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Historic Minneapolis Photos

Whenever I poke around the internet I discover treasures and today was no exception. The Hennepin County Library system has “The Minneapolis Collection” of historical photos, newspapers and more. 

Here are three you photos you might find interesting. I certainly did and added a comment as to why they had meaning below each (click on the photo to see a larger version and there is a link under each one which will take you to the Hennepin County page for that photo):

1860: THE FIRST MINNESOTA STATE FAIR HELD AT FORT SNELLINGTaken looking across the parade grounds towards the commandant's house. Most of the people are grouped at the far end around some sort of a stand, Well is visible at front center. Broad expanse of the river valley is also visible. (Steve: in 1860, my great-great grandparents had just settled in after emigrating from Germany and the State Fair is nearly upon us)

1860: THE FIRST MINNESOTA STATE FAIR HELD AT FORT SNELLING
Taken looking across the parade grounds towards the commandant’s house. Most of the people are grouped at the far end around some sort of a stand, Well is visible at front center. Broad expanse of the river valley is also visible.

In 1860, my great-great grandparents had just settled in after emigrating from Germany and the Minnesota State Fair starts this coming Thursday. Here is stuff about Fort Snelling and the MN State Fair

 

1896: ONE OF THE FIRST ELECTRIC AUTOMOBILES IN MINNEAPOLIS Harold Sturgis is the car owner. Photo taken on April 14, 1896. Sturgis and Haskell are in the front, the others are behind. Front entry of the hotel is visible. Crowd of men are looking at the car. Car was exhibited at the 1896 Bicycle Show held in the Exposition Building. This car was invented by an Iowan named Morrison who sold it to Sturgis. (Steve: I'm about to buy a plugin hybrid and wonder "What if?" electric cars had continued their evolution)

1896: ONE OF THE FIRST ELECTRIC AUTOMOBILES IN MINNEAPOLIS
Harold Sturgis is the car owner. Photo taken on April 14, 1896. Sturgis and Haskell are in the front, the others are behind. Front entry of the hotel is visible. Crowd of men are looking at the car. Car was exhibited at the 1896 Bicycle Show held in the Exposition Building. This car was invented by an Iowan named Morrison who sold it to Sturgis.

I’m about to buy a plugin hybrid and wonder “What if?” electric cars had continued their evolution.

 

1911: HENNEPIN AVENUE AT 6TH STREET LOOKING NORTHBusinesses named from left to right. Note milk wagon at bottom right. Date based on construction of Plymouth Building 1910-11. (Steve: Can't tell you how many times I've walked by the intersection and love photos showing "how it was").

1911: HENNEPIN AVENUE AT 6TH STREET LOOKING NORTH
Note the horse-drawn milk wagon at bottom right.

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked that intersection so it’s really fun to see it back then. The horse-drawn milk wagon means something to me as well because of this story from my Dad.


UPDATE: I received this email from a gentleman here in Minneapolis and liked it so much I thought I’d share it:

Steve:

I happened to stumble upon your August 18 post.

The Sturgis Morisson automobile in the April 14, 1896 photo is considered to be the first automobile to have ever been in Minneapolis. The fact that it was an electric automobile is secondary. (A Haynes gasoline powered automobile was also scheduled to be exhibited at the 1896 Minneapolis bicycle show but research indicates that it never actually arrived or was displayed.)

Swedish language newspaper publisher Swan Turnblad was the first Minneapolis resident to own a commercially manufactured automobile. It was an 1899 Waverley Electric manufactured by the American Bicycle Company in Indianapolis. However, Turnblad did not take delivery of the car until early 1900. Although the car was only 12 years old, due to its historical significance it was displayed at the 1911 Minneapolis Auto Show. It was stored for many years in the carriage house of the Turnblad Mansion at 2600 Park Avenue (now the American Swedish Institute) but unfortunately was scrapped by the staff of the ASI during World War II.

My father owns a 1900 Waverley Electric that was originally owned by Sam Thorpe (Thorpe Realty) and is considered to be among the group of first automobiles to be owned by a Minneapolis resident.

The Minnesota Historical Society also owns a 1900 Waverley Electric. It was originally owned by St. Paul resident and confectioner George Smith and is a “twin sister” to the Thorpe Waverley being the same model and one serial number off. George Smith had the foresight to donate the car to the MNHS in 1911 but, due to lack of room, they did not take delivery until 1918 after their new building was completed. The car has not been displayed in over 35 years and is in storage.

Thought this may be of interest to you.

Erik Johnson
Minneapolis MN 

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

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