Get Lost in a Guided Photo Tour of 1907 Minneapolis

Get Lost in a Guided Photo Tour of 1907 Minneapolis

You've heard the saying "a picture's worth a thousand words." A recently published panorama of historic Minneapolis photographs gives us a visually verbose account of an iconic Midwestern city over a century ago.

Historic photography is a treasure trove for the curious-minded. This image provides not only a glimpse into times past, but can serve as an entertaining escape. That tour is especially appealing to those who subscribe to the "I was born in the wrong century" trope. I admit to falling for that sentiment.There’s something about the simplicity of times past that draws us in.

Pan around this image; you'll be intrigued by the clickable footnotes. This rooftop panorama from 1907 has been digitally stitched together from a series of 8 x 10 large-format view cameras. It offers incredible resolution for its time. Buildings are shown en masse, but zooming in reveals surprising detail: a man riding his bicycle, parked horse-and-carriages, and even people milling about on foot.

Historical voyeurism can take on a modern form, too. Download the Google Earth app and walk around the streets of a country you've never visited. Virtually exploring an area unknown to you reveals the power and potential of photography.

What's your favorite historical photograph? If the image is in the public domain, please share it in the comment section below.

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6 Comments

Keith Mullin's picture

This is my hometown. Looks a lot different now, though a lot of these old buildings remain, they are a lot harder to find because of newer, taller buildings. It's also interesting to see how the use of the land/buildings has changed in over a century. Some of the industrial buildings and areas are now some of the best urban parks you can find anywhere.

Michael Holst's picture

I work in the North Loop area and provides some great urban photography spots though looking back at old photos of the city makes me wonder how much better it could be if more building had been saved.

Lee Christiansen's picture

This is why street photography is so important. We need quality records of life now, so that in many years to come, people will be able to look on and wonder.

Thousands of pictures are taken by camera phones, but few of these will ever survive and fewer will offer real insights into how we live our lives.

I shudder when people say we are invading privacy in public places, because if we are banned from documenting life today, future generations will miss on the very things we marvel at - a chance to glimpse into the past.

It's why I love doing street work. I feel that I'm recording history. It's why I love looking at these old images and am grateful someone took the time photographing to share it with me.

Rod Kestel's picture

Isn't that wonderful, well worth a look at the panorama vesion. See if you can spot the Kodak sign. What does it says?

Kodak is somewhere

Michael Holst's picture

I get sad when I see images from Minneapolis in the old days. The city has made a lot of changes that have killed a lot of the classic beauty and architecture. Gateway park (I think that's what it was called) was a great monument park that was torn down to build a parking lot. Thankfully St. Paul has kept many of its old buildings and parks.