That's Ike in St. Cloud, courtesy of the MN Historical Society and via Reddit. Would you like to have been there?

Why? I mean, I would, but the reasons I suppose, would vary.

Visually, it's a much more interesting place than modern version.

I don't know why I decided to post this today, except that Thursday is our Urban day, I guess. Also: While doing some research, I came across this: the special section celebrating the dedication of the Nicollet Mall.

It's 1967. Singing teens will roam the mall!

Don't worry, you can drive and park.

The sticking point, as always, was money. Suburban malls: park for free. Downtown malls: you pay.

The bus shelters will keep you warm:

The special section notes the unique light fixtures. I'd forgotten these, but the memory returned in an instant.

No subsequent light fixture said "Nicollet Mall" like these did. They appeared in the ads, kinda-sorta:

Where important looks are ever-present.

A few blocks away: Light it up, boys.

I'd love to see that. Iwonder if they'll ever do it again.

Oh look, it's ghastly hippie shite.

Mad, Mod, Turned on, and other phrases of the drug culture! Which couldn't design any of these machines, or maintain them, because they're hallucinating! Don't walk in front of a bus, now.

The item in the middle - the jumbled slabs - was a strange fountain between 3rd and 4th, I think. It was outside of a parking ramp that also had a Rocky Rococco's pizza. It was interesting, but if you tripped and fell on it, you'd probably get a severe injury.

Anyway, all that stuff is gone, and the latest redesign went for the "Severe Nordic Restraint" style. It was successful. All that exuberance above has been shaved away.


Now, it's Free Museum time. We may actually learn something.


The Apotheosis of Cornelis de Witt, with the Dutch Raid on the Medway in the background, Jan de Baen (copy after), 1667 - 1700

Says the Museum:

Johan de Witt was the grand pensionary of the province of Holland in 1653. This was a stadholderless period in the Republic because Prince William III was still a minor. The accomplished Johan emerged as the actual leader of the civil government, over which the States General, rather than the stadholder, held sway.

This led to considerable tension. One of De Witt’s early successes was in pitting the Republic’s enemies, England and France, against one another. Nevertheless, these two superpowers invaded invaded the Netherlands in 1672. The cry for a stadholder – the prince of Orange was by then of age – gained urgency, which De Witt, understandably, opposed fiercely.

The States General appointed Johan’s brother Cornelis a deputy in the armed forces.

And here he is:

Back to the bio:

In this capacity he took part in the naval battle against England in 1667.

And while the sailors are getting blown to chunks, he's getting wreathed by acrobatic putti.

The battle looks like they're fighting in a city park:

This has to be the ditsiest celebratory muse I've seen in painting:

Anyway. This may have been the highlight of ol' Corny's tenure. Next week our lesson in Dutch history concludes. Horribly.








I don’t know what happened to this place, but it happened, and it happened hard.

As you enter the town, this sign of former prosperity - the rare three-story window with a minor ground-floor rehab (those bricks are not original, I don’t think) and full window-boarding.


A nice little civic structure, on the baroque side of Moderne.

“If you’re arriving to plead a parking ticket, use door #2. If you are paying your utility bill, enter at door #5."

"But they all go to the same room."

"We want to know what you're coming for when we see you enter."

“I’d like to make a withdrawal.”

“Sorry.” (Points to name of institution)

A remarkable lapse of taste on the left side. Covered up and buckaroo’d.

This is the saddest picture upcoming in the Google Street View section, and believe me, it has competition:

She remembers when it was different, I’ll bet.

If not now, Rhen?

It was also Bush furniture. The glue spots mark the place where the metal or vitralite panels were stuck. The modern letters mock the whole thing.

I don’t think you should bother knocking


Old Google view:

And now.


The atomic blast seared the images of the children into the walls:


Kart’s Fashion Center. (Or Kart’s?) At least we know they used to do something with the boarded-up windows.

Okay. It's all depressing. But I've broken this up into two parts. Next week? We'll see what happened to Kart's Kidz.





That'll do; more of bygone America awaits, in some swank restaurant interiors.




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