Taking stock of four decades Downtown

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September 13, 2010 // UPDATED 9:25 am - September 13, 2010
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

As we go about our busy days, darting out for errands at Target or catching friends at happy hour at the Local, it’s easy to take for granted all of the things we have in this city.

Imagine our skyline without the IDS or Nicollet Mall without Peavey Plaza. That was the case in 1970.

It’s been fascinating to review 40 years of changes Downtown for this special anniversary issue. Just as our skyline has undergone dramatic changes since 1970, this paper has as well. The first Skyway News came out March 10, 1970. Flipping through the pages is like tuning into an episode of “Mad Men.” Women featured in the paper in its early days were often photographed in bathing suits, even during the winter months. The early Skyway News editions also featured a “Miss Skyway” to “recognize the more feminine aspects of the [skyway] system.”

One of the more famous women to be dubbed a “Ms. Skyway” is Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She was featured in the paper in 1988.

Local businessman Sam Kaufman created the Skyway News. “This new publication will be designed to serve an important economic market — the thousands of people who are tenants, employees and visitors in the buildings connected by skyways and tunnels in the Minneapolis downtown area,” he wrote.

The Skyway News went through ownership changes over the years and was eventually acquired by its current publishers Janis Hall and Terry Gahan, co-owners of Minnesota Premier Publications. The first Skyway News published by Hall and Gahan came out Sept. 10, 2001 — one day before the horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

In a letter to readers, Hall wrote: “The new Skyway News will include articles and information that help people who live and work Downtown enjoy the many activities there — and cope with the challenges.”

In 2005, the paper changed its name to the Downtown Journal, better identifying it with its sibling publication, the Southwest Journal — an award-winning community newspaper that celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

In the 20th anniversary issue of the Skyway News, the paper declared that it was “in its infancy in the 1970s, went through adolescence in the 1980s and entered young adulthood in the 1990s.”

The paper, then called “Skyway,” said it was “poised to become smarter, more attractive and in better shape than ever before.”

Well, we’re middle aged now, but spunky and spry as ever — and much less sexist than we were when we embarked on this journalistic adventure in 1970. Anyway, isn’t 40 the new 30?

Plus, we’re the same age as First Avenue. In our humble opinion, the club is looking hipper and hotter than ever before.

It’s an honor to be editor of this newspaper and member of the Downtown community. I’m lucky to work with a great team of people here at Minnesota Premier Publications.

I invite you to join us for two special events to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We’ll be at the Crystal Court in the IDS, 80 S. 8th St., for a party on Tuesday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then on Thursday, Sept. 14, we’ll have a table outside the Gap in the IDS on Nicollet Mall.

Hope to see you there!

Sarah McKenzie edits the Southwest and Downtown Journals. She lives in the North Loop neighborhood.