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Spectacular Vintage Photos Show What Minneapolis Looked Like in the 1930s

In the 1930s, Minneapolis was going through an economic downturn as the nation was facing the Great Depression. Industries were in decline, and the flour mills gradually began to shut down. Business and local industries had developed a national reputation for ethnic and labor conflict. The violent Teamsters Strike of 1934 resulted in laws acknowledging workers’ rights.

Gangsters and mobs ruled the underworld of the city. North Minneapolis was ruled by the Jews gangster led by Isadore Blumenfield also known as Kid Cann. Blumenfield was linked to assassinations, money laundering, and the destruction of the Minneapolis streetcar system, and political bribery.
Here below are some vintage photos of Minneapolis from the 1930s. These stunning historical photos show a whole different Minneapolis from the one we know today and they also offer a glimpse into everyday life. Vote your favorites and don’t forget to share.

If you go more into the past, then check out, what Minneapolis looked like in the early 1900s.

#1 Two men stand behind the bar at Schiek’s Cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota. June 1, 1934.

Two men stand behind the bar at Schiek's Cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota. June 1, 1934.

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#2 Pawnshops and secondhand stores in Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Pawnshops and secondhand stores in Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#3 Rows of chairs at the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota, 1930.

Rows of chairs at the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota, 1930.

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#4 Shriner’s parade inside Coliseum featuring clown and drum from Zuhrah Drum Corps. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930.

Shriner's parade inside Coliseum featuring clown and drum from Zuhrah Drum Corps. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930.

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#5 Men Making Sauerkraut in Minneapolis, 1932.

Men Making Sauerkraut in Minneapolis, 1932.

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#6 Gateway Park, the heart of skid row, Minneapolis, September 1939

Gateway Park, the heart of skid row, Minneapolis, September 1939

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#7 Barber College in Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Barber College in Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#8 Family of trucker waiting while truck is being loaded, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Family of trucker waiting while truck is being loaded, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#9 Picketing, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Picketing, Minneapolis, 1930s.

The strike ended a month later on August 22, 1934.

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#10 Flour mills along the Mississippi River. Minneapolis, 1930s.

Flour mills along the Mississippi River. Minneapolis, 1930s.

Minneapolis is a historic center for the flour milling industry. Flour mills built along the Mississippi River processed and shipped huge volumes of flour in the 1930s.

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#11 Flour mills along the river. Minneapolis, 1930s.

Flour mills along the river. Minneapolis, 1930s.

While most of the original flour mills have been destroyed and demolished, a few of the sites have been preserved in the Mill Ruins historic district.

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#12 404 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1931

404 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1931

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#13 Christmas shoppers crowd Nicollet Avenue at Eighth Street in the 1930s.

Christmas shoppers crowd Nicollet Avenue at Eighth Street in the 1930s.

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#14 The driver and delivery van for Despatch Laundry in Minneapolis, 1937

The driver and delivery van for Despatch Laundry in Minneapolis, 1937

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#15 Job seekers during the Great Depression have put signs on their car expressing their wish to work. Minneapolis, 1930.

Job seekers during the Great Depression have put signs on their car expressing their wish to work. Minneapolis, 1930.

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#16 Beer wagon, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1939

Beer wagon, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1939

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#17 Interlachen club, Minneapolis, 1930.

Interlachen club, Minneapolis, 1930.

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#18 Bootblack’s stand, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1937

Bootblack's stand, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1937

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#19 Postal carrier Albert S. Dilley empties a mailbox on his downtown route. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930.

Postal carrier Albert S. Dilley empties a mailbox on his downtown route. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930.

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#20 Boston Block Department Store, 300 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 27 December 1936

Boston Block Department Store, 300 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 27 December 1936

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#21 Chicago Hotel in Minneapolis, 1920

Chicago Hotel in Minneapolis, 1920

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#22 Christmas decorations at 7th Street and Nicollet Avenue. Dayton department store on left, 1930s

Christmas decorations at 7th Street and Nicollet Avenue. Dayton department store on left, 1930s

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#23 Christmas decorations at Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, 1930s

Christmas decorations at Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#24 Spectators watching a Golf Tournament. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930.

Spectators watching a Golf Tournament. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930.

Bobby Jones putting while Jock Hutchinson watches in the 2nd round of play at the National Open tournament at Interlachen Course.

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#25 Directing traffic the Minneapolis way, 1930s

Directing traffic the Minneapolis way, 1930s

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#26 Students at work in the offices of the ‘Minnesota Daily’, the campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, 1932.

Students at work in the offices of the 'Minnesota Daily', the campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, 1932.

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#27 Fight between teamsters and police, Minneapolis, June 1934

Fight between teamsters and police, Minneapolis, June 1934

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#28 Gas station in Minneapolis, December 1937

Gas station in Minneapolis, December 1937

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#29 Three Dunne brothers work during Labor Strike in Minneapolis, 1934.

Three Dunne brothers work during Labor Strike in Minneapolis, 1934.

