«The Museum in the Streets: Lake Street MITS: Lake Street will create several bilingual heritage discovery walks along Lake Street from the ...»
The Museum in the Streets:
MITS: Lake Street will create several
bilingual heritage discovery walks
along Lake Street from the Mississippi
River to Lake Calhoun
and share the great stories, events and
people that have influenced the
Lake Street we know today.
MITS: Lake Street
• Each walking tour will:
– have plaques at around 20 individual sites
that will form self-guided walking tours
– be supported by a brochure that will invite Lake Street communities and visitors alike to discover Lake Street’s stories at their own pace, over the course of an afternoon or over return visits – be in English and Spanish MITS: Lake Street: Section Highlights Longfellow Wonderland Amusement Park The Wonderland Amusement Park was built by H.A. Dorsey on 10 acres at East Lake Street between 31st and 33rd Avenues. The park was a major summer attraction from 1905 until 1911. It had a 120-foot-high electric tower which drew in visitors, and featured a roller coaster, carousel, miniature train, boat ride, dance pavilion, and a “house of Nonsense.” Its most popular attraction was the Infantorium, which displayed premature babies being taken care of in incubators, a common curiosity of the times. More than 70,000 visitors attended Wonderland on opening day.
Old East Lake Library: 2916 East Lake The East Lake Branch of the Minneapolis Public Library was one of thirteen branches established under the leadership of Gratia Countryman, the Chief Librarian from 1904 to 1936, and played an important role as a neighborhood and educational center. Designed by Jerome Paul Jackson, also responsible for the Walker and Seven Corners branches, the East Lake Branch was utilitarian in style.
The East Lake Branch served the community for approximately fifty years, until a new structure opened in 1976 at 2727 East Lake Street and rebuilt again at that location in 2007.
El Lago Theater: 3506 East Lake Construction on the El Lago Theater began in 1927, but the financial constraints of the Depression delayed the opening until 1933. With exotic façade and Spanish name (El Lago means “The Lake”), the theater was all about fantasy and escape from the everyday world. Located a block from the intersection of two streetcar lines, it easily drew movie-goers. The increasing popularity of television, as well as the disabling of the streetcar network in the late 1950s, led to the eventual closing of the El Lago in 1966.
Coliseum Building/Freeman’s Department Store: 2700 East Lake Freeman’s Department Store opened in the Coliseum Building in 1917, it survived until 1975, when the growth of national chains and suburban shopping malls made the inner-city Lake Street location less desirable. At one time East Lake had five full-sized department stores. The intersection of the streetcar lines at 27th and Lake created bustling foot traffic. The Coliseum Building also housed Podany’s Office Furniture Warehouse. During the 1970s Roger Podany rented out the basement of the sprawling building to musicians. Notable basement tenants during this period were The Suburbs, The Explodo Boys, and the rock and blues group Citizen.
Lauritzen Wagon & Blacksmith Shop: 3012 Minnehaha Ave S Martinus Nelson built a blacksmith shop at this location in 1888. The smithy serviced local horses and wagons that kept area dairy farms running.
Christian Lauritzen took over the business in 1898. Lauritzen had emigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1893. Passage to Minnesota from Scandinavian countries was often subsidized by James J.
Hill, the builder of the Great Northern Railroad. Hill gave Scandinavian immigrants free steerage tickets across the Atlantic and boxcar accommodations from the East Coast to Minnesota to homestead and settle in the state. Hill wanted to establish settlements where his railroad lines would be going so the settlers would use his freight and passenger service, and Scandinavians were anxious to escape the difficulties of Scandinavia and start anew. Christian Lauritzen built the family home at 3136 Minnehaha in 1909, a nice brick home that is still standing today. The original blacksmith building stood until the mid-1980s at which time it was torn down to provide parking for the adjacent building.
Minneapolis Moline Minneapolis Moline Located at the site that began in 1873 as Minneapolis Harvester Works, Minneapolis Moline produced farm implements that were used all across Midwestern fields and beyond. The Minneapolis Moline factory visually dominated the Lake Street landscape, and served an important purpose, both for the neighborhood and the entire country, during times of need. The factory was a valuable source of income for the neighborhood’s residents, and during wartime, the factory produced shells, warheads, and the original jeep was designed here.
