Stay in the Loop

Eight Historic Buildings Get New Plaques From The NLNA

Did you know that the Milky Way candy bar was born in what’s now SoHo Lofts? Or that bootleggers and gangsters used to hang out at what’s now Statement Boutique and MartinPatrick3?

The North Loop played a huge role in the growth of Minneapolis from the 1880s to the 1930s, with wholesaling, warehousing and manufacturing here surpassing the revenue of the famous milling industry by 1915.

But while the Mill District has a museum devoted to its rich history amid the ruins of the old mills, the North Loop doesn’t have a museum. Or ruins, for that matter. We actually have our historic buildings still standing, thoroughly remodeled and looking better than ever.

That’s why I spent the past year going through historic records, photo libraries and newspaper archives. I also tracked down historians and family members with ties to these places. It helped me pull together the stories of what was happening a century ago in these old buildings that now have homes, offices, restaurants, shops and other businesses inside them.

Scan the code for more info

The eight signs we installed today include photos and information plus a QR code in the upper right corner that will lead you to even more information in the Historic North Loop section of this website. And in some cases, you’ll find videos there with some of the interviews I recorded.

The first round of signs went to:

SoHo Lofts, 718 N Washington Avenue

Tower Lofts, 700 N Washington Avenue

Loose-Wiles office building, 701 N Washington Avenue

NOLO’s Kitchen, 515 N Washington Avenue

Kildall Building (Crisp & Green, Floyd’s, etc) 424 N Washington Avenue

Colonial Warehouse, 212 3rd Avenue North

Ford Center, 409 5th Avenue North

Gurley Lofts, 254 9th Avenue North

As soon as exterior renovations are complete at TractorWorks, 800 North Washington and 918 Lofts, 918 North 3rd Street, we have signs ready to install there. We’re also awaiting approval for signs on the Creamette Building, 420 North 1st Street, and The Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art 250 North 3rd Avenue.

I expect to have at least six more signs ready to install in October.

Special thanks to fellow board member, Scott Woller, who helped design the signs, create QR codes and get everything printed at a price that the North Loop Neighborhood Association could afford. And former board member Mark Huting, whose idea for North Loop history signs launched this project.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop Neighborhood Association