Block E is the official designation of this particular patch of downtown Minneapolis. This shot doesn’t show it in its heyday, because I’m not sure it ever had a heyday. It’s perfectly located in the middle of everything; that’s as true today as it was 80 years ago. But the block never had a grand tenant, like the nearby office towers. Its best theater didn’t face Hennepin, but was tucked around the corner facing Seventh. Its largest building was so undistinguished that no one even remembers it was there in the first place. So tearing it down was no big loss. Right?

Perhaps. From the 70s to its death, Block E was skid row. There were worse parts of town, but this one just had so much concentrated sin - bookstores on either end with a brisk trade in skin mags, bars for the serious drunks and rowdy miscreants; a porno theater, a cheap chophouse. Most of downtown Hennepin had become seedy, but this block seemed seedier than most.

So down it came.