Baseball Soon, Parking Now, Lumber Then
Ballpark Site History
June 8, 2006 1:04 AM
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 (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.
The connection from the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue. You can now see where the little grassy area and franchise history board will be (the triangular area in the foreground).
LRT at the ballpark
Looking out from under Gate 34
A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue
You have to wonder just what happened here. Will it remain forever embedded in cement?
A classic profile on the horizon
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
Final pieces arrive
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
What can you see from up there? Some say not much.
The Northstar station.
A desolate Marquette Ave
On this day, George was handling fruits and veggies right inside gate 34.
The entrance from the service level corridor. (You have to pass the Twins clubhouse door to get there.)
Clyde Doepner's Met Stadium Memorabilia (Source: LP)
Photo by Jeff Ewer
I'm too short to see over that wall. How about a little platform or something?
I took this picture from the Overlook at great personal risk, because everything Thome was hitting was landing out that direction.
Some brick work out in the centerfield pavilion.
No admittance -- yet! Note that you can see the seating bolts which are in place already.
Now from the inside looking at the same area.
This is the LRT path looking from the ballpark site (behind me) toward downtown. The line currently ends about two blocks up this street. This bridge over I-394 is also being partially rebuilt as part of the ballpark project.
Work beneath the scoreboard
This was billed as a diagram of a super-suite. I'm not quite sure just where this (or these) will be located.
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
Not my actual kids!
Stairs down to the sidewalk from the skywalk over Seventh
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
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(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
Book and six ballpark miniatures