Most of the Hidden Minneapolis series so far has been within a few blocks of where I live. Finally, it occurred to me that one of the more interesting and yet obscure parts of the city is literally in my back yard.
Here's what I see when I leave my apartment.
The Nicollet-Lake branch of the Wells Fargo Bank
A standard bank in a standard location. But wait! The bank has provided a small green area between the parking lot and the bank building, which is in the center left of the above shot.
Rest area just outside the bank
But, I hear you asking rhetorically, what is that plaque?
For sixty years, this block was Nicollet Park, home to baseball and football, ending the year I was born. (Coincidence?) It was home to the Minneapolis Millers, who had great success here. The Wikipedia entry on Nicollet Park includes a detail of the small picture on the back of the plaque, above.
Minneapolis is The Mill City, or at least we were when Mpls was the highest navigable point of the Mississippi and the falls provided power to grind the grain brought from America's Breadbasket. So naturally the minor league baseball team, through several incarnations was the Millers. Mpls is home to General Mills, and the Wheaties slogan "Breakfast of Champions" was unveiled at the park in 1933.
The Minneapolis Millers who called Nicollet Park "home" included Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Carl Yastrzemski, and were visited by many of the ballplayers of the day.
It's kind of neat to think that Babe Ruth once spit where my apartment is standing now!
The Millers moved to Metropolitan Stadium in 1956 and folded in 1960 when the Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961, bringing major league baseball (and eventually two World Series trophies) to the former backwater city. Their crosstown rivals, the St. Paul Saints, also folded in 1960 but were revived as a minor league team in 1993 and are still playing today. But not here.
Added in 2012 Other photos of Nicollet Park are in the public Facebook gallery 20120228 Hennepin History Museum.