During the early 20th century, the Gateway District (or Lower Loop) was the largest Skid Row in the Upper Midwest. Flophouses, missions, and bars mixed with a variety of other businesses that needed cheap rents and a central location. Between 1959 and 1963, in an effort to clean up the area, Minneapolis demolished 25 blocks, or almost 40 percent of its historic downtown—turning this part of the city into a wasteland of uninviting buildings and surface parking lots. Revisit the seedy history of the Gateway district and its unfortunate redevelopment, and learn about what new structures have risen in the city’s historic heart.
This tour will walk about 1.5 miles; tour guides are James Eli Shiffer, author of “The King of Skid Row: John Bacich and the Twilight Years of Old Minneapolis,” and Dr. Kirsten Delegard, a historian at the University of Minnesota and director of the Mapping Prejudice project.