Until the 1970s, large swaths of Minneapolis were devoted to railroad use — depots, switching yards, freight houses, and shop facilities. Much of that has disappeared, along with the industry that depended on the railroads. Historian Aaron Isaacs takes us on a tour of the city showing what was here before and what has replaced it.
Author and historian Brian MacMahon will discuss how the Ford Motor Company transformed Minnesota as detailed in his award-winning book, The Ford Century in Minnesota, published by the University of Minnesota Press. The impact of the company will be seen locally, including the introduction of the Model T, the building of the Twin Cities Assembly Plant, cutbacks during the Depression, World War II, women joining the workforce, dealerships on Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, globalization, the eventual closing of the plant in St. Paul, and more.
Optional brunch/lunch to follow the program at the Hilltop Restaurant 5101 Arcadia Ave, Edina. Please RSVP by Wednesday Nov 20th via phone or email. Let us know the number in your party. Call (612) 926-0646 (leave a message if necessary) or email email@example.com.
James Eli Shiffer, author of The King of Skid Row: John Bacich and the Twilight Years of Old Minneapolis, will visually take us to visit the nucleus of the old Gateway at Hennepin, Nicollet, and Washington Avenues. Though office towers, upscale hotels, and condos abound here, imagine this intersection 60 years earlier where you are surrounded by seedy nightclubs, bars, and flophouses in such filthy, decaying structures that the resident vermin left scathing reviews on Yelp; by individuals sprawled on the grass at Gateway Park; or on corners gossiping, fighting, and passing around a communal bottle of booze. Now imagine yourself at the Sourdough Bar, ordering around for your buddies while chatting with barkeep John “Johnny Rex” Bacich, the subject of our October program and of James Eli Shiffer’s book The King of Skid Row. Join us for a look back at the seamy side of the city!
Just over a century ago the Minneapolis City Council directed the Milwaukee Railroad Company to construct a trench located just north of Lake Street, between Hennepin and Cedar Avenues, and 37 bridges for roads spanning the trench. This provided a grade separation between the railroad and the city’s automobile and streetcar traffic for three miles, from Hennepin to Cedar Avenues. Learn about the controversies surrounding this major civil works project in the early 1900s, the trench and corridor transitions from industry to residential use and from rail to bicycle traffic over the last 100 years, as well as what the future might hold for the Midtown Greenway. The program will be presented by local historians Tom Balcom and Aaron Isaacs.
For millennia, the place where the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi has been a crossroads, a place of strategic power. But that symbolism is complicated. This tour is a powerful reminder that most Minnesotans today are descendants of immigrants, living on conquered land.
Peter DeCarlo, author of Fort Snelling at Bdote, shares the story of the power of place and its peoples. He introduces us to key people who lived in the area. Their lives demonstrate a complicated story laden with the brutal realities of how people were treated, government and those chosen as leaders, and the landscape.
Peter DeCarlo is a historian whose research centers on the history of colonialism in Minnesota. He works at the Minnesota Historical Society.