(Left to right), Ray, Grant, and Myles Dunne are leading the truck drivers in their strike in Minneapolis. Myles Dunne is Secretary of the Truck Drivers Union.

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#30 Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930.

Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930.

The Gateway District has always been a center of activity in the city, but it looked a whole lot different back then! Although it's still a core historical spot in the city, many of the original buildings were demolished in the 1950s as part of an urban renewal effort.

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#31 Gateway Park, the heart of skid row; Minneapolis, Minnesota, 6 July 1937

Gateway Park, the heart of skid row; Minneapolis, Minnesota, 6 July 1937

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#32 Goodwill store and Mission church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1937

Goodwill store and Mission church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1937

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#33 Coffe shops, cafes and hotels in Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Coffe shops, cafes and hotels in Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#34 Hennepin Avenue at South Tenth Street, Minneapolis, 1934

Hennepin Avenue at South Tenth Street, Minneapolis, 1934

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#35 Hennepin Avenue from Sixth Street looking north, Minneapolis, 1930s

Hennepin Avenue from Sixth Street looking north, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#36 Child who lives on the other side of the tracks, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Child who lives on the other side of the tracks, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#37 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 1930s

Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#38 Horse racing on lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, 1930s

Horse racing on lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#39 Looking up Nicollet from Fourth Street south, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 14 January 1937

Looking up Nicollet from Fourth Street south, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 14 January 1937

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#40 Streetcars in car yard, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Streetcars in car yard, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#41 Miller’s restaurant, 126 Washington Avenue south, Minneapolis, 1930s

Miller's restaurant, 126 Washington Avenue south, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#42 This billboard from 1937 advertises for the Minneapolis Journal newspaper.

This billboard from 1937 advertises for the Minneapolis Journal newspaper.

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#43 Minneapolis Mayor George E. Leach points out a good place to get run down by a car, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

Minneapolis Mayor George E. Leach points out a good place to get run down by a car, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

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#44 Signs in the Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1937.

Signs in the Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1937.

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#45 Minneapolis women lining up to vote for the first time in a presidential election, 1930s

Minneapolis women lining up to vote for the first time in a presidential election, 1930s

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#46 Second Street boardinghouse, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Second Street boardinghouse, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#47 Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

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#48 Tourist camp in winter, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Tourist camp in winter, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Some tourist camps offered room rentals (similar to motels), while others just offered a spot for roadside camping.

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#49 Miss Minnesota over Nicollet Mall, 1938

Miss Minnesota over Nicollet Mall, 1938

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#50 Newspaper row, Fourth Street south near Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

Newspaper row, Fourth Street south near Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

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#51 Orpheum Theater (still very much in use), 910 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 1933

Orpheum Theater (still very much in use), 910 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 1933

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#52 Packing flour at Pillsbury mill, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Packing flour at Pillsbury mill, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Pillsbury Mill was one of the largest in town. Here, an employee manages the packing and filling process.

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#53 Passengers boarding a street car at Hennepin and 9th, Minneapolis, 1930s

Passengers boarding a street car at Hennepin and 9th, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#54 Grain samplers, Minnesota Grain Inspection Department. Minneapolis, 1930s

Grain samplers, Minnesota Grain Inspection Department. Minneapolis, 1930s

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#55 Pawnshop in Gateway District, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 1939

Pawnshop in Gateway District, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 1939

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#56 Grain inspector at state grain inspection deptartment, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Grain inspector at state grain inspection deptartment, Minneapolis, 1930s.

After passing the checks of the grain samplers, grain inspectors took a closer look.

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#57 Pawnshops and secondhand stores, Minneapolis, 1939

Pawnshops and secondhand stores, Minneapolis, 1939

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#58 Minnesota state grain inspection department, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Minnesota state grain inspection department, Minneapolis, 1930s.

As the grain trade is so central to the state's economy, large inspection departments in the Twin Cities worked to ensure that both imported and exported products were of high quality.

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#59 Policeman with boy at Thirty-Sixth Street and Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

Policeman with boy at Thirty-Sixth Street and Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

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#60 Open grain market, Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Open grain market, Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Minneapolis, 1930s.

The Open Grain Market provided a place for farmers to sell their products and for buyers to examine many different options for purchase.

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#61 Sixth and Nicollet in the rain, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

Sixth and Nicollet in the rain, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

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#62 Buyer examining sample of oats at open market, Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Minnesota, 1939.

Buyer examining sample of oats at open market, Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Minnesota, 1939.

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#63 Skid row, Minneapolis, August 1937

Skid row, Minneapolis, August 1937

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#64 Saloon in mill district, Minneapolis, 1939.

Saloon in mill district, Minneapolis, 1939.

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#65 Snowplow owned by Jefferson Transportation Company, Minneapolis, 1930s

Snowplow owned by Jefferson Transportation Company, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#66 Beer wagon, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Beer wagon, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Horse-drawn beer wagons, also a common sight in the late '30s, made deliveries to local businesses.

