I have to take a jump back to Fort Snelling as it plays a part of the history of Minneapolis. Fort Snelling was one of the first important areas of Minneapolis, and much of the early laws revolved around what could and couldn’t be done with military land. For example, one could not build a residence on military land. However, by 1850, Colonel John Stevens finagled his way into 160 acres near the falls—now the site of downtown Minneapolis—which the government gave him as payment of sorts for operating a ferry. From these beginnings, Stevens and others planned the town of Minneapolis, which was put into fruition in 1856. The name itself, originally Minnehapolis, was derived by combining “Minnehaha” meaning waterfalls in Sioux (not laughing waters as commonly believed) and “polis”, Greek for city. The “h” was dropped, giving the current name of the city "Minneapolis" which means “city of waters.” Minneapolis officially became a city in 1867.
Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota and is a city with a rich history. Besides the Dakota people who were here first, the majority of settlers came to Minneapolis in the 1830s because of St. Anthony Falls, which was the largest water source of power in the Midwest. The falls themselves were named by Father Louis Hennepin, who was one of the earliest explorers of Minnesota. Even though early on, the east side of the river was the place to be with Franklin Steele opening the first privately-owned sawmill on that bank, eventually, the west side of the river grew into the place to be. Sawmills were more prominent in the early years, but Minneapolis slowly grew as a flour mill city rather than a sawmill one. Because of the water power the falls provided, Minneapolis became a milling society with sawmills and flour mills on both sides of the river.
Two of the prominent flour mills of the day, Washburn-Crosby Company Mill (now General Mills) and Pillsbury Company Mill were fierce rivals. In 1880, Washburn-Crosby Company's flour won a national competition, and they named their flour Gold Medal Flour because of it. In response, Pillsbury Company put a blue ribbon on their bags and called their flour Pillsbury's Best Flour.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the flour mill business began to decline. The flour mill companies could see the writing on the wall and began diversifying. Washburn-Crosby Company bought a television station, and the call letters were and still are WCCO in honor of the company. They merged with some national mill companies in 1928, changing their name to General Mills. Today, General Mills owns several businesses, including Betty Crocker, Annie's, Green Giant, and yes, Pillsbury. They acquired Pillsbury in 2001, which effectively put an end to the inter-company rivalry.
Today, Minneapolis is known for it's arts and theater and music scene, earning it the nickname of the Minnea-Apple. We have over 200 theaters in the Twin Cities alone!
Minneapolis is also known for it's park system. By design, Minneapolis has parks within 6 blocks of almost every home. Part of the park system is called The Grand Rounds, a 53 mile path and trail system that connects various lakes, rivers and streams together and It traverses throughout Minneapolis.
Minneapolis and the surrounding Twin Cities is also known for several fortune-500 companies including the aforementioned General Mills, along with Target (originally Daytons), 3M, Best Buy (originally the Sound Of Music), Medtronic, United Health Group, Ecolab, US Bank, and more.
Minneapolis has 83 residential neighborhoods. In this video I break it down into sections of Minneapolis. On my website I have some pages that talk about individual neighborhoods like Kingfield, and some by neighborhood organizations like Hale-Page-Diamond Lake, and some by the section, such as Northeast Minneapolis.
Sections of Minneapolis
Minneapolis has different sections North, Northeast, Southeast, South, and a special section of South, called Southwest. Each section has it's own vibe and attractions.
The dividing lines are basically the Mississippi River which divides the east from the west, and Hennepin Avenue that divides the north from the south. Hennepin Avenue, which is shown in black, is the origin where all streets are either North or South of this line. In downtown, you have streets such as 1st street North and 1st Street South with the changeover happening at Hennepin.
On the north side of this line, you'll see that "Northeast" Minneapolis is the section EAST of the river, while the rest of the north part is aptly called "North Minneapolis."
North Minneapolis has some very interesting architecture, and some ties to some interesting people.
Shingle Creek Elementary, located at 5034 Oliver Ave N was originally built in 1958. The Mid-century building was unique in that it had several wings shaped as plus signs, connected by narrow hallways. It's what they called a "Cluster Design." It was designed with 3 classrooms in a "cluster" that make up 3 of the 4 points of the plus sign. Each cluster was connected to other clusters by hallways. It was almost torn down but as luck would have it, it was saved and is now a charter school called KIPP Minnesota Public Schools.
Moving on, Have you heard of "Jenny Lind?" I learned of her through the movie "The Greatest Showman" as the swedish nightengale. Although the movie takes some liberty with the real history of Jenny Lind, she really did donate money to many schools back in Sweden.
Well, there is a Jenny Lind Elementary School which is named after her, located at 5025 Bryant Ave N. This school is located in the neighborhood named after her as well, called Lind-Bohanon.
Another building I've admired is the Mikro Kodesh building. (I'm probably way off on the pronounciation.) Built in 1926 it was the Holy Assembly for the North Side Jewish community. It is on the historic register and it should be. It's a stately building. This building is currently in use as a church.
