The Museum in the Streets



The Museum in the Streets
The Museum in the Streets:
Lake Street
MITS: Lake Street will create several
bilingual heritage discovery walks
along Lake Street from the Mississippi
River to Lake Calhoun
and share the great stories, events and
people that have influenced the
Lake Street we know today.
MITS: Lake Street
• Each walking tour will:
– have plaques at around 20 individual sites
that will form self-guided walking tours
– be supported by a brochure that will invite
Lake Street communities and visitors alike to
discover Lake Street’s stories at their own
pace, over the course of an afternoon or over
return visits
– be in English and Spanish
MITS: Lake Street: Section Highlights
Wonderland Amusement Park
The Wonderland Amusement Park was built by H.A. Dorsey on 10 acres at East Lake
Street between 31st and 33rd Avenues. The park was a major summer attraction from 1905
until 1911. It had a 120-foot-high electric tower which drew in visitors, and featured a roller
coaster, carousel, miniature train, boat ride, dance pavilion, and a “house of Nonsense.” Its
most popular attraction was the Infantorium, which displayed premature babies being taken
care of in incubators, a common curiosity of the times. More than 70,000 visitors attended
Wonderland on opening day.
Old East Lake Library: 2916 East Lake
The East Lake Branch of the Minneapolis Public Library was one of thirteen
branches established under the leadership of Gratia Countryman, the Chief
Librarian from 1904 to 1936, and played an important role as a neighborhood and
educational center. Designed by Jerome Paul Jackson, also responsible for the
Walker and Seven Corners branches, the East Lake Branch was utilitarian in style.
The East Lake Branch served the community for approximately fifty years, until a
new structure opened in 1976 at 2727 East Lake Street and rebuilt again at that
location in 2007.
El Lago Theater: 3506 East Lake
Construction on the El Lago Theater began in 1927, but the financial constraints of
the Depression delayed the opening until 1933. With exotic façade and Spanish
name (El Lago means “The Lake”), the theater was all about fantasy and escape
from the everyday world. Located a block from the intersection of two streetcar
lines, it easily drew movie-goers. The increasing popularity of television, as well as
the disabling of the streetcar network in the late 1950s, led to the eventual closing of
the El Lago in 1966.
Coliseum Building/Freeman’s
Department Store: 2700 East Lake
Freeman’s Department Store opened in the
Coliseum Building in 1917, it survived until
1975, when the growth of national chains
and suburban shopping malls made the
inner-city Lake Street location less
desirable. At one time East Lake had five
full-sized department stores. The
intersection of the streetcar lines at 27th and
Lake created bustling foot traffic. The
Coliseum Building also housed Podany’s
Office Furniture Warehouse. During the
1970s Roger Podany rented out the
basement of the sprawling building to
musicians. Notable basement tenants during
this period were The Suburbs, The Explodo
Boys, and the rock and blues group Citizen.
Lauritzen Wagon & Blacksmith
Shop: 3012 Minnehaha Ave S
Martinus Nelson built a blacksmith shop at this location in 1888. The
smithy serviced local horses and wagons that kept area dairy farms running.
Christian Lauritzen took over the business in 1898. Lauritzen had
emigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1893. Passage to
Minnesota from Scandinavian countries was often subsidized by James J.
Hill, the builder of the Great Northern Railroad. Hill gave Scandinavian
immigrants free steerage tickets across the Atlantic and boxcar
accommodations from the East Coast to Minnesota to homestead and settle
in the state. Hill wanted to establish settlements where his railroad lines
would be going so the settlers would use his freight and passenger service,
and Scandinavians were anxious to escape the difficulties of Scandinavia
and start anew. Christian Lauritzen built the family home at 3136
Minnehaha in 1909, a nice brick home that is still standing today. The
original blacksmith building stood until the mid-1980s at which time it was
torn down to provide parking for the adjacent building.
Located at the site that began in 1873 as Minneapolis Harvester Works,
Minneapolis Moline produced farm implements that were used all across
Midwestern fields and beyond. The Minneapolis Moline factory visually dominated
the Lake Street landscape, and served an important purpose, both for the
neighborhood and the entire country, during times of need. The factory was a
valuable source of income for the neighborhood’s residents, and during wartime,
the factory produced shells, warheads, and the original jeep was designed here.
