Historic Photo of the Week: 1965 Assessment of Area

Featured, Hennepin-Lake, History, Lowry Hill District — By on February 18, 2013 6:06 am

This week’s photo of the week is a bit unconventional. It is a photo I took of a 1965 document that identified the assets and problems of the Lowry Hill Community. To be specific, this came out of the Calhoun-Isles Community analysis and Action Recommendations document that was issued by the City Planning Commission and City Council.

The document had a fair amount of text discussing why certain things were problems.

1965 Assessment of Lowry Hill

Click to enlarge


It identified the Mall area as a “primarily an old apartment section in generally good structural condition, despite advanced structural age. In the Housing Condition survey, none of the blocks and only 12% of the structures were rated lower than Class II, but the Class II ratings indicate that some of the structures in all of the Class II blocks need major repairs for improvement. Thus, the apartment setting forecasts an uncertain economic future for the sing and two-family structures scattered among the apartment buildings. Land crowding is off-set to some extent by the Mall, but other environmental conflicts are produced by mixed land uses, heavy traffic, and the minimal nuisances generated by the railroad. No new construction has taken place since 1960, but one relatively new apartment on the northeast shore of Lake Calhoun suggests some interest in private redevelopment of the area.”

Also of note is that the document references the Wayzata Boulevard and Southwest Diagonal freeways near Loring Park and the 28th Street Crosstown freeway near the Mall. Wayzata Boulevard did ultimately get built into I-394 but the other two, thankfully, were not constructed. Southwest Diagonal would have run in the Kenilworth corridor and connect to Highway 7, while the 28th Street Crosstown would have run from Highway 7 to Uptown and then east along 28th Street to a freeway interchange connecting the Hiawatha and Cedar freeways before running east to connect with Highway 280.

It’s an interesting document but like all planning efforts, it uses assumptions of the future based on the expected desires and needs of those living in the future.

Thatcher Imboden

How cities work and change, how they are the product of their inhabitants and outside forces, and the resulting livability keep me thinking and dreaming about the future. I work in transit oriented development and have a background in urban real estate development. I am Past President of an Uptown business organization, grew up in Uptown, was on an Uptown neighborhood association Board, and am an Uptown and Lyn-Lake historian.

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