Meet the Authors & Contributors


Karen Melvin

Karen Melvin loves the light, a driving force in her photography reflected in her passion for creating beautiful interiors. Based in the Twin Cities, she photographs nationally for architects, shelter magazines, interior designers, book publishers and advertising clients in the homes products industry. Great Houses of Summit Avenue and the Hill District is completely produced, art directed, and photographed by Karen.

Karen's two previous books of architecture and historical homes are regional best sellers; Legendary Homes of the Minneapolis Lakes (2012) and Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka (2009).


Melinda Nelson

Melinda Nelson, Associate AIA, writes about architecture, design, and historic preservation.

Melinda has lived in the historic city of Excelsior, Minnesota for more than 20 years, where she serves on the Heritage Preservation Commission.

Melinda and Karen are currently working on the next book Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka, a tour through 27 of Lake Minnetonka's most charming lakeside living structures.



Bette Hammel

Bette Hammel, freelance architectural journalist based in Wayzata, Mn. has enjoyed a long career in communications. In recent years, she has collaborated with Karen Melvin as the author of Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka and Legendary Homes of the Minneapolis Lakes.  

Writing about architecture is a natural for her as she is the widow of architect, Richard F. Hammel, co-founder of HGA Architects.  Her work has appeared in Architecture MN, Architectural Record of NYC,  Minneapolis/St.Paul Magazine, Midwest Home, Minnesota Monthly and other publications. Bette has a new book out in 2015 entitled WILD ABOUT ARCHITECTURE, a retrospective of her 30 years of writing about architecture and international travel.



Dave Kenney

Dave Kenney is a freelance writer specializing in Minnesota history.  His books include Minnesota in the ’70s; Twin Cities Picture Show; Minnesota Goes to War; Twin Cities Album; and the state history textbook, Northern Lights. He also has chronicled the histories of significant Minnesota institutions including the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

He is a two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award.


Paul Clifford Larson

Paul Clifford Larson is a public historian of thirty years standing. Many of his fourteen books have won regional and professional awards. Among the most notable are St. Paul's Architecture, Minnesota Architect, Cass Gilbert Abroad, Icy Pleasures: Minnesota Celebrates Winter, A Place at the Lake, and Mississippi Escapade. He has been a contributing editor of Architecture Minnesota, Special Curator of Architecture for the University of Minnesota Museum of Art, Executive Director of Gardner Museum of Architecture and Design in Quincy, Illinois, and chair of the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission.


Garrison Keillor

 © Claudia Danielson

 © Claudia Danielson

Garrison Keillor for more than 40 years has been the host of "A Prairie Home Companion" captivating millions of public radio listeners with his weekly "News from Lake Wobegon" monologues. Keillor is also the author of nearly a dozen books and a frequent contributor to "Time" and "The New Yorker." He has been awarded a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment of the Humanities.