Then & Now: Lyndale and Hennepin

As you all know, the city and Hennepin County are re-paving the intersection of Hennepin and Lyndale by Loring Park and the Walker Art Center.

A while ago, I did a “Then & Now” on Loring Park. Today let’s zoom in on the intersection of Hennepin and Lyndale…

 [Click on images to enlarge.]




mpls hennepin and lyndale 1937The two streets used to come together rather seamlessly. I’m not sure what driving, walking, or taking the streetcar through the intersection was like back then. It seems like it could easily get congested (as it still does). It seems like crossing this street on foot would be suicide.

From a visual and spatial perspective, it was unique in the city. These kinds of Boston-style “bowtie” corners are pretty rare, particularly for two large streets like this.  There was a little flower garden that seemed locally famous, and you can see all the trees. It’s difficult to imagine the Wedge neighborhood seamlessly connected to the Loring Park area, but back then it was. A stroll between them would probably be pleasant, not the bipolar concrete gauntlet it remains today.

One of of the interesting things I found in the Borchert aerial photo archive were these two shots of the area from 1957 and 1964. You can see the bulldozing already starting to happen for the I-94 construction, including the south half of the “bowtie” at this corner. There are a also a whole bunch of razed blocks further to the East.




 It kinda looks like when you had a tornado go through Sim City.






Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.