Cecil Burdick Jr.'s Twin Cities photo journey circa 1971

During a 10-week trip, Cecil Burdick Jr. explored a pre-skyline Twin Cities, camera in tow.

During a 10-week trip, Cecil Burdick Jr. explored a pre-skyline Twin Cities, camera in tow.

In 1971, Cecil Burdick Jr. was an electronics technician working for the Federal Aviation Administration. The Air Force vet and red-blooded Texan’s job was maintaining the radars and communication systems that “made it safe for people to fly,” he says.

Growing up, Burdick’s father was always shooting family videos on an 8 mm movie camera, and Burdick inherited Cecil Sr.’s love of film and photography. That fall, Burdick left his Houston home for a 10-week training trip to the Twin Cities. With his wife and kids back home, Burdick spent six hours a day learning the ins and outs of a Univac computer that could fill half a room. Without familial obligations, he was free to explore the cities in his down time, which included watching his beloved Dallas Cowboys play the Vikings in the old Met Stadium.

“Just a great place to visit,” the 80-year-old recalls in a Southern drawl. “Of course every place I went, I said, ‘Y’all got an accent.’ They said, ‘We got an accent?’”

During his urban outings and country drives, Burdick often kept his camera at the ready, documenting his northern excursion. Until a few years ago, the Minnesota slides sat in boxes packed with others capturing 20-plus years of family events and life moments. The Burdick photo gene was passed on to Cecil’s son, Josh, an on-the-side wedding photographer who had the slides scanned and touched up five years ago.

Having once dated a woman from St. Paul, Josh is no stranger to the Twin Cities either. Many of the landmarks his father photographed 30-some years earlier — from the State Capitol to a lonely, unfinished IDS Center — looked familiar from his many Twin Cities trips in the mid-aughts.

“I look at some of these … and he takes pictures of the same shit that I do,” Josh laughs.


From a trip to Minnehaha Falls, Burdick might know more about Hiawatha and Minnehaha than some Twin Citians. And despite a dearth of hot dish pics, he hasn’t forgotten the food.

“I enjoyed Minneapolis-St. Paul, enjoyed the cooking you have up there — the smorgasbords and this sort of thing,” Burdick says. “You still have that, right? At the boarding house where I was staying, there was a big, Swiss-type gal that had blond hair. My gosh, she could cook.”

For more of Burdick's photos, scroll down and check out Josh's website here.