Thomas Lowry's Ghost

Apr 14


This map was published as part of a Minneapolis police survey compiled in 1930 by August Vollmer, who was known as the father of American criminology. As chief of police in Berkeley, California, Vollmer developed systems of record-keeping and training that were adopted throughout the United States.
This diagram shows police liquor raids clustered in the old Gateway neighborhood on the banks of the Mississippi River. This was the heart of the liquor patrol district. Enshrined in the city charter in the 1880s, this ordinance required bars and liquor stores to be concentrated in select parts of town, with the rationale that police could more easily control liquor-fueled crime if all of these types of businesses were in one place.
A constitutional ban on alcohol did little to slow the consumption of liquor in the Minneapolis Gateway. “Drinking  and the sale of alcoholic beverages never really stopped in the Gateway,” historian David Rosheim concluded in his history of the neighborhood. “It probably never even paused.”
After the Volstead Act, Gateway saloons were converted into “soft-drink bars,” which supposedly limited their offerings to sandwiches and soft-drinks. The Salvation Army was the first to open this kind of establishment; it was probably the only one in the neighborhood to limit its patrons to root beer. Most Gateway soft-drink bars made their money from moonshine and prostitution. And they came under the control of local bootleggers, who worked with the police department’s Purity Squad to ensure they could operate without interference. This system of payoffs was described by Paul Ferrell, who described the Minneapolis Gateway of the 1920s in his memoir Michigan Mossback. Ferrell does not paint a flattering view of the Mill City.
Vollmer’s liquor raid map does sheds little light on the actual consumption of alcohol in Prohibition-era Minneapolis. At best, it illuminates which establishments were late on their required payments to the Purity Squad.
The liquor patrol limits were rescinded in 1974, though it is still difficult in Minneapolis to get a liquor license or serve liquor outside of these historic limits.

(image and text via the Historyapolis Project)

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This map was published as part of a Minneapolis police survey compiled in 1930 by August Vollmer, who was known as the father of American criminology. As chief of police in Berkeley, California, Vollmer developed systems of record-keeping and training that were adopted throughout the United States.

This diagram shows police liquor raids clustered in the old Gateway neighborhood on the banks of the Mississippi River. This was the heart of the liquor patrol district. Enshrined in the city charter in the 1880s, this ordinance required bars and liquor stores to be concentrated in select parts of town, with the rationale that police could more easily control liquor-fueled crime if all of these types of businesses were in one place.

A constitutional ban on alcohol did little to slow the consumption of liquor in the Minneapolis Gateway. “Drinking  and the sale of alcoholic beverages never really stopped in the Gateway,” historian David Rosheim concluded in his history of the neighborhood. “It probably never even paused.”

After the Volstead Act, Gateway saloons were converted into “soft-drink bars,” which supposedly limited their offerings to sandwiches and soft-drinks. The Salvation Army was the first to open this kind of establishment; it was probably the only one in the neighborhood to limit its patrons to root beer. Most Gateway soft-drink bars made their money from moonshine and prostitution. And they came under the control of local bootleggers, who worked with the police department’s Purity Squad to ensure they could operate without interference. This system of payoffs was described by Paul Ferrell, who described the Minneapolis Gateway of the 1920s in his memoir Michigan Mossback. Ferrell does not paint a flattering view of the Mill City.

Vollmer’s liquor raid map does sheds little light on the actual consumption of alcohol in Prohibition-era Minneapolis. At best, it illuminates which establishments were late on their required payments to the Purity Squad.

The liquor patrol limits were rescinded in 1974, though it is still difficult in Minneapolis to get a liquor license or serve liquor outside of these historic limits.

(image and text via the Historyapolis Project)

Apr 13

Steeple Jacks at Maurice Rothschild & Company. Nicollet Ave and 4th St,    Minneapolis (ca. 1925)
(image via MHS Visual Resources Database)

Steeple Jacks at Maurice Rothschild & Company. Nicollet Ave and 4th St,    Minneapolis (ca. 1925)

(image via MHS Visual Resources Database)

Federal Reserve Bank and Soo Line Building. 5th St. at Marquette Ave, Minneapolis (1924)
(image via MHS Visual Resources Database)

Federal Reserve Bank and Soo Line Building. 5th St. at Marquette Ave, Minneapolis (1924)

(image via MHS Visual Resources Database)

Apr 12

Advertisement for Lake Street Liquor Store, Minneapolis (ca. 1945)
(image via Minnesota Reflections)

Advertisement for Lake Street Liquor Store, Minneapolis (ca. 1945)

(image via Minnesota Reflections)

