(Very) Brief Reflections on Preservation in Minneapolis
It’s been nearly six decades since the demolition of the Metropolitan Building in the winter of 1961-1962—the birth-by-wrecking-ball beginning of the city’s preservation movement—and we have learned from our mistakes. Passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 created the National Register of Historic Places, a powerful tool for raising awareness of the historic properties in our midst. Minneapolis gained Minnesota’s first National Register district in November 1969 when the Minnehaha Falls Historic District was listed in the National Register. Two years later, the city claimed the state’s second district, the massive Saint Anthony Falls Historic District, with its exceptional collection of mills, warehouses, bridges, and dams.
Minneapolis is often scolded for being more interested in “progress” than in preservation but Minneapolis can no longer be slammed as being anti-preservation..”, Minneapolis’s Sears building, for example, has a well-established new life with offices, residences, and the wonderfully unique Global Market and the Grain Belt brewery in northeast Minneapolis was revived for office use at the dawn of the twenty-first century, only recently to be joined by the Schmidt Brewery downriver.
As a community, practitioners and public alike, we are gradually (sometimes, grudgingly) moving beyond the easily huggable Victorian mansions and Streamline Moderne diners to value properties that emerged from the urban renewal tsunami.
It’s important to recognize that not everyone views each preservation issue through the same lens: idealism and pragmatism can cause clashes within our ranks. In the end, though, we need to remain focused on the common goal of using the tangible products of our history, good and bad, to make the world a better place. The short history of the movement in Minneapolis proves that this approach works. Turns out that progress and preservation are compatible.
A note on the guest blogger Charlene Roise
Charlene is an architectural historian and preservation specialist in Minneapolis. Her firm, Hess Roise and Company, consults on historic preservation issues and regulatory compliance projects. She is also a board member of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which recently worked with the City on the rehabilitation plan for Peavey Plaza.
- Aug 1, 2018 Theodore Wirth and the Minneapolis Park System Aug 1, 2018
- Jun 20, 2018 Guest post: Racism, Rent and Real Estate: Fair Housing Reframed Jun 20, 2018
- May 15, 2018 (Very) Brief Reflections on Preservation in Minneapolis May 15, 2018
- Mar 14, 2018 Deep Dive into Minneapolis Music History Mar 14, 2018
- Oct 18, 2017 Uptown’s Sons of Norway Building: A Landmark of Norwegian-American Heritage Oct 18, 2017
- Sep 7, 2017 Peavey Plaza: A Modernist Oasis in Minneapolis Sep 7, 2017
- Sep 5, 2017 Minneapolis Highways and Byways Worth Preserving Sep 5, 2017
- Jun 15, 2017 Summer Walking Tour Series Jun 15, 2017
- Jun 2, 2017 The Prairie School-A Protest Movement Jun 2, 2017
- May 29, 2017 NEBL's Fight to Protect the St. Anthony Falls Historic District May 29, 2017
- May 15, 2017 125 Years of Wesley May 15, 2017
- May 10, 2017 Preservation Month May 10, 2017
- May 9, 2017 2017 Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Awards May 9, 2017
- May 1, 2017 Minneapolis Grain Exchange May 1, 2017
- Apr 26, 2017 Fucci Murals Inspire Citizen Preservation Calls Apr 26, 2017
- Apr 17, 2017 Evening Exploration: Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center Apr 17, 2017
- Apr 9, 2017 We Still Need Your Expertise Apr 9, 2017
- Apr 8, 2017 Call for Nominations Apr 8, 2017
- Mar 20, 2017 Elizabeth C. Quinlan: Woman Pioneer in the World of Business Mar 20, 2017
- Mar 6, 2017 Tilsenbilt Homes Historic District Honors Nation’s First “Open” Housing Development Mar 6, 2017
- Feb 27, 2017 A Message from the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership: Feb 27, 2017
- Feb 6, 2017 Hennepin Made Instameet Recap Feb 6, 2017
- Jan 23, 2017 Homewood Bound: North Minneapolis’ Latest Historic District Designation Jan 23, 2017
- Jan 7, 2017 Our Favorite Lesser-Known Historic Buildings in Minneapolis Jan 7, 2017
- Dec 18, 2016 Evolution of Minneapolis Parks Dec 18, 2016
- Dec 6, 2016 Call for volunteers – we need your expertise and help! Dec 6, 2016
- Nov 25, 2016 Thanksgiving Thoughts Nov 25, 2016
- Nov 2, 2016 The Falls: Powering Minneapolis Nov 2, 2016
- Oct 25, 2016 St. Anthony Falls: The Birthplace of Minneapolis Oct 25, 2016