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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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.


The big glove will go on that circle. Note the gap between the plaza and the ramp. That's 394 you can see through there.



Trees now line Seventh Street



No offense, TC, but you're pointing exactly the wrong direction if you want people to use the ramp opening to your right...



Work on the pavilion in center.



The Target Center rooftop patio. Hardly glamorous, but a great view of the ballpark.















Ye Olde Tyme Vegetable Cart (and its modern cousin)



Polo Grounds from the south















These two sections are within a few feet of one another.



Just so you have a reference, this is an LD ("low def") scoreboard (inset is what the controller probably looks like).



The visitor's clubhouse at Target Field. (Photo by Javen Swanson)



Remember the pitch heard throughout Twins Territory? What an amazing day that was, April 12, 2010. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)












The rendering which excited a fan base! (Inset is an enlargement of the pictured neon sculpture.)






That's Tony Oliva checking out ballpark construction from the roof of Target Center.



Wood-backed seats viewed through gate 6



Main ticket window area






Twins president Dave St. Peter presents his list of fan suggestions to the Ballpark Authority



Wow! Looking good.



Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.






Train. (What is it about baseball and trains?)



Installation in action (Home Plate Box)



No arches. No brick. No girders. Classic.



Detail of view to the northeast (Source: LP)



Instrument of evil.






This view is from the roof of a warehouse which stood where the A ramp is today. The HERC is now located where the tracks turned north (toward the top).



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



The right field overhang as seen from Seventh Street (with dude)



Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.















The stunning curtains, which skillfully evoke the architecture, keep the atrium from getting too hot in the late afternoon sun, simultaneously hiding the HERC.



This is one complicated streetscape.






These stairs will go up to the centerfield pavilion.


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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