Lunchtime Tourist

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September 12, 2005 // UPDATED 1:57 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

Newspaper Row

4th Street between Nicollet and Marquette

In honor of Skyway News changing its name to Downtown Journal, let's take a look at Minneapolis' newspaper history. Of course, just like the development of our fair city, it all began in St. Anthony.

When the bustling village of St. Anthony settled along the riverbanks and Hennepin Avenue, the area's first paper premiered in a modest log building. When St. Anthony Express hit the newsstands, the year was 1851 -- seven years before Minnesota became a state. Subscriptions to the weekly paper cost $2 a year. The political paper's masthead proclaimed: "the measures and principles of the Whig party are best calculated to promote prosperity of the country and this territory."

Two years later, the North-western Democrat premiered, then a year later, the Republican. Our first daily paper, the Daily Falls Evening news, began in 1857. (It was printed on a cast-iron Washington hand press, like one at Minnesota Center for Book Arts.) Ten years later, the popular Tribune had a circulation of more than 1,000 copies!

As Minneapolis grew into a large metropolis, newspapers moved, changed publishers and names, and merged with other papers. A city directory from 1885 listed 23 newspapers Downtown with 14 of them on 4th Street between Nicollet and Marquette. "Newspaper Row" was a concentrated area of 19th-century commercial buildings. Stone bases, arched windows, terra cotta ornament and elaborately carved building tops lined the street. Several papers were grouped together in some buildings, with larger papers occupying their own buildings. The Tribune, Saturday Evening Spectator and Minneapolis Journal anchored the street with prominent facades. After the Gateway revitalization, none of them remain. But as you walk along 4th Street, paper clutched under you arm, remember our newspaper heritage that once included 11 dailies, 47 weeklies, and 63 other papers published Downtown.

(Here are names of a few newspapers listed in Minneapolis city directories: Falls Evening News, Plaindealer, State Atlas, Lake District Advocate, Minneapolis Star, Penny Press, Loyal American News, Mississippi Valley Lumberman, Northwestern Miller, The Boxing Blade, American Jewish World, Bernevennen, Echo de L'Ouest, and Svenska Amerikanska Posten.)

LUNCH TIP: Order a burger today at the Little Wagon, 420 S. 4th St., a legendary newspaper hangout.

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