Powers Department Store, 1950s
The above image is of a 1950s Aquatennial parade on Nicollet Avenue. Recently notable as the home of the World Street Kitchen food truck, the former lot that was Powers Department store is being transformed into a new luxury apartment building by Opus Corporation.
S.S. Kresge opened a store at 415 Nicollet Avenue in 1919. It transitioned to a check-out lane service in 1956, a foreshadowing of the company’s later K-Mart stores. By the late 1960s Kresge had abandoned its two downtown stores on Nicollet Mall including one that burned down in 1968 and was replaced by the IDS tower. The Kresge store building at 415 Nicollet Mall was razed in 1976 and replaced by a McDonalds (vacant building next to the parking ramp) which will also be razed for the apartment building.
The S.E. Olson department store opened at 417 Nicollet Avenue in 1893. By 1901 A.J. Powers assumed ownership of the department store and changed the name to Powers Mercantile Company. Donaldson’s, another downtown department store, bought Powers in 1985 and closed the 417 Nicollet Mall store in the fall of 1985. Opus bought the building and it housed the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis campus until 1991. The building was torn down in 1993 for a temporary parking lot (at the time there were rumors of a downtown Target on the site).
This color image is from a Municipal Information Library (the old City Hall library) slide collection we are in the process of digitizing. We’ll be sharing more gems in the future.