Sunday, January 5, 2014

Old North Minneapolis and Historypin

Top photo, Lowry Bridge 1958; bottom photo West Broadway Bridge, 1978.

In the fall of 2013, a new Facebook group started up called "Old North Minneapolis."  Its administrators tend to focus most of the content on items north of Lowry Avenue, since that's their part of the community.  But the page contains a wealth of photos from across the northside.  Over Christmas break, I downloaded ninety-five photos from the page, and there have been perhaps two dozen more added since then.

My goal is to get every picture that's posted on that page--and eventually the Camden Community Historical Society FB group as well, although there's some overlap of pictures--posted on Historypin

For the uninitiated, Historypin is a website and smartphone app that allows old pictures to be layered on Google street view.  Once the picture is "pinned," then anyone with the Historypin smartphone app can stand in front of the physical location of the photo and see, through the camera view of their phone, what was there years ago superimposed over what is there today.  Long-term, I would love to see this app used to coordinate historic walking tours throughout north Minneapolis.  But in order to do that, photos need to be pinned on the site.

And in order to pin a photo, I need three things:  a physical street address where the picture was taken (sometimes problematic if the actual address no longer exists; when a bunch of properties have been torn down and been combined in to one parcel, for instance, then photos can be jumbled together), a year when the photo was taken (and since that's not always clear from the picture or someone's personal knowledge, it's often guesswork based on cars and clothing), and the man-hours needed to layer the photo on the site.  The last item is the most important.  It can take 5-10 minutes to do one picture, which is not too burdensome unless you've got a few hundred pictures to wade through.

But if a few members of these pages made a habit of pinning a photo when the post to Facebook, then we could make our communal history far more accessible.


  1. Come on, Jeff. Blog something for us. Put that big smart head of yours in the game. We need you.

  2. Today, I took a ride to the old neighborhoods I lived in. What a shame how trashy they look. Now I know why I moved away from the Northside back in 1968. I saw the handwriting on the wall. Some say its the sign of the times, but our city fathers are also to blame for letting the area go to hell.

  3. Does anyone have info. about a neighbor of mine (Urbinack) that died (1950's?) when he was helping to build either the Broadway Bridge or the Lowry Bridge. I think I spelled the last name wrong though :(


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