Minneapolis Moline was also the site of numerous labor struggles. One strike in 1946, resulted in a demonstration that cut off all Lake Street traffic for 45 minutes, and shut down the factory for two months. The factory was shuttered in 1972, laying off 1,200 workers. The site was redeveloped in 1975 as a shopping mall that houses the first urban Target store in the country.
MITS: Lake Street: Section Highlights
Midtown TCRT Lake Street Station Car Yard: 2108 – 2130 East Lake
Twin City Rapid Transit Company system reached its peak ridership in 1922; it had nearly 530 miles of track and 1021 streetcars. The carhouse or station was at the center of a trainman’s day. It was a home away from home, a private club of sorts. If you were a motorman, it was where you reported for work to pull out your car. If you were a conductor, it was where you got your change supply or turned in your receipts at the end of the day. Or, it was a place to catch some sleep between a late-night run and an early pullout the next morning. The system was dismantled in 1954, and Lake Street Station was demolished and now houses the Hi-Lake Shopping Center.
Burma Shave: 2019 East Lake Burma-Shave was introduced in 1925 by the Burma-Vita company, owned by Clinton Odell. The company's original product was a liniment made of ingredients described as coming "from the Malay Peninsula and Burma." Demand was sparse, and the company sought to expand sales by introducing a product with wider appeal. The result was the famous Burma-Shave advertising sign program, begun in 1925. Sales took off. At its peak, Burma-Shave was the second-highest selling brushless shaving cream in the United States. Typically, six consecutive small signs would be posted along the edge of highways, spaced for sequential reading by passing motorists. The last sign was almost always the name of the product. The company began in this non-descript building, then moved to another Minneapolis location before it was acquired by Phillip Morris and eventually discontinued.
Layman’s Cemetery Layman’s Cemetery: 2945 Cedar Ave S.
Founded in 1853 on land adjacent to the Martin Layman farmstead, it is the oldest surviving cemetery in Minneapolis and the sole surviving frontier churchyard-style. It contains the graves of some of the first settlers, many of whom made major contributions to local history; soldiers and veterans of the War of 1812, the Dakota Conflict, the Civil War, the Mexican American War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I; mid to late nineteenth century European immigrants, early African American citizens and transposed abolitionists. In 1925, a group organized to save historical Layman’s Cemetery.
This effort is recognized as early, local historic preservation. On June 2, 2002, the now-named Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Gustavus II Adolphus Hall:
1628 East Lake The Gustavus II Adolphus Society was founded in 1886 to create a community for Swedish men. The founding members created a program of debates, lectures, music, singing and athletics. The motto of the group became “Unity, Equality, Brotherhood, Progress.” Younger as well as older people joined the society and in 1893 it was officially chartered by the State of Minnesota as a fraternal organization. In 1924, the Society erected a building at 1628 E. Lake Street. In the 1950s, membership grew as the society reached out to the direct descendants of Swedish immigrants. The Lake Street building was sold in 1995, destroyed by fire in 2004 and torn down in 2008.
Ingebretsen’s: 1601 East Lake In 1921, young Norwegian immigrant Charles Ingebretsen opened a meat market, named The Model Market. His meat market served the predominantly Scandinavian neighborhoods nearby. As the economy changed, chain stores developed as competition for small neighborhood proprietors. In the 1970s, the owners added a gift shop and became “Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Center.” The Ingebretsen family’s store reflects larger changes that have occurred in American culture throughout the twentieth century. Adapting to changing desires of consumers, Ingebretsen’s has become a symbol of the enduring cultural legacy of Scandinavian Americans in the Twin Cities.
Avalon Theater The Avalon Theater: 1500 East Lake
The 1928 Sears, Roebuck & Co. building represents an early phase of the company’s growth. Sears, Roebuck & Co. revolutionized consuming material goods. Mail order catalogs brought merchandise to a wider variety of middle-class customers, ushering in the era of consumer capitalism. Over 800,000 upperMidwest customers ordered from the catalog. Sears chose the location on Lake Street because of its inexpensive land and availability of parking spaces. Architect George Nimmons was commissioned to design many Sears’ retail stores and warehouses including this one. The retail store closed in 1994 for several reasons, including Sears’ commitment to a location at the Mall of America.
