Blowing off the dust: Minneapolis lets you browse newly digitized historic photos


It turns out there were some interesting things buried in Minneapolis's dusty old photo archive.

The city set out this summer to dig up historic pictures and digitize them, and now they're online for all to browse on the Minneapolis Archive Flickr page – and the collection is growing, according to a news release.

Many of the photos date back to the 1800s and show Minneapolis as a young and bustling city, long before it sprouted its trademark skyscrapers.

A couple of choice examples below show a busy urban intersection in the early 20th Century, and an early version of the Lowry Avenue Bridge.

For some comparison, here's what the Lowry Avenue Bridge looks like today:

Then the photos take a decidedly unexpected turn – into late 50s fire safety demonstrations that include everything from nuns and clowns to beauty queens, as the Star Tribune points out.

The paper picks the seven "weirdest" from the collection for your browsing convenience.

The digitization project was undertaken by the Minneapolis City Clerk’s Office, which got help from Urban Scholars summer interns, the city says.

They're welcoming viewers to comment on the pictures and share any knowledge they might have in the hopes of adding some "historical context" to the images.

Next Up

Byron Buxton

Alex Colomé wastes Buxton's diving catch, clutch bomb

The Twins' bullpen woes continued in a loss to the A's.

Northern Metals

Firefighters battling large blaze at Northern Metal site in Minneapolis

The fire sent a plume of thick smoke into the skyline.

Screen Shot 2021-04-21 at 12.10.00 PM

Charges: St. Cloud woman maced, fatally stabbed man in alley

A 36-year-old man was pronounced dead at St. Cloud Hospital 32 minutes after the 911 call was made.


Gasthof's building in Northeast Minneapolis is for sale

The restaurant opened in 1992 and has been closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


1 dead in single-vehicle crash in Kandiyohi County

Deaths on Minnesota roads are up approximately 20% from the same point last year.

Irwin Jacobs home

Neighbor sues to block estate from dividing billionaire's Lake Minnetonka property

The estate of Irwin Jacobs wants to build six new homes on the late businessman's property.


In the better burger battle, does Culver's trump In-N-Out?

A website says Culver's is far superior to In-N-Out.

George Floyd mural

Darnella Frazier, who filmed the video of Floyd's arrest, reacts to guilty verdict

Frazier's video challenged the initial narrative of Floyd's arrest presented by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Burnsville police shooting

Man fatally shot by police near I-35W in Burnsville is identified

The suspect killed in the incident is from western Wisconsin.


Minneapolis will use digital billboards to warn drivers of snow emergencies

Here's another tool to help you Minneapolis residents dodge the tow trucks on snow emergency days. The city says it will broadcast the news on digital billboards this year.