One last glimpse of 425 Portland Avenue

Published March 30, 2015 by Kirsten Delegard


The Star Tribune newsroom left 425 Portland Avenue on the end of the day last Friday. This film captured the scene–more than sixty years ago–when this soon-to-be-demolished building was first unveiled to a curious public. The mood was festive as thousands of Minnesotans stood in line for the opportunity to tour the state-of-the-art newspaper and printing plant downtown. This footage reveals that excited readers encountered a creepy clown on the street outside (was this guy hired by the newspaper to harass visiting Boy Scouts?); a busy newsroom that included a young Barbara Flanagan and a still unknown Carl Rowan (how could they work with thousands of people traipsing through for days?); as well as hundreds of linotype operators and printers. This snippet concludes with scenes from the dedication banquet where publisher John Cowles, Sr. hobnobbed with various dignitaries next to a huge cake replica of the new world headquarters for his growing media empire (I wonder what kind of cake it was?).

Rest in peace, 425 Portland Avenue.

It is unclear to me whether this film, which is from the Minneapolis History Collection at the Central Library, was created in either 1947 or 1949. Thanks to the Special Collections Department at Hennepin County Libraries for sharing this material and librarian Ted Hathaway, who both digitized this film and identified the journalists in the footage.