Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Minneapolis, c. 1978

Living on the fringe of an old warehouse district I found myself surrounded by the ghosts of the past. When the area was built up, in the 1880s, the primary source of moving merchandise within the city was by horsepower. This meant that there were numerous stables in the outlying areas along with modest housing for the teamsters who used horses to draw their wagons. Most of the houses were gone by the mid 70s, lost to redevelopment or highway construction. There were still a number of stables remaining, however. They had all been converted to storage or light industrial use. With their tell-tale hay lofts, it was easy to spot them.

One day a car containing an elderly woman came by the house where I lived. She was on a visit to the neighborhood of her youth. She had her son, who was driving, stop so she could talk to the "young urban pioneers" who now lived in her old haunts. Her house was gone, but she remembered most of the buildings which remained.  She mentioned that the Fire Station (on the next block) was where a large horse barn had once stood. She said that her most vivid memory of childhood was when that barn had caught fire.

She said she could still hear the horses screaming.

A North Fifth Street Story

By Professor Batty


Blogger Jono said...

Even if it were not my barn and my horses I would be traumatized for life. I have a picture of my wife's grandfather driving a team and wagon for Powers in Minneapolis.

Blogger Shoshanah Marohn said...

It's like "The Silence of the Lambs."

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