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Baseball Soon, Parking Now, Lumber Then

Ballpark Site History

June 8, 2006 1:04 AM

New Downtown Minneapolis Public Library

New Downtown Minneapolis Public Library (Source: RP)

If you haven't been to the new downtown library, find a time and just stroll in. Not only is it a magnificent building, but so much information is now at your fingertips which was locked away in the past, and it's very easy to navigate. What's more, the staff is absolutely amazing to work with.

I went in looking for old maps of downtown Minneapolis, specifically the warehouse district. When I said I was researching the ballpark site, the librarian immediately assumed I was referring to Athletic Park (which in the late 1800s was located on the block which currently contains Butler Square)! I explained that, no, I was interested in the new Twins ballpark site just two blocks away. She laughed and said, "Yes, I suppose that's more interesting now."

I should say that I love delving into Minneapolis history. It's been a hobby for many years, and I never miss an opportunity to find out new tidbits. I won't go into all the details of researching something like this, despite the fact that it's pretty easy if you have the time and patience. On this particular day, I did.

1885 Sanborn Map Image

1885 Sanborn Map Image (Source: Sanborn Map Collection, Minneapolis Public Library, Copyright © 2001 by The Sanborn Map Company, Sanborn Library, LLC)

Ultimately, I was eased into an online map database which contains detailed insurance maps from various points in the last 150 years. That's where I found the next image (stadium location shaded blue). It is of the ballpark neighborhood in 1885, and it shows that the most of the area was lumber yards and railroad tracks.

At first, I thought this was essentially uninteresting. Then I looked again at the various names and the one business building located on the actual site (about where left field will likely be one day). It is listed as the Camp & Walker Planing Mill (see detail).

After a little further research, I realized that this was owned by none other than T. B. Walker, one of the very big names in Minneapolis history. He made a fortune in lumber, and was friend to many other big names like railroad tycoon James J. Hill. Walker's family ultimately founded many institutions in the Twin Cities which still bear their name, including the Walker Art Center. Here is Walker's bio from the Minnesota Historical Society which even includes a reference to his partnership with George A. Camp.

It's notable that very nearby was another locally famous name on the Lowry Elevator. Other businesses in the area included the North Star Lumber Company and the Fraser & Shepherd Sash, Door, and Blind Manufacturers. There are also two ponds interrupting 6th Street.

Just to the south (left of the image above) is a large undeveloped area which was not even mapped in 1889. Despite this, it's clear that our new playground will be built in an area that was a hub of commerce in the late 19th century.

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This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.



"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."

– Bernie Williams

Explore the Site

Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.


A walkway begins to form (this is as close as you can get right now)






This is a great spot for casually watching the game.



Left field bench seating



A very early vision for TF's main concourse






The bridge is Seventh Street.



Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)



Grid for the ironwood louvres is in place



Two signs visible from beyond the confines of the ballpark.






I'll admit that this makes me nervous. It's pretty easy to step into the path of a train (which is true at various points along the line, but still...)



Looking from the middle of the third base side back toward the entry door



The field will feel very close.



World Series trophies on display at left






Did you notice the flowers?



Tickets!



Puckett atrium chef stand menu



An alternate route into downtown. (Click to get an interactive map.)



The same section seen from Target Center. Yep, looks like bridge supports.



Just lighted panels... *sigh*



Killebrew taught, "Always make your autograph legible, boys."



Dan Mehls, Mortenson Construction



These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.






Mary Larson (left), a music teacher from Maple Grove, was a TwinsFest SSB winner and got to sing the anthem before the game.






I think AP is in there somewhere...






OK, just how many servings per container?



I didn't check the menu too closely, but it looks like all the standard fare is available, and not much of the non-standard stuff.



First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.



The outline of an infield has appeared on the asphalt in advance of the ground-breaking on Thursday night.









The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!



Detail of the Puckett wall hanging



The dish!



Some of Minneapolis' finest checking out the construction through a spot where a knothole will be one day.



That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.



Outside the Metropolitan Club, photos of all the other major league ballparks



Viewed from a different angle, it seems fair to wonder is some of those seats will have slightly obscured views. Yet, if they're cheap, that's not a problem.



Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)



Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)












Party deck down the right field line



The glare problem.


Glossary

BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

Selected Bibliography - Analysis
 


(1993)
 


First Edition (1992)
 


Second Edition (2006)
 


(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


(1975)
 


Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(2000, large coffee table)
 


Original edition (2000, round)
 


Revised edition (2006, round)
 


(2001, medium coffee table)
 


(2002, small coffee table)
 


(2003, medium coffee table)
 


(2004, very large coffee table)
 


(2006, very large coffee table)
 


Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
 

Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
(2004)
 

Complete Bibliography

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