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TBT: City and River on the Cusp of Change

June 9, 2016Patrick NunnallyThrowback ThursdayComments Off on TBT: City and River on the Cusp of Change

The image below is listed in its metadata as being of Minneapolis in 1983.  It’s not that I don’t actually believe the date is accurate; I just like to maintain a healthy skepticism in the (very likely) event that someone who knows more can correct a date and offer further insights.

The early 1980s was a period of transition in the relationship between Minneapolis and the Mississippi River.  The City had published a riverfront redevelopment plan, Mississippi/Minneapolis, in the early 1970s, shortly after General Mills had moved its headquarters to Golden Valley.  The Stone Arch Bridge had closed to rail traffic in 1978, further eroding the historical reliance on heavy industry and transportation to define the city-river nexus.  But the transition did not yet have a full sense of direction; it would be five years after this photo, in 1988, before the river corridor in the Twin Cities would achieve national park status and the state legislature would create the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board.  The creation of the Heritage Board marked a significant commitment on the part of the state of Minnesota and local units of government to balance future redevelopment of the Central Riverfront with preservation of the historic fabric of the area.

The changing fabric of the city is also evident toward the bottom of the image.  The Southeast Minneapolis Industrial Area is still in full operation as a rail yard and concentration of grain elevators and storage.  Memorial Stadium still dominates the U of M East Bank campus and University Avenue has not yet begun the resurgence that would be capped, 30 years later, by the completion of the Green Line light rail corridor.  Washington Avenue, crossing the Mississippi in the center of the picture, more closely resembles its past as a major car and truck arterial, than its future as a transit, bus, and bicycle hub.

What other major/interesting changes do you see in this image?

Mlps aerial 1983

Image source Minnesota Historical Society.


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