Hiawatha-Minnehaha Corridor

Hiawatha-Minnehaha Corridor (HM2HBH)

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N 44° 56.921', W 93° 14.296'

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The Museum in the Streets: Minneapolis, Minnesota

—27th and Lake: Industry and Transportation Infrastructure —

 Early area survey maps from 1839 show a trail roughly corresponding to present-day Minnehaha Avenue running between Fort Snelling and the Falls of St. Anthony. Following the creation of the Minnesota Territory in 1849, the general alignment of this trail, which followed a slight ridge that had been used by American Indians for many years before the arrival of the Fort, was improved as a territorial road, also called the Fort Snelling Road.

This path's future as an important transportation corridor was further secured in 1865 when the Minneapolis and Cedar Valley Railroad Company, a forerunner to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, (CM&StT) chose this alignment to lay its railroad track between St. Anthony Falls and Mendota.

As the city grew, it built Fort Avenue alongside the rail line to serve the growing industrial corridor, starting at East 22nd Street and Cedar Avenue and extending Fort Avenue as growth took place. By 1914, maps labeled this diagonal street "Hiawatha Avenue."

By 1933, Hiawatha Avenue was designated as a segment of State Highway 55, which extended from Hastings to Tenney, Minnesota, and the crossing

at East Lake Street remained at grade. In 1947, the decision to expand Wold-Chamberlain Field into the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airport added importance to the Hiawatha artery, because it was the most direct—if not complete—connection between downtown and the airport.

The growing movement to build roads that could move increasing numbers of automobiles also drew attention to Hiawatha. By the early 1960s, city and state transportation planners began to plan for Hiawatha Avenue's future as an eight-lane, limited access, high-speed section of the Interstate Highway System. To make way for the new freeway, hundreds of homes were demolished, along with businesses at the intersection of Hiawatha and East Lake Street.

In the 1970s, intense neighborhood opposition to the freeway plan arose, and after years of stalemate and competing proposals, a plan for a four-lane roadway with a light rail transit (LRT) system was approved in the mid-1980s. Final designs for the roadway included a bridge that separated the Hiawatha traffic from Lake Street traffic (opened in 1999), and final designs for the LRT line also included a bridge to separate the line from auto traffic on Lake Street (opened in 2004).

Once the plan for the roadway began moving forward, the City opened the vacant land to redevelopment, building new homes and businesses along the avenue.

Mapas topográficos de 1839 muestran un camino que corresponde aproximadamente al actual Minnehaha Avenue desde Fort Snelling y Falls of St. Anthony. Tras la creación del Minnesota Territory en 1849, la alineación general del camino que seguía una pequeña cresta usada por Indios Americanos por muchos años antes del fuerte, se mejoró como ruta territorial también llamada Fort Snelling Road.

El futuro de este sendero como importante corredor de transporte quedó asegurado cuando en 1865 fue elegido por Minneapolis and Cedar Vally Railroad Company, un precursor de la ferroviaria Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad (CM&StP), para instalar su vía férrea entre St. Anthony Falls y Mendota.

Al crecer la ciudad, se construyó Fort Avenue junto a la vía ferroviaria para servir al cresciente corredor industrial, empezando en East 22nd Street y Cedar Aveue, y extendiendo Fort Avenue cuando se necesitaba. Ya en 1914, los mapas designaban a esta calle como "Hiawatha Avenue."

En 1933 ya se designaba a Hiawatha Avenue como segmento de la Carretera Estatal 55, que se extendía desde Hastings hasta Tenney, Minnesota, y el cruce en East Lake Street se mantenía a nivel. En 1947, la decisión de expandir Wold-Chamberlain Field al Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airport le dio más importancia a la arteria Hiawatha, al ser la conexión más directa y completa entre el centro y el aeropuerto.

La tendencia de construir calles para circular crecientes números de automóviles también llamó atención a Hiawatha. En los 1960, urbanistas empezaron a planear el futuro de Hiawatha como una sección del sistema de autopistas interestatales de ocho vías, acceso limitado, y alta velocidad. Para hacer lugar para la nueva autopista, se demolieron centenares de casas y negocios en la intersección de Hiawatha y East Lake Street.

En los 1970 surgió en el vecindario una oposición intensa al plan, y después de años de estancamiento y distintas propuestas, en los 80 se aprobó un plan para una pista de cuatro vías con sistema de tren ligero (LRT). Diseños finales incluían un puente separado el tránsito de Hiawatha del de Lake Street (abierto en 1999), y diseños finales para la línea LRT también incluían un puente con la misma idea (abierta en 2004).

Una vez puesto el plan en movimiento, la Ciudad abrió el terreno baldío a la reurbanización, contruyendo casas y negocios nuevos por la avenida.

Caption: 1839 map of the Fort Snelling Military Reservation area, hand-copied by Paul R. McLagan from an original map filed in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
Caption: By 1914, intense industrial use existed around the area where Hiawatha Avenue, the CM&StP railroad, Minnehaha Avenue crossed Lake Street and Minnehaha.
Caption: Automobiles waiting on Lake Street for the train to cross, 1938.

This panel is sponsored by the Longfellow Community Council and Hennepin County
Year Placed2012
Placed ByLake Street Council
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 at 11:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 481204 N 4977277
Decimal Degrees44.94868333, -93.23826667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 56.921', W 93° 14.296'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 56' 55.26" N, 93° 14' 17.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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