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#67 South Sixth Street, near Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 1930s

South Sixth Street, near Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#68 Brewery, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Brewery, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Grain Belt Brewery, which was established in 1893, survived the Prohibition years by producing "near-beer" and sodas; however, the brewery has experienced tumultuous business since. The original brewery in Minneapolis was closed and operations were moved to a St. Paul location in 1976.

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#69 Southwest corner of Snelling and University, St. Paul, Minneapolis, 1932

Southwest corner of Snelling and University, St. Paul, Minneapolis, 1932

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#70 Camp for Unemployed women in Minneapolis, 1930s.

Camp for Unemployed women in Minneapolis, 1930s.

Beginning in 1933, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration began opening Camps for Unemployed Women, also called She-She-She Camps, in response to the development of similar programs for men in the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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#71 The heart of downtown, Seventh and Hennepin, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

The heart of downtown, Seventh and Hennepin, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1930s

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#72 Men sitting in the park, Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Men sitting in the park, Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#73 West hotel, Minneapolis, 1930s

West hotel, Minneapolis, 1930s

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#74 Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Gateway District, Minneapolis, 1930s.

The Gateway District was a common retreat for those needing a break from the stress.

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#75 Workers marching through Minneapolis Loop in observance of May Day chanting, 1937

Workers marching through Minneapolis Loop in observance of May Day chanting, 1937

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#76 Playing shuffleboard in the park, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Playing shuffleboard in the park, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#77 A family feeding ducks in park on Saturday afternoon, Minneapolis, 1930s.

A family feeding ducks in park on Saturday afternoon, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#78 Skyline with windmill company in foreground, Minneapolis, 1930s.

Skyline with windmill company in foreground, Minneapolis, 1930s.

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#79 Brawls between the unemployed and the police, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1934.

Brawls between the unemployed and the police, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1934.

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#80 National Guardsmen as they oil and clean machines guns, Minneapolis, 1934.

National Guardsmen as they oil and clean machines guns, Minneapolis, 1934.

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#81 The amateur hockey team from the Flour City Coal and Oil company pose on the ice with their coaches in 1934.

The amateur hockey team from the Flour City Coal and Oil company pose on the ice with their coaches in 1934.

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#82 Police intervene in a clash between striking truckers and the citizen’s army. Minneapolis. Minnesota. May 21st, 1934

Police intervene in a clash between striking truckers and the citizen's army. Minneapolis.  Minnesota. May 21st, 1934

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#83 A truck driver’s strike turns into a riot on May 21, 1934 at the Minneapolis City Market.

A truck driver's strike turns into a riot on May 21, 1934 at the Minneapolis City Market.

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#84 Group portrait of ‘Madame White’ cosmetics sales staff with car and signage for an event at the Capitol Theatre in Minneapolis, 1934.

Group portrait of 'Madame White' cosmetics sales staff with car and signage for an event at the Capitol Theatre in Minneapolis, 1934.

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#85 Kay Palmquist models a trousers suit in downtown Minneapolis, 1935.

Kay Palmquist models a trousers suit in downtown Minneapolis, 1935.

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#86 Students work on a cooking project in a Home Economics class in a Junior High School, 1935.

Students work on a cooking project in a Home Economics class in a Junior High School, 1935.

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#87 Women sew denim overalls in the Lee Work Clothes factory in Minneapolis, 1935.

Women sew denim overalls in the Lee Work Clothes factory in Minneapolis, 1935.

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#88 A group of elderly women work on projects at the Phyllis Wheatley Settlement House in Minneapolis, 1936.

A group of elderly women work on projects at the Phyllis Wheatley Settlement House in Minneapolis, 1936.

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#89 Keller Drug and Delivery Car in Minneapolis, 1936.

Keller Drug and Delivery Car in Minneapolis, 1936.

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#90 Young men and women practice clerical skills in a classroom at the Minnesota Business College in May 1936.

Young men and women practice clerical skills in a classroom at the Minnesota Business College in May 1936.

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#91 A milkman from the Johnson Bros in Minneapolis, 1936.

A milkman from the Johnson Bros in Minneapolis, 1936.

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#92 Unemployed men in the gateway area of Minneapolis, 1939.

Unemployed men in the gateway area of Minneapolis, 1939.

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#93 Freightcars waiting in a train yard in the flour mill district of Minneapolis, 1939.

Freightcars waiting in a train yard in the flour mill district of Minneapolis, 1939.

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#94 78 and 33 rpm records fill the sales bins at a music store in Minneapolis, 1930.

78 and 33 rpm records fill the sales bins at a music store in Minneapolis, 1930.

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3 Comments

  1. Photo date incorrect.

    photo is mid/late 1950’s.

    Albums seen:
    Paul Ford-Bye Bye Blues released 1955
    Stan Kenton-(and his orchestra) released 1948
    Bobby Sherwood-Classics in Jazz released 1952

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Written by Aung Budhh

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