MITS: Lake Street: Section Highlights
West Lake Josie Wanous Shampoo Bag Company: 126 East Lake
Above the Wanous Drug Store at Stevens Ave and East Lake Street was the production room for Josie Wanous’s Shampoo Bag, an herbal mixture in a disposable cloth bag that became internationally known. Today, near the perfume city of Grasse in France, century-old advertising and sales receipts from the Wanous Company are on display in the Fragonard perfume museum. Josie Wanous was the first woman pharmacist in the state and invented dandruff shampoo in 1903.
Northwestern National Bank:
7 West Lake Northwestern Bank, a precursor to Wells Fargo, has had a presence at the intersection of Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue for decades. Prior to 1975, the bank was located at 7 West Lake. That year saw a massive redevelopment of that corner, including Northwestern bank building a new building at 3030 Nicollet Avenue at the site of the former Nicollet Ballpark baseball stadium. A plaque marking the old home plate still stands on the bank's grounds.
Nicollet Ball Park: 3048 Nicollet Ave
Emil Schatzlein opened his saddle shop at 609 West Lake Street in 1907 – before streetcars, even before paved streets – when virtually all land south of Lake Street was farmed by hand and with horse-drawn equipment. Lake Street was the southern boundary of Minneapolis and was populated with numerous stables and harness shops and Schatzlein saw a natural business opportunity. The shop was moved to its current location at 413 West Lake in 1936. Schatzlein continues to be owned and managed by family members who see business opportunities in today’s market place.
Crowell Block: 2957 Lyndale Ave S.
The Minneapolis Mercantile Company, located on the southeast corner of Lake Street and Colfax Avenue, offered groceries, meats, and a bakery. The building, constructed in 1916, housed both the family business as well as many of the family members themselves in the apartments above the store. Later, the building was home to Freddie’s Padded Cell, where musical notables such as Peter, Paul, and Mary; Jack “Big T” Teagarden; Kai Winding; and Peter Nero all played. The folk trio The Journeymen recorded their “Coming Attraction--Live!” at the Cell in
1962. The album cover enthusiastically described an “on-the-spot recording of an actual performance in Minneapolis’s famed Padded Cell”. Mohn Electric moved into the building in 1969 from their first location at Hennepin and Lagoon.
Buzza Building: 1006 West Lake The Self-Threading Needle Company built 1006 in 1907, and owned it until 1923, when it was purchased by its namesake Buzza. Buzza was experiencing tremendous growth and greatly expanded it, including the three-story section facing Colfax, a four-story section on the north, and the six-story tower with “Buzza” on it. The company began in 1907 specializing in poster production, then, when that business dried up, turned to the greeting card market and grew to be the second largest greeting card company in the nation. Its fortunes sank during the Great Depression, and went out of business in 1942, when the federal government acquired the building for use by the War Department, the Veterans Administration, and the Minnesota military district and took on the nickname “Little Pentagon”. The Minneapolis Public Schools acquired the building from the federal government in 1971, and dedicated it as the Florence M. Lehmann Education Center in 1973.
Old Walker Branch Library:
2901 Hennepin Ave S When the Walker Branch of the Minneapolis Public Libraries opened in 1911, the Hennepin/Lake commercial corridor was sparsely developed. T.B. Walker, President of the Library Board, donated the property situated at the end of the Mall Boulevard to help establish the importance of libraries in developing communities.
Walker’s donations assisted in expanding the library system and bringing books closer to people. The opening of the Walker Library coincided with the expansion of a streetcar line on Lake Street, bringing customers and library patrons to the area. Minneapolis architect Jerome Paul Jackson chose a Neoclassical design. The entrance portico, framed by Ionic sandstone columns, masterfully displays BeauxArts characteristics.
Granada Theater: 3022 Hennepin Ave.