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Edward N.Tilsen: Open Housing Pioneer (Tribune)

Home Project Without Color Line Opens

Minneapolis Minnesota Morning Tribune

Monday 24 May 1954, p. 7

New homes for Negroes have been few and far between since the end of World War II -- a fact that has disturbed many including St. Paul builder Edward N. Tilsen.

But Tilsen, president of Tilsenbilt Homes, Inc., set out to do something about it.

For years Tilsen has been active on the national slum clearance committee of the National Home Builders association. He also has an interest in minority housing projects.

Tilsen is immediate past vice president of the national housing group and former regional vice president.

In 1947, Tilsen's firm built a 24-unit, non-segregated apartment building in St. Paul.

Sunday, the first of 63 five-room new homes built by Tilsen opened in Minneapolis at 4021 Fourth avenue S.

A dozen of the new homes already have been sold. The model will be open to the public from 7 to 9 p.m. nightly this week and from 2 to 9 p.m. next Sunday.

Tilsen believes the project is the first development of non-segregated homes in the nation.

The development will be located in vacant lots along Fourth and Fifth avenues between Thirty-eighth and Forty-sixth streets.

Before selecting the site, Tilsen talked it over with the Minneapolis Urban league and other interested groups.

Then Archie Givens, Minneapolis real estate man, worked with Tilsen in selecting the area for building.

Tilsen said reports are enthusiastic among prospective buyers. He pointed out that since the war only 12 new homes have been built and sold to Negroes in the Twin Cities.

For most Negroes, this will be the first opportunity to buy newly-built homes.

The three-bedroom bungalows will be priced at about $12,500. The will be eligible for FHA and GI mortgages.

Norman Johnson, St. Paul, was project architect.

Original Article "Home Project Without Color Line Opens" Minneapolis Tribute 24 May 1954 p. 7

For more information contact Jon-Jay Tilsen at jjtilsen@beki.org