Northeast Minneapolis is known for being the "arts district" of Minneapolis, although technically it refers to only a section of Northeast Minneapolis. Either way, there are a lot of art galleries and studios within the neighborhood. It's also a growing area for breweries and taprooms with popular ones being Indeed Brewing, Dangerous Man Brewing, 612 Brew, Bauhaus, and more. One popular restaurant in Northeast is Betty Dangers, which features a ferris wheel!
One really interesting part of Northeast is the street naming convention. If you look closely, the streets are named after about the first 30 presidents of the united states. To get around, you need to know your history as they are in order west to east. Does Polk come after or before Taylor?
On the south side of Hennepin Avenue we have South Minneapolis, and Southeast Minneapolis for the portion that is east of the Mississippi. This section really is "East" minneapolis, but it's called Southeast because it's south of Hennepin Avenue. Also there is a section of South Minneapolis that is called Southwest Minneapolis. We'll talk about each of these sections as well as uptown and downtown.
South Minneapolis is a huge section. This can be broken down further into central (or Downtown as we call it), the Longfellow Community, which sits between Hiawatha and the Mississippi, South Minneapolis which is generally between Hiawatha and 35W and south of 38th street, Philips and Powderhorn which is south of Downtown and north of 38th street, Southwest Minneapolis which is the lower left corner of South Minneapolis (south of 36th), and uptown which is between Downtown and Southwest.
Let's start with Southeast Minneapolis.
When people refer to Southeast Minneapolis, sometimes they also refer to the University of Minnesota because southeast Mpls is where the university is located. It's also one of the older sections of Minneapolis with houses ranging back to 1880's. Because of it's proximity to the U of M, there is a lot of campus housing in this area. But there is a really cool section of Southeast called Prospect Park. It's a small section of southeast where the roads wind in various directions and with lots of old houses.
South Minneapolis is one of the largest parts of Minneapolis with lots of residential housing. Main features of South Minneapolis include Lake Nokomis, Lake Hiawatha, Minnehaha Creek, and Minnehaha Falls. There are great biking and walking paths that connect all of these features. It's also fameous for the "Juicy Lucy" created at the 5-8 Club, or the "Jucy Lucy" created at Matt's Bar. IF you don't know what a Jucy Lucy is, it's a cheeseburger where the cheese is inside the burger patty. When you bite it, you can expect cheese to run out of the burger. These two establishments both argue about who invented it, but either way, you'll come out a winner. And if cheeseburgers aren't your thing, Eat Street could be. There are so many restaurants that it's hard to count. For starters, there's The Copper Hen, Ichiddo Ramen, Quang, Christos, The Bad Waitress, and more.
Southwest Minneapolis is a portion of south minneapolis that features 9 specific neighborhoods. Linden Hills, East Harriet, Kingfield, Fulton, Lynnhurst, Tangletown, Armatage, Kenny and Windom. Each of these neighborhoods have their own neighborhood organizations. Some notable points of interest in this corner of minneaoplis include:
the building murals in Kingfield, the windy roads of Tangletown, and several unique restaurants such as Red Cow, George & the Dragon, Red Wagon Pizza. Just a fun side note, Tangletown has a water tower that features Guardians of Health.
The Uptown area started with the Lagoon Theater, and became known as the Lagoon area because of this theater. The area was renamed Uptown when the theater burned down in the 1930's and they were redeveloping the area. The area flourished due to it's proximity to downtown and many commercial businesses grew with it.
Today Uptown is known for it's widely popular Uptown Art Fair, many, many restaurants and bars, and specialty shops. Some popular local restaurants include Bryant-Lake Bowl, Milkjam Creamery, Amazing Thailand, Fig and Farro, and so many more.
Downtown is the large commercial core of Minneapolis.
The Foshay Tower was the first "skyscraper" in Minneapolis. This tower was finished in 1929, just before the great depression. Because of the era it was built in, it's a wonderful example of the Art Deco architecture with plenty of details from that period. This one has been added to the National Register of Historic Places so it's preserved for generations to come. You can go on the observation deck and look out over downtown. It is currently a hotel called "The W."
Residential buildings do exist downtown. There are several high-rise condo buildings and some are even skyway-connected to the rest of the downtown buildings. Just on the northwest outskirts of downtown you'll find the North Loop, formerly known as the Warehouse district. North Loop has many innovative and trendy restaurants and breweries.
Also in downtown, you'll find both our football stadium (US Bank Stadium) and our baseball stadium (Target Field), the world-class Gutherie Theater, and much much more.
Phew. And if you made it all the way to the end, you've probably gained some insight to Minneapolis. And as always, contact me if you have questions, or if you are planning a move to Minneapolis or the Twin Cities. Be sure to check out my other videos about the Twin Cities.
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