Marquette Avenue and 4th Street. In the center stands the Minnesota Loan and Trust Company building. Built in 1889, it was originally called the National Bank of Commerce. Apparently they narrowed their focus after a while. Its proud little Roman neighbor to the right was the Northwestern National Bank, built in 1904; like the Loan and Trust, it went down to rubble in 1939.
A 1-ton weight was dropped through the roof by demolition crews, and the Tribune reported that “it went through a skylight and smashed to smithereens a balcony where once vice presidents held forth.”
The Oneida building, second from the left, suffered a peculiar fate. After 50 years as a soot-shrouded pile of somber stone, the upper floors were demolished, leaving only a stunted podium for billboards. It was knocked down in the ’60s for a government building that still bores the street to death today.
In the distance, the old Post Office, a busy marble hive leveled in 1960 for urban renewal; a glassy office building stands there now, as ordinary as the Post Office was ambitious. Age, decline, changing tastes — this street view would never last forever. But it’s a reminder of how disparate styles and sizes make for lively streetscapes, and civic pride.
No one prints a postcard of a parking ramp.