Minneapolis Moline was also the site of numerous labor struggles. One strike in
1946, resulted in a demonstration that cut off all Lake Street traffic for 45 minutes,
and shut down the factory for two months. The factory was shuttered in 1972,
laying off 1,200 workers. The site was redeveloped in 1975 as a shopping mall that
houses the first urban Target store in the country.
MITS: Lake Street: Section Highlights
TCRT Lake Street Station Car Yard:
2108 – 2130 East Lake
Twin City Rapid Transit Company system reached its peak ridership in 1922; it
had nearly 530 miles of track and 1021 streetcars. The carhouse or station was at
the center of a trainman’s day. It was a home away from home, a private club of
sorts. If you were a motorman, it was where you reported for work to pull out
your car. If you were a conductor, it was where you got your change supply or
turned in your receipts at the end of the day. Or, it was a place to catch some
sleep between a late-night run and an early pullout the next morning. The system
was dismantled in 1954, and Lake Street Station was demolished and now houses
the Hi-Lake Shopping Center.
Burma Shave: 2019 East Lake
Burma-Shave was introduced in 1925 by the Burma-Vita company, owned by
Clinton Odell. The company's original product was a liniment made of ingredients
described as coming "from the Malay Peninsula and Burma." Demand was sparse,
and the company sought to expand sales by introducing a product with wider
appeal. The result was the famous Burma-Shave advertising sign program, begun
in 1925. Sales took off. At its peak, Burma-Shave was the second-highest selling
brushless shaving cream in the United States. Typically, six consecutive small signs
would be posted along the edge of highways, spaced for sequential reading by
passing motorists. The last sign was almost always the name of the product. The
company began in this non-descript building, then moved to another Minneapolis
location before it was acquired by Phillip Morris and eventually discontinued.
Layman’s Cemetery:
2945 Cedar
Ave S.
Founded in 1853 on land adjacent to the Martin Layman farmstead, it is the
oldest surviving cemetery in Minneapolis and the sole surviving frontier
churchyard-style. It contains the graves of some of the first settlers, many of
whom made major contributions to local history; soldiers and veterans of the
War of 1812, the Dakota Conflict, the Civil War, the Mexican American War,
the Spanish-American War, and World War I; mid to late nineteenth century
European immigrants, early African American citizens and transposed
abolitionists. In 1925, a group organized to save historical Layman’s Cemetery.
This effort is recognized as early, local historic preservation. On June 2, 2002, the
now-named Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery was placed
on the National Register of Historic Places.
Gustavus II Adolphus Hall:
1628 East Lake
The Gustavus II Adolphus Society was founded in 1886 to create a community for
Swedish men. The founding members created a program of debates, lectures,
music, singing and athletics. The motto of the group became “Unity, Equality,
Brotherhood, Progress.” Younger as well as older people joined the society and in
1893 it was officially chartered by the State of Minnesota as a fraternal
organization. In 1924, the Society erected a building at 1628 E. Lake Street. In the
1950s, membership grew as the society reached out to the direct descendants of
Swedish immigrants. The Lake Street building was sold in 1995, destroyed by fire
in 2004 and torn down in 2008.
Ingebretsen’s: 1601 East Lake
In 1921, young Norwegian immigrant Charles
Ingebretsen opened a meat market, named
The Model Market. His meat market served
the predominantly Scandinavian
neighborhoods nearby. As the economy
changed, chain stores developed as
competition for small neighborhood
proprietors. In the 1970s, the owners added a
gift shop and became “Ingebretsen’s
Scandinavian Center.” The Ingebretsen
family’s store reflects larger changes that have
occurred in American culture throughout the
twentieth century. Adapting to changing
desires of consumers, Ingebretsen’s has
become a symbol of the enduring cultural
legacy of Scandinavian Americans in the Twin
The Avalon
1500 East Lake
The Avalon Theater is impressive with its Kasota
stone façade, marble decoration, and Streamline
Moderne styling. The marquee and its lighting add
visual aesthetic. The Avalon’s been a movie theater
since 1909, first with silent films, then showing
“talkies” after 1927. A well-traveled streetcar route
brought many patrons to the movie theater through
the 1950s. However, disabling of the streetcar
system and the increasing popularity of television
led to the decline of the Avalon Theater. In 1957,
the theater changed its service from family fare to Xrated movies. Luckily, in 1985, the X-rated movies
went and the Avalon became the future home of
The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater
who restored it and re-established its prominence on
Lake Street.
