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Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places

Jack El-Hai
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Lost Minnesota
    Book Description:

    Jack El-Hai’s Lost Minnesota is the first book to tell the stories of buildings and landmarks from rural and small-town Minnesota, as well as those of the residential and suburban areas of the state’s largest cities. Lost Minnesota presents eighty-nine beautifully illustrated stories about these fascinating places and those who built them, lived in them, and tore them down. This is a book sure to delight the Minnesota history enthusiast and anyone who is curious about the state’s changing urban, small-town, and rural landscapes._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9119-7
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

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  1. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xviii)

    I DID NOT SET OUT TO BECOME A CHRONICLER of lost Minnesota properties. The opportunity arrived unexpectedly in 1990, when the editor ofArchitecture Minnesotamagazine called and asked if I would be interested in taking over its well-established “Lost Minnesota” column. I hesitated. What is the value, I wondered, in trying to grasp the vanished dreams of architects, poking in the rubble of discarded buildings, and resurrecting places that most people had forgotten or never known?

    The editor suggested that I start with Rockledge, the house formerly perched on the bluffs of the Mississippi River near Winona and designed...

    (pp. 1-64)

    THE NATION WAS IN THE MIDST of a severe housing shortage in 1946 when Roy Rasmussen, a Marine Corps veteran, spotted a section of a B-29 bomber airplane sitting in a scrap metal yard in Omaha Nebraska. Along with his wife, Evelyn, and two-year-old son, Roy Jr., Rasmussen needed an affortable place to live while he was taking classes at the University of Minnesota, so he bought the 20-foot-long hunk for $130 and towed it up to Minneapolis. Over the next several weeks, Rasmussen fixed up the fuselage—formerly the portion of the airplane that housed the crew and radio...

  3. ST. PAUL
    (pp. 65-96)

    MANY MINNESOTANS BELIEVE that two Minneapolis skyways built in 1962 to connect the Northstar Center with the old Northwestern National Bank Building and the Roanoke Building were the first such pedestrian walkways in the Twin Cities. But another skyway, this one much more simply designed, had spanned a major street in downtown St. Paul for the previous six years.

    The area around Robert and Eighth Streets (now Seventh Place) had long been one of St. Paul’s busiest pedestrian stomping grounds. And for good reason: a pair of the city’s biggest department stores, the Golden Rule and the Emporium, faced each...

    (pp. 97-110)

    DURING THE FINAL DECADES of the nineteenth century, the biggest businesses in Chaska, then a mostly German settlement, were brick making and brewing. At least three breweries vented the fragrance of hops and barley over the Carver County town at this time—and one beer-making building remained standing longer than the rest. Founded in 1866 by Christian Jung and Peter Iltis, this brewery was located a few blocks from the town’s main business district and had several different names and owners through the turn of the century.

    In 1906, however, a German immigrant named Fred Beyrer bought the brewery. For...

    (pp. 111-126)

    DULUTH’S INCLINE RAILWAY CUT A SWATH through the city. Running 2,971 feet from Superior Street al Seventh Avenue West to the 509-foot-high Skyline Drive, the railway served as the most visible and famous piece of Duluth’s streetcar system.

    Samuel Diescher, a Pittsburgh engineer, created the Incline Railway’s original design. Cars 27 tons apiece, pulled by steam-driven steel cables, rode the rails on two tracks. The total cost system of the was $400,000.

    Soon after Incline Railway’s maiden voyage on December 2,1891, traveling the tracks became a popular activity in Duluth. The completion of a large pavilion at Skyline Drive in...

    (pp. 127-152)

    DURING ITS 107 YEARS, Glencoe’s American Hotel underwent an evolution in clientele unique among Minnesota lodging houses and probably unparalleled in the history of the United States. It began as a hostelry for railroad patrons and commercial travelers and ended as a residence for chickens.

    The American Hotel was built in 1881 by James C. Edson, a New York–born Civil War army colonel who long served the Glencoe area as a lawyer and judge. It replaced an earlier Edson hotel that had been destroyed by fire. Using lumber from Red Wing, workers raised the new hotel in ten weeks...

    (pp. 153-200)

    FROM THE TIME THAT THE MINNESOTA CENTRAL RAILROAD built the first tracks to Farmington in 1855 until the middle of the 1860s, the town had no railway depot. The first station manager sold tickets from the top of a lumber heap. Finally, a proper depot was erected, but it burned down in a fire that destroyed much of Farmington in 1879. Fifteen years later, with the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad now owning the tracks, a new depot rose a block from the center of the town’s commercial district.

    Several features distinguished the building, which housed both passenger...