Ozark Flats Then and Now
This romanesque revival apartment building designed by William H. Grimshaw has been standing on the corner of 13th and Hennepin since 1892. These days it’s known as the Bellvue, but in years gone by it was called Hennepin Flats and Ozark Flats. The building is etched into the memory of Minneapolis as the residence of Catherine Ging. Kitty came to Minnesota from New York State. After she came to Minneapolis she found work as a dressmaker and lived in an apartment in Ozark Flats. The view looked pretty good in her big windows and before long Kitty was engaged to a clerk at the Golden Rule Department Store. The engagement didn’t last, but she kept the engagement ring around her neck. It may have been that little band of gold in a chamois bag that caught the attention of the son of the building’s owner, Harry Hayward. Kitty was easily impressed and Harry was a bit of playboy and a gambler. He hatched elaborate schemes involving stolen jewelry and counterfeit currency. It wasn’t long before Kitty was fronting Harry money for his gambling ventures. Eventually Hayward convinced Kitty to let him put two $5000 life insurance policies on her as an investment. He then approached his brother Ardy with the idea of murdering Kitty and splitting the take. Ardy declined and Harry convinced the Ozark Flats janitor Claus A. Blixt to do the deed for $2000. Harry arranged for Kitty to meet him at the edge of town discuss counterfeiting. The night of December 3, 1893, Miss Ging hired a horse and buggy from the Goosman livery stable. She had it sent to the West Hotel and there, at 7:08 p.m., she took the reins and drove away. Blixt met up with her somewhere along the way and drove Miss Ging to the western shore Lake Calhoun. There he shot her in the head close range and threw her body off the buggy and ran over it. After her horse returned to the stable pulling an empty buggy, the body of a young woman lying in a pool of blood was found on Excelsior Boulevard. Her skull had been crushed. The police put two and two together, and identified the woman as Miss Catherine Ging. They assumed she had been in an accident. Her body lay in the city morgue for over an hour before a doctor noticed a bullet lodged behind her left eye. Fortunately Hayward’s brother Ardy had told an attorney, Levi Stewart about Harry’s plans. When he heard about the murder Stewart contacted the county attorney. Ardy was arrested and confessed to the plot. He claimed that he and Blixt had both been hypnotized. Harry Hayward’s trial lasted 46 days. He was defended by the distinguished, W. W. Erwin. 136 witnesses were called including Claus Blixt and Ardy Hayward. The defense tried to have Ardy’s testimony ruled out on the grounds that he was insane but the judge disagreed. Hayward went to the gallows dressed in a cutaway coat and pinstriped trousers. His last words were “Pull her tight; I’ll stand pat.” After his slow death by strangulation, rumor has it that Harry Hayward was revived by a secret organization Masons and spirited away to Mexico.