Monthly Archives: February 2016

Milling Monday: Moonlight on the Mississippi

Need a reminder that winter in Minnesota isn’t so bad? We’d like to think that this postcard might help a bit. Sure, it gets cold, but with cold can come tremendous beauty.

This postcard, captioned “the Milling District by moonlight, over the ice bound Mississippi, Minneapolis, Minnesota” evokes some of this beauty, as well as the contrasts still sometimes found in our city and county by the river. In the distance the mills work away, smokestakes blowing, lights on. Out on the river there’s not a soul in sight, and while the ice formations are visually stunning, they are also dangerous; a reminder that while people may have tamed portions of the river to build a milling empire on the Mississippi River, Mother Nature was still present.

Printed by the V.O. Hammon Publishing Company of Minneapolis, this postcard dates to the 1910s.

Photo of the Week: Greyhound Station

If you’ve been in downtown Minneapolis recently, say anytime after 1970, you likely recognize this iconic building as the music club First Avenue. From its opening in 1937 until 1968, however, this art deco building, located on the corner of First Avenue and 7th Street, was home to the Northland-Greyhound bus station. The station relocated in 1968, and a year later the building was converted into a music venue. First called the Depot, then Sam’s, the building became First Avenue in 1981, a name it has retained ever since.

The Skinny Cats of Minnesota Politics


It’s an election year, and the collective eye has once again turned to politics. Hennepin History Museum’s collection is filled with campaign materials, including this pin once belonging to a Rudy Boschwitz supporter.

Rudy Boschwitz was born in Germany, moving as a young child to New Rochelle, New York, after Hitler’s rise to power. After law school, a stint in the Army, and six years working in Wisconsin, Boschwitz moved to Minnesota with his wife, Ellen, in 1963. He founded Plywood Minnesota, a home improvement company based in Fridley, and soon had 70 stores located across the Upper Midwest. As his business grew, so, too, did his activity in the Minnesota Republican party. In 1978, he successfully mounted a Senate campaign against Wendell Anderson. He served two terms in the United States Senate, losing his seat to Paul Wellstone in the 1990 election.

What was the “Skinny Cat” referenced on this pin? The DFL argued that Boschwitz’s supporters were wealthy “fat cats;” in response, the Boschwitz campaign created the “Skinny Cat Club,” consisting of individual donors who contributed less than $100. Members of the club received individually numbered pins along with invitations to special events.