Writing, writing, writing. Nothing to write about except writing, and I won’t. But on break today I took a look through some old folders and found Miss America pageant pictures from the 30s and 40s. It’s always interesting to see how standards of beauty change, or how the pool of beautiful women seems to have increased. The big shot from 1941, which tells you nothing . . .


A close-up.



One of these lasses does not appear to be someone you'd see in a pageant today.

Another: fourth from the left was something of a hellion, you suspect.



Here’s 194? - I'm not going to give the name for a reason you'll soon see..



The Midwest:





One of these was the winner. Can you guess?





When I was looking up some details on a department store in Minot I got sucked into one of those small-town history pages, put up by someone who’s doing the job the city and the library never seem to do. I mean, never. Newspapers are just as bad. They have these marvelous storehouses of photographs and historical records, and they don’t do a damned thing with them, for the most part. So it’s up to us.

Behold, one of the largest screens in the nation: the Empire. In Minot. This page has some local memories of its manager, who seems to have been a rather peppery character. This site has some pictures of the interiors, which have that clean modernism so beloved by retro enthusiasts. (I don’t like the term “vintage,” which should be used for wine or old clothing.)



Okay it's rather spare, but add color. and the green of the foliage, and I'll bet it was cool enough. The downstairs lounge was quite homey:



(Pics from this old article.)

It was done by Leibenberg and Kaplan, who did all the great movie theaters around here. A novel design: the theater was in the front, and you entered in the middle, if I understand correctly. The Pride of Minot - and now demolished, of course. The department store I was looking for is gone as well. Take these places away, and downtowns are never the same. As the shot in the Main Streets section will show. Of course, Minot’s hardly dead; I'm sure the outskirts are full of stores, all with a wider varity of goods than Minot ever saw before, with free parking, too. And unlike other cities where the Chili's is across the street from the Target, the Target's across the street from Chili's.

By the way: as long as I've lived in the Twin Cities, I've always lived close to a Leibenberg & Kaplan theater. The Varsity, the Grenada, the Uptown, the Edina. The University of Minnesota has drawings for 2500 projects. It's all online! Oh, just kidding. It's stored away and you ahve to ask to see it in the reading room.

But I'm being cruel. The City of Minneapolis has a site on their theaters. Those pictures, man - they must be 120 pixels wide. At least.

Anyway. As I said, Main Streets. Some cool stuff, I think - enjoy! And I hope you've enjoyed all this as much as I enjoyed writing it.



















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