bw_Whippet Tank Henn and 9th Feb 10, 1919 web

A whirl through downtown

There was a lot of discussion recently about the militarization of downtown Minneapolis during the recent Super Bowl festivities. In February 1919, the streets of Minneapolis saw a different version of military vehicles. The United States Tank Corps drove this whippet tank, shown here on Hennepin Avenue, around downtown and proved, as the papers reported, it was “as useful in the ways of peace as in war.” The tank’s drivers successfully unstuck a heavy load of coal from Nicollet Mall, dug out lighter vehicles from snow banks, and generally impressed crowds of onlookers by their ability to “whirl around like a rowboat.” The tank was in town for the Northwestern Automotive and Industrial Show.

Image from Hennepin History Museum’s collection. Learn more about the museum and its offerings at hennepinhistory.org or 870-1329.