Butler Square’s Great Glass Elevators
In the Seventies I spent at least a couple weekends a year with my mother at Art Fairs all over the Twin Cities. I still remember the feeling I used to get after the booth was all set up and Mom unfolded her little yellow lawn chair. It was like somebody had just turned over an enormous hour glass in my gut. I knew it would be the longest day of the year. Fortunately my leash was loose. Mom used to let me wander. I remember discovering the length of Lake Street at the Uptown Art Fair. I found my self a little turned around in search of the Wax Museum and the latest Kiss Album. I must have been somewhere near Blaisdell when I asked a little old lady for directions,
“Are you lost?” she said and then she flagged down a bus and tried to put me on board all the while explaining to the bus driver that this little girl was lost. I told the driver I was not a girl, not lost and I was looking for the Wax Museum.
My mom thought it was perfectly safe to turn me loose in Uptown, Har-Mar, Maplewood Mall or 50th and France, but Downtown was just too scary. The next door neighbor had been telling her about “white slavers” that were kidnapping kids in the arcades on Hennepin Avenue. After we got all set up in Butler Square I was told not to leave the building. What did I do for Nine hours? I rode the great glass elevators up and down, over and over. I got out and poked around on every floor. There was a science and nature sort of toy store on the second floor and I spent a couple hours in there day dreaming about kites and little pieces of plexi that sent prisms dancing on the walls. After they kicked me out I went back to the elevators and soared up above the trapeze artist and the hang glider. I imagined my self tip toeing out there on one of those giant rough-hewn beams. I wonder what kid og tree that was anyway and is it really strong enough to hold up this big brick building? well it may have been a long and tedious ordeal, but it makes for a good memory. I’ll tell you something else. To this day, whenever I’m downtown and it feels just a little bit scary, I head for Butler Square where I know I’ll be safe.