Intersection of Chicago Avenue and Lake Street, Minneapolis

Black and white photograph of the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Lake Street, Minneapolis, 1956.


This image shows the intersection of Lake Street and Chicago at the beginning of 1956. Note the Rialto Theater—which would later become a magnet for anti-pornography protesters—on the left. A photojournalist took this image soon after the city had rebuilt the street to better accommodate automobiles. Lake Street was repaved, widened, and illuminated with state-of-the art florescent fixtures in an effort to make it into what was known at the time as a "Great White Way." These efforts helped to make the street into the center for automobile culture in the region. Dotted by gas stations and drive-ins, the street boasted seventy-four automobile dealers. It also became a magnet for drag racers. These changes to the street's built environment made it inhospitable to pedestrians and weakened the social economy of the street. Businesses left the street en masse in the early 1960s, setting the stage for the Alexander brothers, who were able to profit from these plummeting property values. This photograph was taken on January 9, 1956, by the Minneapolis Star Journal.

Holding Location

Minnesota Historical Society

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