Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane in Hawthorne

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Original photographer unknown. Photos of photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Pat Carney and Jules Inda changed photos into slides for the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council. The photos originally appeared on the Hawthorne Voices blog.

Last summer, Anne McCandless of the Jordan Area Community Council called me up and said, "I've got something that belongs to you," in a rather mysterious tone. Usually, my first question after a statement like that is, "How much is the ransom?"

What Anne had, though, didn't cost me a dime, and really it belongs to the Hawthorne neighborhood. Somehow a poster board with photos taken in 1974 of Broadway Avenue in Hawthorne had made its way into the basement of the Jordan offices. Anne was just returning it to us.

The photo above is the full poster board. Right away I contacted the ubiquitous NoMi photographer Pat Carney. I explained what I wanted done with the photos, which was to have them duplicated in such a way that it would be something of a rolling slideshow that would walk viewers along West Broadway. "Like the background in the Yogi Bear cartoons when he's running away from the park ranger." Pat and Jules either knew what I was talking about or wisely decided to refrain from asking about any medication I might be taking. Their slideshow is here. It takes a longish time to load, so I recommend opening it in another window.

The rest of the pictures are below...

I'm especially interested whatever anyone can share about what the avenue was like then. Were the businesses that were there better or worse for the neighborhood? The design is different thirty-six years ago, but what can we learn from that?

Friedman's may be the only business in these photos that's still around.

Take a look at the price of gas!

Can you name the three things that are missing from this picture of Merwin Drugs? (The correct answers are: a liquor store, a check-cashing outlet, and drug dealing. "Butt fence" will also be accepted.)

Now we get to perhaps my favorite part. This is what the Hawthorn (sic) Crossings strip mall looked like thirty-six years ago. Well, technically it didn't exist yet, except perhaps as a mere twinkle in an incompetent developer's eye.

I'm also wondering if anyone has crime statistics from this era to compare especially this block or so of Broadway to its current condition. It's easy to look at the differences between 1974 and 2010 and say, "Well of COURSE things were better then." But were they really? Inquiring minds want to know.

For now at least, let's enjoy the memories.


Johnny Northside said...

What's kind of fun it so zoom in on the movie theater and see the names of the two movies...

Connie said...

That is SO cool! There used to be an FW Woolworth on Broadway & Emerson, the Native American School on the south side of Broadway used to be a very beautiful First Bank. I was kickin' in those days here.

la_vie_en_rose said...

I love looking at old pictures. These are interesting.

The striped building is what is now Kemps, right? I couldn't make out what the sign said to see what the building used to be. Too bad that theater isn't around anymore, too.

Had to laugh a little at Merwin's. The drugs being sold are a little different these days, certainly.

I'd love to know what my neck of the woods used to look like. I was told by a delivery guy when I first moved in here that the lower part of the building used to be a bicycle shop.

M. Clinton said...

I alway wondered what that strange little white building was that is next to Hong Kong. It was the Broadway Diner. I can't believe that building actually looked so cute at one time. And so sad the Empress Theater is gone. Looks like it got swallowed by a Kemps Expansion. I actually just spoke to someone the other day who used to work at Kemps and he told me that inside Kemps they have very old photos of their buildings on W Broadway going all the way back to when there were horses and wagons.

M. Clinton said...

@ la vie en rose - It was the Clover Leaf Creamery until Kemps bought it out in 1979.

Anonymous said...

These pictures are really fun to see. Somehow, though, the old Broadway doesn't look quite as awsome in them as I had imagined. People always say that Broadway used to be the bomb, but honestly it looks a little sleepy and small town to me - more like East Lake than Hennepin. I think W. Broadway will end up being an even more exciting, big city place as it gets its long-awaited makeover.

Homewood Confidential said...

1974 was hardly the heyday of West Broadway.

It had already been through two decades of decline by the time these photos were taken (e.g., the Empress Theater was showing porn). For even older historical perspective, check out the photo archives of the Minnesota Historical Society:

Link to West Broadway photos at MNHS

Meyer said...

This was an interesting time.
It was near the end of a transition.
From the early to mid 1900's the near Northside North Minneapolis was the only area Jews were allowed to live,and the shops of Jewish merchants lined such streets as Broadway and Glenwood.The Jews set up a system of social networking to help themselves be successful.
It was also one of the few areas that would eventually welcome the "colored". By 1940 it was common to see Jewish boys playing games in the street with their black neighbors. No one locked their doors, the milk man came, life was good
After the wars most Jews moved to the western suburbs and bought their own homes. But financing was not available to people of color to purchase the Jews' vacated affordable homes, and eventually those frustrations erupted into a riot in the middle 1960's (1967). Shops were destroyed and burned and peoples lived upended. Most of the Jewish shops move away, with a few like Friedman's remaining. Several more closed or moved away in the following years leaving many empty storefronts by 1974. The area was now largely African-America, And to support them new social service agencies started popping up. The Beth-El Synagogue on Glenwood and
Penn was converted into what today is NorthPoint. Strong racial tensions on oppression continued into the early 1980's.
Interesting, there are still a couple small pockets of Jews still in North Minneapolis - the holdouts. Although there were several synagogues in North Minneapolis there are none today. Most have been converted into churches, or torn down long ago for redevelopment. Those same socio-economic conditions continue to attract a population to all of North Minneapolis, bringing with it a unique diversity.
The Jewish Community still hold great memories of North Minneapolis, and arrange an annual "Northside" tour.
Developer Stuart Ackerberg, whose family originated from the Northside is working on some developments to revitalize North Minneapolis. It's actually a "Mitzvah" (an act of kindness) to give back to your roots.