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Opponent of Bde Maka Ska name selling Bde Maka Ska house

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The owner of 3790 W. Bde Maka Ska Pkwy. was not looking forward to his street name changing.

The house is one of just four Minneapolis single-family properties listed at $4 million-plus, and it belongs to Tom Austin, one of the loudest opponents of changing the name Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska.

Listed on Sunday for $4 million, the mid-century modern stunner from 1957 was "re-imagined" by San Francisco architect Jim Jennings in 2015. An eye-popping 20-by-40-foot reflecting pool highlights the glassy estate, which features high-end everything (the Minoti and Richard Schultz furnishings are included).

"There is a visceral feeling of serenity and beauty throughout, and a feeling of oneness with the lake," reads the listing from Lakes Sotheby's International Realty.

About that lake... 

In 2017, the Star Tribune let Austin, who's CEO of Minneapolis venture capital/private equity firm F2 Group, write 568 words about the 350 neighbors he supposedly polled regarding the name change — 80 percent opposed it, Austin claimed. 

Since the late 1820s, the lake had been named after 19th century South Carolina politician John C. Calhoun, a pro-slavery zealot with no real connection to Minnesota. It was known as Bde Maka Ska by the indigenous Dakota people.

Austin didn't care.

"These people," he wrote, referring to the neighbors he said he surveyed, "raised a good question: What exactly have the Dakota Indians done that is a positive contribution to all Minnesotans? What is the heroism or accomplishment that we are recognizing in order to justify renaming the lake to Bde Maka Ska? Unfortunately, nobody had any answers."

He continued... 

"Ironically, none of them was able to provide specifics of what exactly we needed to atone for, other than 'Calhoun was racist and we stole all of this land from the Indians.'"

To some, those points — i.e. America's foundational racism and genocide — seem like things you should atone for. For Austin, mere vagaries that stood in the way of saving the name Lake Calhoun, a fight the businessman was willing to personally bankroll; later that year, an ad appeared in the Star Tribune for Austin's Save Lake Calhoun legal defense fund. He'd reappear in the Strib yet again in 2019, this time to rage against the bullying "elites (media, activists and politicians)" who advocated for the name change.

To see how the saga ended in early 2019, simply visit the website SaveLakeCalhoun.com, which is apparently under new ownership. New street signs around Bde Maka Ska went up that fall. 

Austin bought 3790 W. Bde Maka Ska Pkwy. for $712,000 in 2001, according to county records. We reached out to ask his thoughts on the house and the lake name, but never heard back. 

Click here to take a photo tour of the property. 



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