Check it out: Minneapolis Riverfront

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November 9, 2009
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
The city’s riverfront has gone through dramatic changes since its early days when the St. Anthony Falls area was first settled.

The falls — the only naturally occurring waterfall on the Mississippi — drew people to the area and powered the city’s sawmills. The falls partially collapsed in 1869, but its hydropower continued to support the city’s flour mills, which thrived until the late 1910s.

After World War I, the flour mill industry started to decline and many of the old mills became abandoned. Now, many of those former mills have new lives as condos, hotels and office spaces.

A new exhibit, “Minneapolis Riverfront: Then and Now,” at the Mill City Museum explores the evolution of the riverfront through historic and contemporary photographs. The photos, taken from 1858 to 2008, document the growth of Minneapolis over the years, the disappearance of the falls and changes in transportation patterns.

The exhibit features several historic photos and more recent shots taken by Jerry Mathiason, who collaborated with architecture writer Larry Millet on his book “Twin Cities Then and Now.”

Matthiason said he attempted to stand in the same locations photographers stood when taking photos in the late 1850s — a practice called rephotography.

“In most cases, the difference is stunning because the St. Anthony Falls area in 1858 was a little bitty frontier town,” he said. “Minneapolis was essentially unsettled.”

When: Nov. 12–March 28, 2010
Mill City Museum,704 S. 2nd St.


Butterball benefit for Open Arms

The Hold Steady, the Brooklyn-based rock band with Twin Cities roots, will perform at Butterball 2009 on Nov. 21 — a bi-annual fundraising event.

The event at the Graves 601 Hotel will benefit Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit that prepares and delivers meals to people living with chronic and progressive diseases like HIV/AIDS and breast cancer.

Butterball organizers said they expect to raise more than $100,000 for the South Minneapolis-based organization.

Butterball founder Dan Buettner said the benefit will likely be one of the best they’ve had.

“In my 20 years of hosting this event, we’ve never had a better partner than Open Arms,” he said. “Of course, they do important work for our community and abroad, but they also have flair for organizing sexy parties where people actually have fun. Don’t expect a sit-down rubber chicken dinner.”

Typically Butterball events have been invite-only, but there will be a limited number of tickets available for the public at Tickets are $110.

There will also be a raffle with prizes. Highlights include a $1,000 gift certificate to R.F. Moeller and a Blue Zone trip to Costa Rica with Buettner, a noted author and explorer who lives in Minneapolis. People can order the $50 raffle tickets by calling 872-1152.

Nov. 21, 7 p.m.–1 a.m.
Graves 601 Hotel, 601 1st Ave. N.


Paul Zerby reads from ‘The Grass’

If you haven’t had a chance to hear Paul Zerby read from his novel, “The Grass,” yet, you have an opportunity on Nov. 10 at the East Lake Street library.

Zerby, a former City Council member, will discuss his book — a fictional account of a man expelled from the University of Minnesota in the 1950s who goes onto serve with the Army in the Korean War.

Like Tom Kelly, the main character in his novel, Zerby was a student at the university in the 1950s and served in the Army during the Korean War.

Zerby said he hopes the book raises awareness about the war, which has been dubbed “The Forgotten War.” He also wants readers to get a sense of how widespread intolerance was during that period. The racism and sexism was much more pervasive.

“I think it’s important to note how far we’ve come,” Zerby said in a recent interview.

Zerby, who practiced law for many years, is working on a second novel about the life of a lawyer. He didn’t disclose many details about the book except to say that it won’t be like a John Grisham novel.

When: Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.
Where: East Lake Street Community Library, 2727 E. Lake St.