When Olson Memorial Highway had pedestrians

Published March 9, 2015 by Kirsten Delegard

Planners and policymaker have recently condemned Floyd Olson Memorial Highway for being hostile to foot traffic and bikers. This photo shows the old Sixth Avenue North on this day in 1936, before it was widened and renamed for the radical governor who died that same year. Much to the chagrin of city officials at that time, the street had a lively pedestrian culture. The Spokesman newspaper compared the street to Beale Street in Memphis or Lennox Avenue in New York. ย “The most famous corner on Sixth Avenue North is the Lyndale Avenue corner where for years the colored people of that section have congregated,” the African-American publication asserted in 1937. This made “a street which was highly reminiscent of parts further south.”

Photo is from the Minneapolis City Archives and shows Lyndale Avenue on March 9, 1936. Text is from Minneapolis Spokesman, September 10, 1937.