Skid Row Minneapolis

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat., and Sun. from April 7-July 4
Time Varies
Free with museum admission
Art, Literary, Museums
Minneapolis was once home to the largest skid row in the Midwest. Farmers, lumberjacks, railroad workers, and vagrants convened in the Gateway District in the late 1950s and early '60s to get drunk, fight, and crash in flophouses. Sociologists studied the men who lived there, church mission workers tried to "save" them, but ultimately the city of Minneapolis demolished over 20 blocks of the area in an attempt to clean up its image. Star Tribune reporter James Eli Shiffer documents the demise of this colorful and controversial neighborhood in the new book King of Skid Row: John Bacich and the Twilight Years of Old Minneapolis, launching at the Mill City Museum on Thursday night. Shiffer conducted in-depth interviews with Bacich (a.k.a. Johnny Rex), owner of the bygone Victor Hotel, Rex Liquors, and the Sourdough Bar. Bacich's tales and photographs, as well as newspaper and archival research, recreate the stomping grounds of approximately 3,000 troubled drifters who were displaced when Minneapolis moved forward with its urban renewal project in the '60s. Mill City Museum will be exhibiting images from this era as well for its latest exhibition, "Skid Row Minneapolis." There will be an opening reception, talk, and film screening from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 7.