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A History of Minneapolis: an Overview by Staff at the Hennepin County Library

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Featuring historical photos and items from the collections of the Hennepin County Library, with contemporary photos from the Phototour of Minneapolis by Chris Gregerson.

Central Business District (Part II)

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A unique climate-related addition to the downtown landscape in more recent years was the development of the skyway system. The first all-weather pedestrian skyway was built in 1962, spanning 7th Street South between Marquette and 2nd Avenue. Today more than 50 blocks are connected by these second story walkways. In addition to providing all-season convenience for downtown residents, employees, and visitors, the skyway system connects numerous and varied retail outlets. It is reported that downtown Minneapolis has more retail outlets in a four-block area than any other city in the country.

Skyway across 6th Street from the Dain Tower to the Minnesota Federal Building.
Minneapolis Collection, M1615.

Skyway convenience shop in the Minnesota Federal Building, October 1976.
Municipal Information Library, Slide Collection, MIL1830.

Construction of the Nicollet Mall, 1966. Central Library is on the right.
Municipal Information Library, Slide Collection, MIL1280.

Crowds at a craft fair on Nicollet Mall, July 1974.
Municipal Information Library, Slide Collection, MIL1718.

Also in the 1960s, Nicollet Avenue in the downtown district was converted to Nicollet Mall, a curving, tree-lined pedestrian and transit mall that is closed to automobile traffic. The Mall is accented with fountains and flower beds and hosts a busy farmers' market in the summer. Winter amenities include popular nighttime parades from Thanksgiving through Christmas featuring brightly-lit floats and participants.

Downtown skyline at night with holiday decorations, 1969.
Municipal Information Library, Slide Collection, MIL1433.

IDS Center under construction (August 1971). It remains the city's tallest building.
Municipal Information Library, Slide Collection, MIL0174.

Gaviidae Common shopping center on Nicollet Mall between 6th and 7th Streets, February 2000.
Photo courtesy of Chris Gregerson

Downtown Minneapolis skyline viewed from the University of Minnesota campus, September 2000.
Photo courtesy of Chris Gregerson

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