Perfect first day of summer - or last, if you like, because it’s all downhill from here. It’s a column night so I’m a bit tasked, and besides - it was just an ordinary day. From 2019, that is.

The lobby was full of people! That’s what happens when you announce “Free Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream for tenants.”

(That was 11:30. It got thronged by noon.)

There was a guy noodling away at the piano outside.

Had a little story-generation collaboration with my boss, which did, indeed, generate a story.

Saw two old friends at the office; had elevator conversations. As I went down the escalator on my way home I got permission to leave my post from Ishmael, the guardian over at 333, the enemy building; needled him about whether they had free ice cream lately. No, but they’d had free beer. Okay, we’re even.

Cashed a check at the bank, and got the same teller who is always happy to see me every two weeks. There was another teller with no traffic, but she claimed me with a wave.

And it was 90! Everything just went right. And as we know from long experience here, the finer the day, the lesser the Bleat. So it's off to work now, and I leave you with the Thursday mainstays.

So: another account of an internet peregrination, as we go . . .

  How do we get from the here . . . (Minnesota Historical Society photo, btw)

To there?



It’s pretty straightforward this time. I didn’t stray far. It started with this 1896 theater bill.

. . . and this ad.

A competition was held to name this hotel, run by George C. Hyser.

  He was so well known and respected that it was news when he quit the West.

The contest was judged by newspaper editors. What would you choose?

(drumroll) And the winner was . . . .

Now he was in his own place. He’d rehabbed the Beery Building, the paper said; that's the one in the picture above. Five years later he’d move into a new hotel on the corner of Nicollet and 4th.

But it wasn’t built as a hotel. I had no idea. It was the Mackay-Legg building at first, then the Hyser, then the Rogers. I've a site on it, but never knew this.

From what I can tell, the Hyser was absorbed into the Rogers in 1908. A year later, the old Hyser furniture was for sale.

Who could resist buying some hotel sheets?

What became of him then?

The name drops out of the records after 1910, except for a story about his daughter’s marriage, then reappears 19 years later in a story about Zuhrah boosters. Then nothing until 1932, when we have his obit.

  Well, nice to meet you, sir.

At the bottom of one of the old newspaper pieces about Mr. Hyser was a little note about someone who didn't get anything close to the same amount of press as Hyser in the hotelier's heyday.

He’s back!


Well, the inventor of the skyscraper. Poor Leroy. He patented the steel-frame method of building a skyscraper, and no one ever paid him royalties - except for Rufus Rand, the WW1 Aviator who was also the scion of the gas company. When Rufus built his skyscraper - that's the "there" picture at the start , he paid Buffington his due.

The Buffman also built the Boston Block, where he had an office, and, oh, the second state capital. He was a man of great talent - but he’d only have one major work after his return to the city, as far as I can tell, even though the records said he continued to work until his death in 1937.

In an alternate universe, Heyser was much wealthier and hired Buffington to design a 30 story hotel in 1906.











Twelve thousand souls. History: flashpoint for 1960s Civil Rights strife. (It now has a Black mayor and majority-black City Council.) Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crashed nearby.


The Vitrolite is coming off the building on the right, leaving the tell-tale signs of Glue Pox.

It looks as if a neutron bomb hit in '47.

From these shots, everything seems to have fallen apart, and decline seems unstoppable.

What is this, a crime scene? Or are we meant to keep our distance so the beast can die in peace?

Uh-oh: blurry picture c. 2007

And so. It looks as if it once had a second story, doesn’t it?

I said I’d finish painting it when I finished painting it. Now git off my back

Looks like it was scarred by an acid-thrower.

This vacant area is now a rather nice little park.

Except there’s nothing to do and you can’t go there.

Whew: a nicely-done restoration:

That’s some careful, considerate work. Nothing flashy. What mattered most was the clock, and it seems fine.

Another loss; another building defined by its absence.

But next door is another local gem.

How it looked originally, I don’t know; was it painted?

Commercial-style bank, still performing the same functions as the day it was completed.

Nice little town. A round of applause for a place that did it well. But there's more! That's next week.


Now two ways to chip in!

That should hold you until tomorrow. Now go check in. Free TV!




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