Apr 11


When Gail Wittels, 16, 5537 Woodlawn Blvd., shows up for rehearsal of Roosevelt High School Rockettes, she doesn’t put her best foot forward — she puts her game leg forward (right). Out skiing on the season’s multistratous snow, Gail suffered a spiral fracture of her right leg. Consequently, she will be on the sidelines when the dance troupe appears at the school’s talent show next Friday in the school auditorium. She also will miss the spring fashion show April 5, also at the school. The fashion show will be a salute to spring, with students, parents and members of the school staff serving as models. A quartet, the “Teddy Tones,” will present song fashions. Rockettes (above, from left) are Dawn Peterson, 15, 4213 18th Av. S.; Pam Filmore, 16, 3940 17th Av. S.; Kathy Nelson, 17, 3120 Wenonah Place; Mary Keohane, 17, 5156 30th Av. S.; Lynn Scheele, 16, 4252 Nokomis Av.; Joan Johnson, 17, 5429 31st Av. S.; Kay Kwakenat, 16, 5337 Nokomis Av.; Nora Monahan, 17, 4916 Aldrich Av. S.; Diane Franzen, 17, 4104 20th Av. S.; Lani Greenfield, 17, 3916 29th Av. S.; Jacquie Spence, 15, 4933 Nokomis Av.; Mary Jo Kunz, 16, 5256 45th Av. S., and Gail cheerfully resting her weight on her good leg. [Pictured separately were Pam Anderson, 18, 3900 18th Av. S.; Karin Wakefield, 17, 4151 24th Av. S.; Frances Malmsten, 17, 4740 17th Av. S., and Jerilyn Johnson, 18, 3504 43rd Av. S.] 

(Image and text via Star Tribune’s Yesterday’s News blog)

When Gail Wittels, 16, 5537 Woodlawn Blvd., shows up for rehearsal of Roosevelt High School Rockettes, she doesn’t put her best foot forward — she puts her game leg forward (right). Out skiing on the season’s multistratous snow, Gail suffered a spiral fracture of her right leg. Consequently, she will be on the sidelines when the dance troupe appears at the school’s talent show next Friday in the school auditorium. She also will miss the spring fashion show April 5, also at the school. The fashion show will be a salute to spring, with students, parents and members of the school staff serving as models. A quartet, the “Teddy Tones,” will present song fashions. Rockettes (above, from left) are Dawn Peterson, 15, 4213 18th Av. S.; Pam Filmore, 16, 3940 17th Av. S.; Kathy Nelson, 17, 3120 Wenonah Place; Mary Keohane, 17, 5156 30th Av. S.; Lynn Scheele, 16, 4252 Nokomis Av.; Joan Johnson, 17, 5429 31st Av. S.; Kay Kwakenat, 16, 5337 Nokomis Av.; Nora Monahan, 17, 4916 Aldrich Av. S.; Diane Franzen, 17, 4104 20th Av. S.; Lani Greenfield, 17, 3916 29th Av. S.; Jacquie Spence, 15, 4933 Nokomis Av.; Mary Jo Kunz, 16, 5256 45th Av. S., and Gail cheerfully resting her weight on her good leg. [Pictured separately were Pam Anderson, 18, 3900 18th Av. S.; Karin Wakefield, 17, 4151 24th Av. S.; Frances Malmsten, 17, 4740 17th Av. S., and Jerilyn Johnson, 18, 3504 43rd Av. S.] 

(Image and text via Star Tribune’s Yesterday’s News blog)

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Apr 10

Nicollet Mall at 8th St, Minneapolis (ca 1967)
(image via City of Minneapolis)

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Nicollet Mall at 8th St, Minneapolis (ca 1967)

(image via City of Minneapolis)

Apr 09


This watercolor from 1938 shows a proposal to elevate Lake Street as it runs along Lake Calhoun in front of the Calhoun Beach Club. If this plan had been realized, the intersection of Lake Street and Excelsior Boulevard would have become a highway cloverleaf, with high speed entrance and exit ramps.
The city never moved forward on this plan. Lake Street remained a ground level and was slowed by the installation of regular traffic lights. But I’m thinking that this never-realized plan might have still influenced the development of this area. Lake Street drives like a high-speed thruway. And the stretch shown here is one of the most dangerous areas in the city for pedestrians. In recent months, a woman was killed while she was trying to cross the road.
Watercolor from the Minneapolis City Archives, City Hall.

(image and text via The Historyapolis Project)

This watercolor from 1938 shows a proposal to elevate Lake Street as it runs along Lake Calhoun in front of the Calhoun Beach Club. If this plan had been realized, the intersection of Lake Street and Excelsior Boulevard would have become a highway cloverleaf, with high speed entrance and exit ramps.

The city never moved forward on this plan. Lake Street remained a ground level and was slowed by the installation of regular traffic lights. But I’m thinking that this never-realized plan might have still influenced the development of this area. Lake Street drives like a high-speed thruway. And the stretch shown here is one of the most dangerous areas in the city for pedestrians. In recent months, a woman was killed while she was trying to cross the road.

Watercolor from the Minneapolis City Archives, City Hall.

(image and text via The Historyapolis Project)

Apr 08

Carling Hotel and Restaurant. 2911 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis (1932)
(image via Hennepin County Library - Minneapolis Photo Collection)

Carling Hotel and Restaurant. 2911 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis (1932)

(image via Hennepin County Library - Minneapolis Photo Collection)

Apr 07

Office exercises at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, Minneapolis (1921)
(image via MHS Visual Resources Database)

Office exercises at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, Minneapolis (1921)

(image via MHS Visual Resources Database)