Built from 1912 to 1915, the Old Federal Building at 212 3rd Avenue South in Minneapolis was home to the United States Post Office until 1936. The main entry features a mosaic tile floor, marble wall panels and a barrel-vaulted plaster ceiling. The buildings notable exterior features include a series two-story Greek Corinthian columns that line the building’s exterior. The north, south, and east elevations of the building are clad in granite while the west elevation is clad in brick. Over the years, it housed several federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service.
Vietnam veterans may remember the building as a Military Entrance Processing Station. The front of the building has served as a scene for a variety and anti-war protests and demonstrations. On August 17, 1970, at 3 AM, a bomb was set off by the steps of the 2nd Street entrance. The explosion caused an estimated $500,000 of damage to the building, injured a security guard, and shattered windows up to several blocks away. Damage from the blast is still visible. No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but it was presumed to be the work of anti-war activists.
The neo-classical revival style building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. A year later, $2 million in federal Revitalization Act funds paid for restoration work. The first agency to move back into the building was the Minneapolis Passport Agency. In May of 2011, The Military Entrance Processing Station for Minnesota moved back into the old building while their offices at Fort Snelling, the agency’s primary facility, undergo a major renovation. The building is open to the public 6 a.m.– 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Taylor Brothers of Philadelphia built the Alaska Mill back in 1866. At the time there were eight mills operating at the falls. Gardner & Pillsbury purchased the mill in 1870 and it became the Pillsbury B Mill when it passed to Chas. A. Pillsbury in 1874. The mill was destroyed by a fire in 1881, but was promptly rebuilt with increased capacity. Progress routed the B Mill in 1931. The foundations of the Alaska Mill in the Mill Ruins Park are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing member of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.
The Excelsior Amusement Park on Lake Minnetonka often played host to the Miss Minnesota Beauty Pageants. Back in 1952 the contest looked like it was up in the air between Miss St. Paul’s Nancy Jean Frary and Miss Minneapolis, Donna Omundson. After a fierce talent competition, the crown was placed on the head of Miss Duluth by the reigning Miss America, Carol Kay Hutchins. Excelsior Amusement Park closed in 1973 and was demolished soon afterwards. The park’s carousel is still in use at Valleyfair.
In the early part of the last century, Edna Dickerson was running a school for court reporters in Chicago. One day she found out that her long lost relative, Albert Johnson had passed away and leaving her a large sum of money and some prime real estate in downtown Minneapolis. While Ms. Dickerson was in Minneapolis to collect her inheritance and sorting out her affairs she met George Dayton and a couple other influential locals, who convinced her to invest some of her inheritance in the construction of a grand hotel next to Dayton’s store. The Minneapolis architectural firm of Long, Lamoreaux, and Long was selected selected for the project. Edna Dickerson and husband, Simon Kruse hired Charles J. Owen for their first manager. Owen was a former assistant manager at the Hotel Astor and Hotel Knickerbocker in New York City . A member of the Commercial Club, a Minneapolis business group that came to occupy two floors of the new hotel suggested the hotel be named after Pierre Esprit Radisson, a French who crisscrossed the Great Lakes area in the 17th century. Construction began in the summer of 1908.
Throughout the building’s design and construction the Minneapllis Journal, Tribune, and the DailyNews devoted columns to the decorations, amenities, and funds expended to make the Radisson a “gem of a hotel” with the “last word in appointments.” Trade publications noted the structure’s use of steel sheet pilings and heralded the Radisson when it bacame the tallest building in America built with reinforced concrete. The 16-story hotel was originally scheduled to have 325 rooms, but, the room count was increased to 425 during construction. The 100 room addition was begun after construction started but before it was finished. When the Radisson in December of1909, it was the second tallest building in the city. Most of the rooms had baths, and all had cold drinking water pumped from an artesian well 975 feet below the ground. Room rates at the Radisson started at $1.50. One could enjoy the hotel’s finest amenities, including a bath for $5.00. The entrance to the hotel was shaded by a 50 feet long glass and ornamental iron canopy that extended over three doorways separated by columns of marble and framed in monumental bronze.
The Radisson also offered the Radisson Roof for dancing during the summer months. Guests using the Roof could also enjoy the Springtime Room restaurants on the topmost floor. The enclosed facility resembled a greenhouse and offered food and beverage service in pleasant weather. In the early days advertising for the Radisson claimed that despite the building’s opulence, the hotel was affordable there was no discrimination against the ladies. Over the next 72 years the Radisson Hotel played host Presidents Taft, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Admiral Bull Halsey; and celebrities like Sarah Bernhardt, Jenny Lind, Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Al Jolson, Jack Dempsey, Ethel Barrymore, Gloria Swanson, Helen Hayes, Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Lon Chaney, Katharine Hepburn, Alan Ladd, Bob Hope, Henry Fonda, Arthur Godfrey, Robert Cummings, Debbie Reynolds, Roger Williams, and Carmel Quinn. The grand downtown Minneapolis Radisson Hotel closed in late 1981. The structure was razed in early 1982.
Founded in 1883, Guiterman Bros. incorporated and started using the Summit “Town and Country” name in 1904. From their plant in Lowertown, the Guiterman Bros. pioneered the attached soft collared shirt and country coat. Business boomed and during the early part of the last century. The company’s created an extensive line of Mackinaw outerwear and coined the name “windbreaker”.
Guiterman Bros “Town and Country” Coats and vests shared the distinctive double snap Knit-Nek. During the First World War, the company produced iconic flying coats for US aviators. In 1929, Guiterman Bros. & Co. was purchased by Gordon and Ferguson.
In 1958 Minnehaha Park expanded after the Minneapolis Park Board acquired 26 acres of old Fort Snelling from the federal government. The board continued to lobby Congress to donate most of Fort Snelling to the park in hopes of continuing West River Parkway all the way to the Minnesota River. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but nothing ever came of it. A couple years later, the highway department began planning for a new freeway between downtown Minneapolis and the airport. An elevated roadway was proposed between Minnehaha Park and Longfellow Gardens . The park board argued that the roadway should be diverted around the western edge of Longfellow Garden and challenged the highway plan all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Before the case was heard the court ruled in favor of a similar case in Nashville. A compromise never had to be reached because federal money for building the freeway dried up. When a new highway was eventually built in the 1990s, the decision was made to place a tunnel over Minnehaha Creek and create a “land bridge” between Minnehaha Park and Longfellow Garden.
In 1930 the infamous Minneapolis parachute dare devil, Nona Malloy made headlines when she narrowly escaped drowning in Duluth’s St. Louis Bay and was subsequently arrested for writing bad checks. Malloy was in Duluth making exhibition leaps in connection with the Duluth Boat Club Carnival. A shifting wind carried her out over Lake Superior and dropped her in the water. Malloy became entangled in her parachute and was on her way to the icy blue depths when rescuers arrived. When she arrived safely ashore she was charged for issuing a bad check at a local department store. A Duluth Police investigation later revealed Miss Malloy was the victim of a forger who wrote at least 50 checks bearing her name.