I drove to Dinkytown today to look at the McDonald’s. It’s closed, and is slated for demolition and replacement by a large housing complex. For those who don’t know, which I imagine is everyone outside of Minneapolis, Dinkytown is a small neighborhood by the U of M. It’s one of three. In the olden times it was for Artists. Stadium Village was for Jocks. The West Bank was for Hippies, and also Business majors. (Hence the constant street brawls.) In recent years Dtwon has been renamed with large housing projects; Stadium Village was remade with enormous housing projects. My wife used to work the latter until they abolished offices.

No tears over the Dinkytown McD's; it is ugly.


It wasn’t always so, though.

I gotcher decline of Western Civ right here, bucko. Look at that shiny little hamburger palace!

It pains me to feel little for Dinkytown these days, considering the role it played. I suppose that’s how it is with all college towns. It was better then! Actually, it was. But that’s another story.

Why did I go to look at a McDonald’s? The paper’s editor asked me to do a column on it. Hey, you say, you’re a columnist, man, you do what you want.

So I did it. I was glad to do it. Had it in my head before I got to the office. Hey, can you write something bittersweet about bygone Minneapolis, with a personal touch?










Seven thousand souls. No one's quite sure where the name came from. Wikipedia:

"Another possible source of the name is the Vandalia colony, a failed attempt to establish a fourteenth colony in part of what is now West Virginia and Kentucky. The Vandalia colony was named in honor of Queen Charlotte, who claimed descent from the Wendish tribe of Obodrites, also called the Vandals.

Another theory put forth is that Vandalia was named by those who located the state capital in the town; according to the story, they mistakenly thought the Vandals were a brave Native American tribe, rather than of Germanic origins."

Eeeeyeah, maybe not.

No reason why I started here. I usually begin at the edge of downtown, and this must have seemed like the border between the old and the new.

Ah, here's the reason. (Remember, I clipped these months ago, forgot all about it, and I’m looking at them now for the first time since I visited.)

She seems a bit small.

“Go ahead, brick ‘em up, no one will ever need a door on this side again.”

The different arches make me wonder if they made an addition. The quoins would bolster that theory, which is mine.

It’s always somehow indecent to see the insides revealed like this.

Losing the corner structures takes the heart of a downtown.

Always nice to see a survivor from his era of architecture, but it’s not the best example.

The side street facade is uncomfortable. Neither fish nor fowl.

“No, the exercise place is down the street. This is the Eeem Cah."



Lots to read in this alley wall. The original sign, the other sign beneath, the hole, the cinderblocks, the paint.

Every ten years, something happened.

I can smell the inside. Can you?

Interesting rehab of the lower floors: you usually don’t associate the 20s or 30s with partial rehabs.

It’s like a hideous alien baring its teeth:

Obvious window rehabbing on the second floor, to ill effect.





Town history: “Prominent merchant and capitalist. Served thirteen terms as member of the board of supervisors of Fayette county, was once president of the board.”

It looks as if they finally admitted the long mistake and brought the windows back to their original condition.

Now apologize to the lower floor.

FOURE? No, Fouke.

He was a Judge, among other things.

he Google cameras sometimes make things look nightmarish and melty.


Looks as if the columns are painted on, doesn’t it?


Tarted up like a Roman temple. Nice!

Reminding you that the town was once more important than it was.


The plain, homely old capitol, still possessed of some dignity and civic gravitas. It wasn’t much, but they built a place where there was nothing, and the names of the founders still speak from the stones.

There you go. A generous helping of Motels awaits.




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