In the summer of 1960, the Star Tribune sent photographers to snap a shot of every corner in downtown Minneapolis. This is the latest installment in a series that takes a closer look at those pictures (and others), and passes on a few pieces of Minneapolis history. Let's get started:
There’s one detail in this old Star-Journal photo that tells you the location of this corner. Hint: King Tut.
Need some more information? Well, it’s a shot from the late '20s. There’s no information on the back of the photo to indicate why they took this picture, but we can guess: the building on the corner is about to be demolished for a new high-rise. It’s not an ancient old pile from Pioneer days -- can’t be more than 30 years old, if that. Proof that Minneapolis streetscapes have been churning as long as the city’s been around.
Let’s take a closer look -- and keep in mind that the original photo is about seven inches wide. What does this mean?
They used radio to clean clothes?
No, of course not. The red child’s wagon, the Radio Flyer, didn’t use radio, either. But the word meant high-tech, modern, up-to-date. It was the “cyber” of its time. New technologies are always applied to things that don’t really fit; in the late '30s, when television was on the horizon, a fountain pen company introduced a line of Television pens, so named because you could see the level of ink in the translucent barrel. That wasn’t TV anymore than the laundry was radio.
Cloche hats and white suits for men.
In the background, you can see the detail that gives away the location.
For decades that was a distinctive sign, thanks to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. Here’s a better picture of the sign from another Star-Trib archive picture:
It has an Egyptian style, as does the rest of the building. There had been other revivals of the Egyptian style in the 19th century, but Tut Mania resulted in a theatrical, decorative version that included pictographs of birds and guys walking sideways like they were in a Bangles video.
According to the AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, it was the Scandinavian Bank Building, built in 1895. It got the Phebes treatment in 1925, when it became the home of a bank chartered in 1920: The Marquette Bank.
It’s between two unlamented old buildings, the Merchants on the left, and the Thorpe Realty building on its right. All three were felled for a parking ramp; here’s a GIFof the elegant, Italianate Merchants taking it on the chin.
But! The facade of the Marquette was disassembled, saved, and pasted onto the ramp. Could be worse.
The building on the corner? Demolished for one of the city’s finest skyscrapers. The Rand.
Univision has an office in the corner now, where the laundry was.
Univision’s products include ... radio.
P.S.: Here’s this week’s ghost. She’s about 1/8th of an inch tall in the original. No hat, bobbed hair.
Can you find her in the photo?