Monthly Archives: March 2016

Photo of the Week: Street Scene, c. 1925

This street scene, photographed circa 1925, was taken on 6th Street looking towards Nicollet Avenue (now Nicollet Mall) in downtown Minneapolis. Visible at the intersection is the corner of the Donaldson’s Department Store’s famous Glass Block building.

One of the things that struck our eye are the modes of transportation visible in this photograph. We have a new exhibition opening at Hennepin History Museum this week: the Cycling Museum of Minnesota has curated the ever-fascinating High Wheels! exhibition looking at biking in 19th century Minneapolis. This photograph post-dates the high wheels, but if you look closely you’ll see there’s foot, car, streetcar, and yes, bicycle traffic.

A Dog’s Life in Minneapolis, 1896

This 1896 certificate, documenting the legal licensing of a black and white dog named Sport, gives us a glimpse into the lives of Hennepin County dogs 120 years ago.

Highlights from the City’s ordinance:

  • All “dog or animal of the dog kind” required a license; male dogs cost the owner $1 per year, female dogs $3.
  • The City Clerk was to provide owners with a metal dog tag, with costs to be capped at five cents each per tag.
  • The City Clerk transferred money each month to the Police Department Relief Association; they in turn used the funds to operate the city pound.
  • The mayor had the right, following three days of public notice, to mandate that all dogs running at large in the city be muzzled.

When an unfortunate dog did end up at the pound, they had a grace period of at least three days, and pound staff were to be kept with “kind treatment and sufficient food and water for their comfort.”

To learn more about the history of pets in Hennepin County, please visit Hennepin County Wags its Tail: 150 Years of People and their Pets, an exhibition opening March 26.

Photo of the Week: Elmo Apartments, Hopkins

Hopkins, like the rest of the Twin Cities, changed dramatically in the decade following the conclusion of World War II. In addition to the many new single family homes built in this period, the city’s first rental apartments were constructed. The Elmo Park Apartments opened their doors in 1950. Located on the north side of Highway 7, these apartments still stand today, now known as Brentwood Park Townhomes.

Notice the boy on the bicycle on the right, and the tricycles on the sidewalk on the left: signs of the post-war baby boom.


Milling Monday: Palisade Mill Inventory

For today’s Milling Monday post, we’ve pulled an inventory from our Archives. Labeled the Pillsbury-Washburn Flour Mills Company inventory of Palisade Mill, March 1893, the book  is filled with page after page of data. It is a snapshot of one month in history, a glimpse into the operations of a mill, a company, and a city and county that owed much to the rise of the Minnesota flour industry.

The Palisade Mill was built in 1872 by the Leonard Day Company, and was later purchased and expanded by the Washburn-Crosby Company. It was a Pillsbury property at the time of its closing and dismantling in 1932; eight years later, in 1940, the final remnants of the closed mill were destroyed in a fire.

The Palisade Mill may be long gone, but photographs, documents, and other materials from this and the other mills that played such an important role in local history remain at Hennepin History Museum and other local repositories such as the Mill City Museum and Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections.

To access this or other archival materials from Hennepin History Museum’s archival collection, please contact our archivist, Susan Larson-Fleming. Our reading room is open to the public five days per week, and with advance notice we can have your research materials awaiting your arrival.milling ledger

Humphrey for Mayor

If you’ve lived in the Twin Cities for long – or even if you’ve just passed through the MSP airport frequently – you’re likely aware of our local Humphrey connections. Those not originally from here are more likely to associate Hubert H. Humphrey with his position as Vice President of the United States under Lyndon B. Johnson, or with his 1968 presidential run, but here in Hennepin County he also left his mark as, among other things, mayor of Minneapolis.

Humphrey’s first run at mayor, in 1943, proved unsuccessful,  but he regrouped and won the office in 1945. He served as mayor until 1948, at which point he launched his political career into national politics when he successfully ran for a U.S. Senate seat.

This piece of political ephemera documents those Minneapolis mayor days. And what good is any campaign without a song? If you want to sing along but aren’t familiar with that Irish song, “Harrigan, That’s Me!” you can find an online version here.  Warning: it’s a catchy tune (ideal for any campaign, of course), so don’t blame us if you find yourself humming a little H-U-MPH-REY for the rest of the day.

Photo of the Week: Winter in Minnesota

Staff at Hennepin History Museum is split on the snow question. Good? Bad? Well,  at least none of us think it’s ugly – and it’s hard to beat the beauty of t snow-frosted Washburn Fair Oaks Park as seen from inside the windows in the museum’s cozy Fireplace Room. But when winter drags on and we get anxious for warmer temperatures and spring flowers, it can be nice to take a glimpse into the archives to get a reminder that those of living or working in or visiting Hennepin County today are following in long footsteps. Winter here is nothing new. Case in point: these cars, photographed in all their snow-covered glory in 1935. Looks like quite a storm!

Behind-the-Scenes in the Archives

Did you know that Hennepin History Museum is home to vast archives holding materials relating to the history of Hennepin County? We’ll be highlighting materials from the archives on this blog, but these materials are also available for use by the public; while our collection database isn’t (yet) online, we have a physical card catalog available in our reading room, and if you email our archivist, Susan Larson-Fleming, in advance with details about your research project she’ll pull out materials for you in advance (You can reach Susan at

What sorts of things do we hold? A little bit of everything, and a lot of some things. We have tens of thousands of historic photographs of people, places, and events from across the county. Our collection of historic house photographs from Minneapolis gets a lot of use. We have diaries, postcards, menus, yearbooks, cookbooks, calendars, catalogs, scrapbooks, meeting minutes, advertising ephemera, even old train tickets and schedules.

Maintaining archival materials is a little different than what you might do at home. Because our goal is preserve this materials for many generations into the future, we house all materials in acid-free materials (regular cardboard or paper can, over time, can damage archival materials); the boxes you see in this photo are all specially made for archival use. We also catalog each item so that staff and researchers know what is in the collection and where to find it.