Best Facebook Page (2013)

Old Minneapolis

On October 18, 1988, the Star Tribune reported that citizens and civic leaders assembled on a notorious stretch of Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis "not to praise Block E, but to condemn it," gathering for a flashy demolition celebration marking the impending destruction of several buildings lining the street. They sang these words to the tune of "Bye Bye Blackbird": "Pack up all your crime and porn/Block of scorn, be reborn/Bye Bye Block E/Moby Dick's is beached at last/Problems vast, now are past/Bye Bye Block E." Many in the city had high hopes for the new Block E project, which they believed could bring in more mainstream commercial business (and fewer shady customers). But those who appreciated Minneapolis's grittier urban side, those who browsed the shelves of Shinders or hobnobbed with the unsavory characters of Moby Dick's, were less enthused. And do they today feel vindicated by the failure of the "new" Block E? Not quite. They're still longing for the days of Old Minneapolis, and nothing embodies this nostalgia better than the Facebook page of the same name, which describes itself as "a place to share photos and memories of pre-October 18th, 1988, Minneapolis." But the photos aren't limited to that well-known shot of old Block E: Brady's Pub, Rifle Sport, McDonald's, Moby Dick's. The collection explores all corners of Minneapolis, from its earliest days to the unfortunate bouts of renewal that did away with the likes of old Block E and the Gateway District, from a snapshot of David Johansen's in-store appearance at Oar Folkjokeopus to one of a homeless woman on Minneapolis's circa-1930s skid row. No one here can stop or aggravate us/No more hard-luck stories will deflate us/Say goodbye to urban blight/Now we'll light up the night/Block E, Bye Bye.


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