Future for Former Sheraton-Ritz Site
The Minneapolis Sheraton-Ritz was a hotel located across the street from the Central Library—on the block bounded by Nicollet Mall, Marquette Ave, and 3rd and 4th Streets. It was the first major structure built in Minneapolis after the Gateway District Urban Renewal Project where a large portion of Downtown Minneapolis was condemned and demolished as urban blight. Construction began in 1961 and the hotel opened to the public in 1963. This postcard from our collection shows the hotel in all its glory.
The hotel itself was done in the 1960s modern style with a white marble lobby and chrome metal accents and fixtures. The ground level of the hotel featured a plaza and shopping arcade including a small importer of Scandinavian home furnishings called the International Design Center (now located in Edina). The hotel was featured in several episodes of the 1960s television series Route 66 and counted at least two U.S. presidents, and celebrities Bob Hope, Henry Fonda and Ed Sullivan as guests.
During the mid-1980s the hotel changed hands several times and later operated under the names of the Minneapolis Plaza Hotel and the Minneapolis Ritz. It was closed on July 1, 1988, just 25 years after opening, citing a lack of business. It was demolished in 1990. During the early 1990s a proposal to build a multi-block office development around the site including a 65-story building dubbed “IDS II” circulated but ultimately did not come to be. Instead, the site has been used as storage, temporary event space and parking and remains used as such today.
Earlier this year, Opus Development Company, who own the site, outlined plans for a mixed-use tower topping 30 stories that would combine more than 300 residential units with approximately 500,000 square feet of office space. Read more here. Sounds like the view from Special Collections could look drastically different sometime within the next decade.
Photo by Earl Chambers of Anthony Lane Photography Studio. June 8, 1962 during the construction of the Sheraton-Ritz Hotel and its parking ramp.
This post was researched and written by Special Collections volunteer Nick Steffel.
Summer Walks Across Seward
Join the Seward Walkers for a series of summer evening walks this July. All walks depart from the Matthews Recreation Center front door at 7pm on Wednesdays. If the walk has begun, check at the desk—they’ll tell you which way the group went. All tours are free and open to the public.
Wendesday, July 2: Walk from Matthews to the Mississippi. Learn some significant neighborhood history and meet some neighbors along the way.
Wednesday, July 9: Expert gardener LouAnn Keleher will lead a walk to a few Seward gardens.
Wenesday, July 16: Neighborhood leader Sheldon Mains will lead the group to Seward Commons and include a visit to Urban Farms.
Wednesday, July 23: Well-known architect Bob Mack will lead a walk of buildings that had in the past or have today a religious or spiritual significance. Some buildings have been altered from one purpose to another.
Wednesday, July 30: Park Board Commissioner John Erwin will lead a tour of Seward’s fruit trees.
Photo from the Minneapolis History Collection: West River Road just south of the Franklin Avenue Bridge, circa 1910. Photo by Sweet Studios.
Golden Safari - 50th Anniversary of Hennepin County Library’s Summer Reading Program, 1972
Golden Safari offered a variety of activities, including magic shows, folksinging, story telling, zoo programs, puppet shows and film programs. Mound Library hosted a “Celluloid Safari,” a weekly film program that included, “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” and “Stone Age Americans.”
Hennepin County Library still celebrates summer reading today with a special website and summer reading events.