is united.) But seriously, looks like somewhere on the southeast side of Chicago.

It is in the Midwest. Another gets the right city:

Holy crap I know this!!

I don’t care enough to look it up to the exact cubic meter or whatever those people do, but this is in St. Paul, Minnesota (just at the Minneapolis/St. Paul city line, actually). It’s on the south side of University Avenue, between Raymond and Pelham, looking west. This picture was probably taken from the new condos being built there. You can see our new light rail transit track headed down the middle of University – it’s supposed to open in July. I work in a building just one block east of this. I wonder how many of my colleagues and friends will write in?

Clearly this picture was chosen because the winning goal in the USA-Russia hockey game today was scored by Minnesotan T.J. Oshie, right?

Well duh; everyone knows Oshie is from Warroad, MN. Another reader:

When I opened the picture my reaction was: “Hmmmm.  Not much to go on … wait that’s the Witch’s towerHat Tower. Oh, I live here.”  Well, I don’t live there as in inside the tower, but I do live in Minneapolis, so that landmark (the cone shaped tower partially obscured by the large building in the foreground) is instantly recognizable.  The photo is taken mere yards across the border into St. Paul looking west toward Minneapolis’ Prospect Park Neighborhood and the University of Minnesota.  I believe the photo is taken from the Chittenden and Eastman Building, which has been redeveloped into the C&E Lofts. The address is 2410 University Ave, St Paul, MN 55114.

I’ve won recently, so I won’t spend any time trying to guess which precise window.  But here’s some fun trivia: The Witch’s Hat Tower is rumored to be the inspiration for Bob Dylan’s song “All Along The Watchtower.”

Another sends the above image of the tower. Another reader:

When I was a toddler growing up in Twin Cities, we used to drive by that white tower. I never knew its name, but my folks would tease me that an old hag lived up there, peering out from under the dark “hat” to surveil the traffic for naughty children. I would crouch under the back seat of our Oldsmobile station wagon until the tower was well out of sight. I’m not sure they understood how disturbing that little story was to a 5 year old, but it has stuck with me for over 35 years!

Another with local ties:

I interned on the campaign of the late Paul Wellstone across the street from this location in the summer of 2002. I will never forget that neighborhood. Now I sit in Austin, Texas getting occasionally homesick for St. Paul – this view brought me home again, if only for a few minutes. Thanks for sharing it.


The street that runs diagonally across the right side of the photo is University Avenue – there’s a new light rail line that goes down the street that will be open in a few months. There’s also a low office building near the center of the photo that was the campaign headquarters for Al Franken’s Senate campaign in 2008.

Another turns back to the building in question:

Chittenden Eastman bldg.Before

The Chittenden and Eastman Building, a furniture showroom and manufactory, was built in 1917 in a part of Saint Paul zoned for industry. One of its last tenants, Nelson Office Supply, displayed desks and office furniture; long after that enterprise closed, its sign lingered on. In the ’60s and ’70s, the industry moved to the suburbs, and the low rents and warehouse space attracted artists, musicians and poets.

Over the past two years, University Avenue (the main drag in the center of your VFYW photo) has been under construction. A light-rail system has been installed (“the central corridor”) to join Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and a number of rundown warehouses along the route – the Chittenden & Eastman building among them – have been converted to apartments. In one of the attached photos [seen above], you can see the old building and the ripped up street. The second photo – just one google click from the previous one – shows the Chittenden & Eastman with a new lease on life as C&E Lofts, with many, many new windows:

C&E historic Lofts-after

Another leaves the exact location to chance:

VFYW is always so intimidating so I usually just glance at the picture and wait until the winner post, but this time I actually recognized the area! All of it, the Green Line LRT, the tv/radio tower, the witch hat water tower, the cool shaped building, and downtown Minneapolis to the far left. It has to be University Avenue in St. Paul where it intersects with 280. I sent an email to my brother to confirm, but he tells me that I need more than a guess. With his help we narrowed it down to C&E Lofts at 2410 University Ave. St. Paul, MN. His guess is apt. 410, mine, apt. 510. In true sibling fashion we flipped a coin. Apt. 410 it is!

510 actually!  Two readers guessed the right apartment number:

VFYW pic

Normally I spend about 5 minutes on the VFYW contest and give up, but when I saw this week’s contest I knew it had to be the Twin Cities. The sky, the huge pile of snow in the parking lot, the steam coming off the smoke stacks … it all screamed MSP, my hometown. Next, I noticed the dividers on the street that are part of the new light rail system. That probably places it on University Ave. Aha! That radio tower is KSTP, and the real give-away is the Witch’s tower that sites atop a hill blocks from the house where I grew up. Now I know it’s at the intersection of University and Franklin, and a couple reference points clearly show it’s the C&E Lofts building at 2410 University Ave. Specifically, it’s from the southern-most window:


The only question, then, is which floor? At first I assumed it was the top level, but after referencing Street View I’m reasonably certain it’s the 5th floor. The window, then, is the kitchen window (as opposed to the living room) in unit 510. You can’t get much more specific than that.

Indeed you can’t, but to break the tie this week, we had to check how many previous contests the two 510 guessers have entered. The above reader was a first-time player, but the following reader has played once before, so he’s the winner this week:

Every Saturday my wife and I check out the view from your window contest and list off a guess, that is at minimum 500 miles, if not a continent or two away. This week, due to a change in our routine, I didn’t pull up the post until Sunday evening. My first impression was “just like it is here (in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area) snowy and it looks cold.” While it has been cold throughout the country, the only word to describe it here this season is brutal. Then I saw the light rail line in the middle of the street and thought that it looked like the new divider that they were putting in the for the new Green Line light rail between Minneapolis and St. Paul. From there it all fell into place.

Back in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, I took a bus that went down that very street every day between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. I used to see the unusual triangle shaped building and used to think it was an incredibly odd shape for a building. Directly ahead in the view you can faintly see the broadcast tower for KSTP television (local channel 5). On the very upper left edge you can see some of the skyscrapers of Minneapolis, poking above the red Court International building of 2550 University Avenue.


The building is the Chittenden and Eastman company building located at 2410 University Ave West in St Paul. The building’s history is as follows: The building was erected by M. Burg and Sons as a furniture showroom and warehouse. In 1927 they were joined by another furniture manufacturer, the Chittenden & Eastman Company. In the 1950s the building became widely known as the Chittenden & Eastman Building. Over time the C & E Building has been home to other furniture stores and offices. Beginning in 2011 the building was converted into apartments.

I have attached a Google street view photo of the front of the building from the summer which shows the light rail track construction underway:


To get the view that you see in the photo, the window would need to be in the back corner (SW corner) of the building. The windows from that unit would face NW towards Minneapolis. To get the unit and angle I was able to find a floor plan of the building on the C&E Loft’s website. From everything I can tell, the location is unit 510

An exterior photo of the building with the submitter’s window is circled:


Hopefully from everything I’ve written, I’ll be the winner! I have read from week to week of all the people who can get this, and it astounds me. At least I can now say I’ve gotten the location once! Thanks for the great blog and the weekly contest, and don’t worry, I’m a subscriber and I’ve renewed!