The Evening Muse: Gateway to NoDa's Light Rail Station at 36th Street
Backstory and Context
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Since Paul Sires and Ruth Lyons initiated the shift from mill village to arts district; music has become an important part of the cultural fabric of Noda. The Evening Muse, with the building owned by Paul Sires, and the venue operated by Joe Kuhlmann with current business partner Don Koster filled a niche for singer-songwriters and encouraged musician development, by giving artists a place to hone their craft. The Evening Muse celebrates 20 years of bringing music to NoDa, but its distinctive façade predates its days as the Muse.
Observers will notice that the front door is on an angle; as though the corner has been sheared off – and it had, by trucks as they turned the corner. The City got involved and helped fund the renovation of the exterior you see now and worked to widen the intersection at the other end of the neighborhood, at North Davidson and Jordan Place to encourage truck traffic to move off 36th Street to use the more truck friendly Matheson Avenue to get to Tryon Street. As the composition of the neighborhood has changed over time, changing from manufacturing to more multifamily residential along with entertainment and services, the need to encourage trucks to avoid NoDa is lessened, but the Evening Muse still has its distinctive building shape.
The evolution of NoDa continues with the addition of the CATS LYNX light rail line in 2016 with NoDa perched at the 36th Street Station, which is east of the Muse (toward Tryon Street). Businesses had located to take advantage of the proximity of transit, but of greater interest to history buffs will be the inclusion of art created by Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sires included in the 36th Street Station. The light rail signifies the next phase in NoDa’s history, which is not without its challenges, but the history of NoDa, in the form of art at the train station, informs its future.