Sears, Roebuck & Co.: 2843 Elliot Ave S.
The 1928 Sears, Roebuck & Co. building represents an early phase of the
company’s growth. Sears, Roebuck & Co. revolutionized consuming material
goods. Mail order catalogs brought merchandise to a wider variety of middle-class
customers, ushering in the era of consumer capitalism. Over 800,000 upperMidwest customers ordered from the catalog. Sears chose the location on Lake
Street because of its inexpensive land and availability of parking spaces. Architect
George Nimmons was commissioned to design many Sears’ retail stores and
warehouses including this one. The retail store closed in 1994 for several reasons,
including Sears’ commitment to a location at the Mall of America.
MITS: Lake Street: Section Highlights
West Lake
Josie Wanous Shampoo Bag Company:
126 East Lake
Above the Wanous Drug Store at Stevens Ave and East Lake Street was the
production room for Josie Wanous’s Shampoo Bag , an herbal mixture in a
disposable cloth bag that became internationally known. Today, near the perfume
city of Grasse in France, century-old advertising and sales receipts from the
Wanous Company are on display in the Fragonard perfume museum. Josie
Wanous was the first woman pharmacist in the state and invented dandruff
shampoo in 1903.
Northwestern National Bank:
7 West Lake
Northwestern Bank, a precursor to Wells Fargo, has had a presence at the
intersection of Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue for decades. Prior to 1975, the
bank was located at 7 West Lake. That year saw a massive redevelopment of that
corner, including Northwestern bank building a new building at 3030 Nicollet
Avenue at the site of the former Nicollet Ballpark baseball stadium. A plaque
marking the old home plate still stands on the bank's grounds.
Nicollet Ball Park: 3048 Nicollet Ave
The Nicollet Ball Park opened on this site in
1896 and was home to the minor league
Minneapolis Millers of the Western League
that later became the American Association.
The Millers won nine pennants; the first in
1902. Notable Players include Ted Williams,
who played for the Millers in 1938 and hit 43
homeruns to lead the league, and Willie Mays,
who played only 35 games for the Millers in
1951 before being brought up to the big
leagues by the parent club, the New York
Giants. Wheaties first advertised its slogan
“Breakfast of Champions” at this park in 1933.
Nicollet Ball Park stood at this location from
1896 to 1955, when it was demolished after the
Millers moved to the then new Metropolitan
Stadium in Bloomington.
Schatzlein Saddle:
609 and 413 West Lake
Emil Schatzlein opened his saddle shop at 609 West Lake Street in 1907 – before
streetcars, even before paved streets – when virtually all land south of Lake Street
was farmed by hand and with horse-drawn equipment. Lake Street was the southern
boundary of Minneapolis and was populated with numerous stables and harness
shops and Schatzlein saw a natural business opportunity. The shop was moved to its
current location at 413 West Lake in 1936. Schatzlein continues to be owned and
managed by family members who see business opportunities in today’s market place.
Crowell Block: 2957 Lyndale Ave S.
Early in the development of Minneapolis, the
intersection of Lyndale Ave and Lake Street
became an important retail hub outside of
downtown, largely fueled by the expansion and
electrification of the streetcar system which
allowed people to live further from their jobs
downtown. The Crowell Block at 2957 Lyndale,
built in 1888, is a cornerstone of this
development. Frank Crowell, a local real estate
developer, commissioned the firm of Joralemon
and Ferrin to design the Richardsonian
Romanesque building to serve as commercial
and residential space. It was the first large-scale
development accompanying the expansion of
the streetcar system in southwest Minneapolis,
and helped secure Lyndale and Lake as a
vibrant retail and entertainment node.
