Suburban World: The Norling Photos

Model home explosions, children dancing in Scottish kilts, men playing baseball on donkeys, murder-suicide aftermaths, linoleum, and America Legion parades. Life in Bloomington, Minnesota, during the 1950s and '60s runs the full gamut of the human experience. For years the Norling family made a hobby of capturing it. Using a police scanner for tip-offs, Irwin Norling, his wife June, and their three kids would often beat the press—and sometimes even the police—to gruesome crime scenes, where they would click away. The Norlings, led by father Irwin, captured the grisly as often as they captured the mundane, and though they would provide pics to police, lawyers, and local papers, their motivation mostly derived from the sheer love of posterity. Their prolific documentation of all things Bloomington was almost forgotten and lost to seldom-glanced-at archives, but fortunately, journalist Brad Zellar happened upon this hidden trove of suburban life in 2002 on a random trip to the Bloomington Historical Society. These smatterings of restaurant openings, head-on bridge collisions, and school dedication ceremonies have been reprinted in Zellar's new book, Suburban World: The Norling Photos, and selected images will be displayed at the Minnesota History Center's Library through mid-June. Opening reception 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1.
April 1-June 15, 2008

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