In 1932 twenty-nine counties from across Minnesota gathered at the Minnesota State Fair grounds to compete for fame and glory. Well, at least glory. The entrants in the “lively” county booth competition were judged on “general scope and quality” and beauty. While Hennepin County didn’t wow the judges, we didn’t go home entirely empty-handed: Hennepin County took third in the Central Section beauty contest, coming in behind Wright and Chisago Counties.
Governor Floyd B. Olson, a Hennepin County native himself, presented the county booth awards to the lucky winners.
Are you thirsty for history? How about for beer history? This week’s featured photograph depicts the local distributor for the La Crosse, Wisconsin-based John Gund Brewing Company.
John Gund was a German immigrant who began his brewing career as an apprentice in Germany. He brought his skills with him to the New World, and started his career in the United States working at breweries first in Iowa, then in Wisconsin. After several decades of working in, owning, and selling, breweries, Gund opened his John Gund Brewing Company in 1880. The company was wildly successful for more than thirty years, weathering such ups and downs as a major La Crosse fire in 1897 and the 1901 death of founder John Gund. In the early 1920s, however, the combination of Prohibition and labor conflicts put the brewery out of business for good.
In 1882, one of Gund’s sons, Henry, founded this distribution center in Minneapolis. Located on Twelfth Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets, this early distribution center is shown here in 1885.
Historic Beer Birthday: John Gund, Brookston Beer Bulletin
“The Best of Partners, the Best of Rivals: Gottlieb Heileman, John Gund, and the Rise of the La Crosse Brewing Industry.” Immigrant Entrepreneurship.com
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.
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.
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!
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.