Category: History

Concrete support pillars are among dozens of remains scattered throughout the Gopher Ordinance Works, a WWII munitions factory in Rosemount.

Embracing Ruins as Historic Preservation

For the most part, these sites are hidden behind railroads, below river bluffs, or at the end of gated dirt roads. We tend to either ignore or look at them as failures, awaiting either a visionary creative reuse or the wrecking ball.

North 1st Street looking south toward 4th Avenue North in 1920

Historic Paving Tour of the Minneapolis Warehouse District – Sunday, May 16th

Minneapolis has oft been accused of not having done enough to preserve its historic structures, particularly in reference to the loss of the Gateway District, and especially when contrasted with successful efforts to save ornamentally clad buildings in Saint Paul. The jeers have endured decades of evolution or devolution in the Twin Cities, depending upon […]

21 North Washington Avenue, Minneapolis.

No, We Should Not Abolish the HPC. But It Could Look Different.

An essay posted January 15, 2021 on streets.mn entitled “Preserve The Future, Not Just The Past” is a fairly typical critique of heritage preservation and the role of heritage preservation commissions (HPCs) in American cities. The article points to the frequently absurd minutia and short-sightedness of HPC meetings and staff reports, but does not fully […]

An old Richfield bus

Suburbs of the Month: Excelsior, Deephaven, Shorewood and Tonka Bay

It has been a long time since I’ve posted an installment of my “Suburb of the Month” series on transit in the Twin Cities suburbs, mostly due to my limited ability to take pictures at this time. However, I have a picture relevant to the Excelsior area, and even though it wasn’t my planned next […]

Preserve The Future, Not Just The Past

Because I have a lot of important things to fill my time, I recently tuned in to a meeting of the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission. There was just one item on the agenda: the proposed demolition of a low-slung downtown office building at 17 N Washington Avenue, which would then be replaced by a 27 […]

Reconnection, Revitalization, and Restitution for I-94 Communities

Saint Paul’s historic Rondo neighborhood is a thriving, diverse community and home to many immigrant families and Black-owned businesses. It’s situated between University Avenue and the METRO Green Line to the north and Selby Avenue to the south. Black churches, businesses, and schools set down roots in the area in the late nineteenth and early […]

Rail-with-Trails of the Twin Cities

In my previous post I discussed rail-trails, which are abandoned railroad right-of-ways repurposed as trails. The Twin Cities has many of these, but the region also has several so-called rail-with-trail corridors. Rail-with-trails are trails alongside active rail lines. They provide a safe path for people, deterring trespassing on railroad property while still allowing train movements, […]

Map of the Day: Substandard Lot Sizes in Minneapolis

There are more than 14,000 residential lots in Minneapolis that are smaller than what is currently required to build on per the current zoning code. Now, this is a messy statement. There are multiple minimum lot sizes (5,000 square feet, 6,000 square feet, and a large lot zone where the number is based on the […]