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Sept. 26, 1909: Horse's kick starts a riot

  • Blog Post by: Ben Welter
  • September 10, 2013 - 6:54 PM
 
A confused slice of city life from the Minneapolis Tribune:

Horse's Kick Starts Riot

Newsboys and Citizens Chase Will o' the Wisp in Broad Daylight.

A full fledged riot, indulged in by about 100 newsboys, 100 innocent bystanders, eager to be hurt, and downtown policemen, occurred late yesterday afternoon between the Tribune building and the courthouse. The feature of the episode was that although all of the rioters ran and shouted, but few of them knew exactly what was the cause of the excitement.

A man and a woman were sitting in a carriage in front of The Tribune building when the horse reared up, demolishing a bicycle belonging to Mauritz Pohlson, a bicycle messenger boy living at 2210 Seventeenth avenue south.

Some one shouted that the boy had been run over.

Another said an automobile had hit him.

A third rumor to the effect that the boy had been killed set the crowd wild.

The man and woman drove along Fourth street.

The boy dragged his bicycle down First avenue.

Somebody ran across the street and into the postoffice alley.

Instantly 100 followed.

Somebody shouted “catch him.”

The crowd split up, part of it racing south on Fourth street.

Two sneaky looking policemen with vague ideas of “heading off” some imaginary fugitive, joined in the chase.

Everybody ran.

Nearly everybody shouted. The rest asked questions, ran and shouted.

The entire mob, now grown double its original size, brought up at the city hall, where the police auto patrol was standing.

Then it was rumored that the patrol had run over a boy.

Soon the perspiring policemen arrived, empty handed and breathless.

Everybody looked at everybody else, but nobody was able to tell what the excitement was about.

Then everybody went home looking foolish.

 
A far larger throng filled the streets near the Tribune building in the 1890s or 1900s. The photo was taken on the northwest corner of Nicollet Avenue looking east on 4th Street. The reason for the gathering is unclear. Perhaps you know? (Image courtesy of Hennepin County Library's Minneapolis Collection)

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