That's a pretentious title, but "here's some footage you probably haven't seen" isn't as clicky.
When movie cameras became playthings for the middle class, everyone took pictures of their families. Vacations, Christmas, birthdays. So we have untold hours of unknown people smiling and mugging in backyards and living rooms, a fraction of which survived. If only people had pointed the cameras at the ordinary things, the streets, the buildings. Aside from a few projects to document the urban landscape, there’s little proof of what what things once looked like. You might see a billboard in the background, a small town main street, but it’s never the main focus.
Which makes this remarkable.
It’s a beer billboard, of course - the men are looking at a pretty woman passing by, because it’s the sixties and beer-drinking guys in suits ogling en masse was par for the course. The billboard was on top of a building on this street. Recognize it?
It would be hard to take the shot today, because you have to stop on 35W. It’s from a video on the City of Minneapolis’s Flickr page, a 1966 drive up 35W from 54th street prior to the highway’s opening. It goes all the way downtown, where we see this . . .
And that’s still around today, in much better shape.
The whole video is here, if you’re curious. If you take this drive every day, it’ll be quite familiar. Nothing has changed - except, of course, the skyline.