The destruction of the Metropolitan Building in downtown Minneapolis in the early 1960s has become an icon of the excesses of urban renewal. This film, produced by graduate students at the University of Minnesota in 1961, shows the building and its destruction, tied together with a remarkable original jazz score.
The building, formally known as the Northwestern Guaranty Loan Building, was located at the southwest corner of Third Street and Second Avenue. In his book, Lost Twin Cities, Larry Millett notes:
“The razing of this building in 1961-62 during the height of urban renewal fever was perhaps the most inexcusable act of civic vandalism in the history of Minneapolis. The building was in good condition and almost fully occupied at the time the city condemned it, and it is hard to find anything in the historical record to justify its wanton destruction. Little remains of the building except its ironwork, much of which has been reduced to the status of incongruous yard art, decorating pations, walls, and even motel balconies in the Twin Cities area.”
This past May, the Star Tribune reported on the discovery of granite slabs from the Metropolitan Building found in a scrap yard in Delano. Bring the Metropolitan Back to Minneapolis, a group working with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to raise funds to preserve some of these remains, first posted this video; you can find them on Facebook.