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Along Old Highway 61 to Duluth, A Phototour, Part Two

This is Part Two of a phototour of Old Highway 61 to Duluth. Previously we covered St. Paul to White Bear Lake, now we continue north at Forest Lake. Forest Lake Early on the cutoff to where the road from Minneapolis met the road from St. Paul to Duluth moved from White Bear Lake to […]

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Map Monday: Minneapolis Average Rents, 1934

Here’s a cool map I recently found from a 1939 Federal FHA report called The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities. It’s very old-school urban geography, but has a bunch of cool maps including this one: Here’s part of the text, describing the rent trends in 30s Minneapolis vs. New York City: […]

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Map Monday: 1897 Rand McNally Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Via David Rumsey’s great website, here’s a fun map you can check out from 1897, a colorful atlas view of the Twin Cities during the early heyday of streetcars. The overview: Here’s the close-up of the downtown areas:   It’s fun to Imagine all the farmland that surrounded the streetcar lines that had just been […]

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Map Monday: US Brewery Openings by Month

Via Twitter, and the Chief Economist of the Brewer’s Association, comes this map of US brewery openings grouped by month, starting in 1900 to the present day. Animated map of U.S. brewery openings grouped by month. The explosion in the last few years is incredible. pic.twitter.com/SaPFuNXICl — Bart Watson (@BrewersStats) August 31, 2018 Cheers!

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Driverless Cars and the Cult of Technology

We constantly hear that driverless cars are just around the corner. We’re told they will revolutionize transportation and enable us to continue using our car-based transport and land-use system. If they’re made by Tesla, they’ll be powered by magic, solar-powered, super efficient batteries and we’ll all be able to keep living our hyper-mobile, hyper-consumptive lifestyles […]

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In 1923, You Could Buy Pedestrian Insurance for 75 Cents

If you subscribed to the Minneapolis Daily Star in 1923, you could get a year’s worth of pedestrian insurance for an extra 75 cents.   The add-on deal was just what it sounds like: insurance coverage for injuries (including fatal injuries) you might incur while walking across the street. The offer, through the North American Accident […]

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The Abandonment and Rescue of Landmark Center in Saint Paul

In 1969, demolition of one of the most elegant Richardson Romanesque-Chateauesque-Style public buildings in the Upper Midwest seemed imminent. The federal government had declared the nearly vacant Federal Courts and Post Office Building (later named Landmark Center) in downtown St. Paul to be surplus property. Many public officials and business leaders in the city saw […]

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‘One Killed Here’: Early 20th-Century Minneapolis Traffic Safety Campaigns

The advent of automobiles and accompanying pedestrian casualties shook up Minneapolis. Over the first half of the 20th century, the city saw a series of public awareness campaigns led by municipal government and local newspapers, with slogans that evolved from “Safety Over Sorrow” and “One Killed Here” to “Traffic Victims” and “Safest Big City … […]

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A History of Minnesota’s Highways, Part 6

This is Part Six of an ongoing series of the history of Minnesota’s trunk highway system. Part One covered the early days of government and privately built roads. Part Two covered the events leading up to the establishment of the trunk highway system in 1920. Part Three covered the coming of the U.S. numbered highways and the 1920s improvement projects.  Part Four covered […]

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‘I Am King of the Streets Because I Am Only a Pedestrian’

  “I am king of the streets because I am only a pedestrian.” That was the philosophy of a self-described lowly municipal employee during his 15 minutes of fame in an article on an inside page of the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune in 1916. Horace E. Johnson sauntered city streets as he wished, the newspaper reported, and […]

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