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.


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9 Responses to Then & Now: Lyndale and Hennepin

  1. March 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    A travesty, a shame, a mockery of good urbanism. It’s a traveshamockery!

    But seriously, how awful. Ugh.

  2. March 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    The skinny building in the crook of the north end of the X is gone in 1964, too. Judging from the 1937 and 1957 photos, that was most likely a very interesting building. Ugh.

    And the Basilica had such a beautiful location in an honest-to-goodness neighborhood instead of being perched delicately in the armpit (literally) of our freeway system! Ugh yet again.

    This makes me want to cry.

  3. Adam Miller
    Adam March 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Good stuff, thanks.

    Not that anyone cares, but I’ve decided that my best route through the area on foot is to go up the hill on Clifton Place and then cut through the Methodist church parking lot so as to minimize exposure to the mass of cars at the bottleneck.

  4. Doug Trumm
    Doug T March 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Indeed. That 1964 aerial does look like the aftermath of a sim city tornado.

    • Erik March 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      A tornado of progress!

      • Jeff Klein March 28, 2014 at 12:19 am #


        • Bill Lindeke
          Bill Lindeke March 28, 2014 at 9:41 am #

          Good band name, there.

  5. Matty Lang
    Matty Lang March 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Gah! It makes me want to gouge my eyes out.

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