Minneapolis Mercantile: 925 West Lake
The Minneapolis Mercantile Company, located on the southeast corner of Lake
Street and Colfax Avenue, offered groceries, meats, and a bakery. The building,
constructed in 1916, housed both the family business as well as many of the family
members themselves in the apartments above the store. Later, the building was
home to Freddie’s Padded Cell, where musical notables such as Peter, Paul, and
Mary; Jack “Big T” Teagarden; Kai Winding; and Peter Nero all played. The folk
trio The Journeymen recorded their “Coming Attraction--Live!” at the Cell in
1962. The album cover enthusiastically described an “on-the-spot recording of an
actual performance in Minneapolis’s famed Padded Cell”. Mohn Electric moved
into the building in 1969 from their first location at Hennepin and Lagoon.
Buzza Building: 1006 West Lake
The Self-Threading Needle Company built 1006 in
1907, and owned it until 1923, when it was
purchased by its namesake Buzza. Buzza was
experiencing tremendous growth and greatly
expanded it, including the three-story section facing
Colfax, a four-story section on the north, and the
six-story tower with “Buzza” on it. The company
began in 1907 specializing in poster production,
then, when that business dried up, turned to the
greeting card market and grew to be the second
largest greeting card company in the nation. Its
fortunes sank during the Great Depression, and
went out of business in 1942, when the federal
government acquired the building for use by the
War Department, the Veterans Administration, and
the Minnesota military district and took on the
nickname “Little Pentagon”. The Minneapolis
Public Schools acquired the building from the
federal government in 1971, and dedicated it as the
Florence M. Lehmann Education Center in 1973.
Old Walker Branch Library:
2901 Hennepin Ave S
When the Walker Branch of the Minneapolis Public Libraries opened in 1911, the
Hennepin/Lake commercial corridor was sparsely developed. T.B. Walker,
President of the Library Board, donated the property situated at the end of the Mall
Boulevard to help establish the importance of libraries in developing communities.
Walker’s donations assisted in expanding the library system and bringing books
closer to people. The opening of the Walker Library coincided with the expansion
of a streetcar line on Lake Street, bringing customers and library patrons to the
area. Minneapolis architect Jerome Paul Jackson chose a Neoclassical design. The
entrance portico, framed by Ionic sandstone columns, masterfully displays BeauxArts characteristics.
Granada Theater: 3022 Hennepin Ave.
Built in 1927, the Granada Theater was named after the town of Granada, Spain, a
center of Moorish learning and culture. Designed by locally prominent architects,
Liebenberg and Kaplan, the theater’s exterior façade had three-bays and a
projecting “Granada” sign with rectangular marquee below. His innovative design
featured stadium seating in an atmospheric theatre giving the illusion that viewers
are seated outdoors in a Spanish courtyard. Renamed the Suburban World Theater
in 1954, renovations in 1966 removed the Granada sign and marquee as well as
remodeled the lobby.
Hove’s/Lund’s: 1450 West Lake
A small grocery store called Hove's opened on Hennepin Avenue just north of
Lake Street in 1918. Russell T. Lund Sr. started out as an employee at Hove's in
1922. He became a partner and purchased land for the new store for $40,000,
knocking down several residential buildings to make way for the new store. The
new store had a parking lot. Lund's store was still under the Hove's name until
1964, when his agreement with Hove's ended.
Cloudman’s Village, aka Eatonville:
southeast bank of Lake Calhoun
Laurence Taliaferra, an agent based at Fort Snelling and friend of the Native
Americans, founded Eatonville on the eastern shore of Lake Calhoun in 1828.
Taliaferro believed the days of hunting, trade and tribal warfare were over and
wished to convert the Dakota to European Agriculture. The village was established
with the support of Dakota leader Cloudman, and was thus also known as
Cloudman’s Village. Not all local Dakota approved of the village, and Eatonville
was established with only 12 families. The village’s population reached 125 and its
residents raised nearly 1,000 bushels of corn. The village was abandoned in 1839
after local Dakota and Chippewa tensions erupted in violence. The land and water
were acquired by Minneapolis parks and recreation in 1886.
Help make Museum in the Streets:
Lake Street a reality:
•Become a financial sponsor
•Become a volunteer community researcher
•Let us know if you have information to share about a site
Please contact:
Joyce Wisdom
Executive Director, Lake Street Council
[email protected]