Friday, May 07, 2010


1146 North Fifth Street, Minneapolis, 1978

A special place, one of those hidden oases which sometimes exist near the center of the city. In the late 70's this particular lot had been overlooked in the city's redevelopment plans, along with a handful of other rundown properties on Minneapolis's near north side. This back yard, as humble as it was, received a lot of use- parties, playgrounds, or just as a place to relax with friends.

The land behind the lot had been taken for a freeway ramp which wouldn't be built for several years. There once was a school behind the fence which, along with the church it was associated with, had also been taken for the freeway. This property was scheduled to go as well, but a mysterious last minute reprieve kept it in private hands for another dozen years.

When the property was finally taken for new development, one of the legal terms used in determining its fair market value was "highest and best use." The lawyers were speaking of monetary value. The rosy glow of nostalgia (pictured here augmented by Photoshop effects) is sometimes over stated, but not always inaccurate. This was a good place, a place of good happenings, lived in by good people. The highest and best use of any land, methinks.

By Professor Batty


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