Most of the original Rondo Avenue and much of the historic Rondo neighborhood were destroyed when Interstate 94 was built. The street was named for an early settler, Joseph Rondeau. Part of the original street is now the frontage road near the Best Western Kelly Inn.
The neighborhoods north and south of Rondo Avenue, extending south into today’s Summit-University neighborhood and north to University Avenue, were always diverse. By the 1950s about 85 percent of Saint Paul’s African-American population lived in the neighborhoods. The old neighborhood was divided into sections including Oatmeal Hill and Cornmeal Valley. The better-off residents lived in the western part of the community.
The freeway location chosen in 1956 along Saint Anthony Avenue took out Rondo as well. More than 600 African American families lost their homes. Numerous businesses and institutions were also lost. The neighborhood is celebrated every July at Rondo Days.