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Mapping Prejudice: tracking racially restrictive housing covenants in Minneapolis

Previous Projects

Historic Twin Cities Aerials

From the 1940s through the 1960s, the state of Minnesota commissioned a series of black and white aerial photographs. The original images from this collection pertaining to the seven-county metro area wound up at the Center for Urban and Regional affairs, and were later transferred to the Borchert Map Library where they were digitized

The application was built using these historic photographs from the years 1956 and 1966, combined with contemporary base imagery.

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"Minneapolis is Ruined"

In 1868, two local businessmen began constructing a 2,500 foot tunnel deep below the Mississippi river in the heart of Minneapolis. A year later, the tunnel collapsed. Over the next six years, recurring collapses turned the riverfront into a series of sinkholes that swallowed multiple mills and threatend Minneapolis with economic ruin.

This web map tells the story of the ill-fated Eastman tunnel, one of the largest disasters the city has ever seen.

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"A Practical Guide for the Unpracticed Homosexual"

On August 21, 1970, Hundred Flowers, a radical newspaper from the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, devoted an entire issue to the burgeoning gay rights movement. "1969 was the year of the New Homosexual," the paper proclaimed.

The material was used to construct a visualization of the sites where gay men could, according the the paper, "reasonably expect to meet others of the same orientation."

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Hennepin Avenue: Then and Now

In the early summer of 1970, an employee of Minneapolis city government did a photographic survey of Hennepin Avenue downtown. The goal was to document six blocks of the city's most famous avenue. Developed as a main artery for the nineteenth-century city, Hennepin Avenue was one of the oldest commercial strips in Minneapolis, linking the Mississippi River to the southwestern chain of lakes.

Click bellow to see a host of legendary Minneapolis establishments through the slider I constructed for the Historyapolis Project.

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The Minneapolis Riverfront: An Underground History

A complicated system of buried canals, headraces, and tailrace tunnels honeycomb powered the 19th century milling district in Minneapolis. These networks are the unsung hero of the city's days as the flour capital of the world. Hewed into the soft St. Peter sandstone by pick-axe wielding laborers, these tunnels turned St. Anthony Falls into a municipal power plant.

This web map digs deep into the buried history of the Minneapolis riverfront to show a differnt side of the city.

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Minneapolis: 1958

Orlando Talcott's 1858 map above offers a snapshot of Minneapolis as it began its transformation from farming village to industrial powerhouse. His "Building Map of Minneapolis" shows a city on the rise. Yet the neatly ordered streets and economic boasts populating the map only tell part of the story.

This application attempts to offer a more nuanced take on Minneapolis. By exploring Talcott's map, we can examine the things he chose to omit as well as depict.

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