|Minneapolis Minnesota Overview
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Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota and the county seat of Hennepin County. It adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital and second-largest city. Together they form the core of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the 15th-largest agglomeration in the country (and roughly 65th-largest in the world), with about 3,500,000 residents. In the 2000 census, the city itself had a total population of 382,618, making it the 47th-largest city in the United States. However, in the Census' 2004 estimates, that number had decreased to 373,943, putting it in 49th place, between Honolulu and Colorado Springs. If the two core cities themselves were combined
together in the census, the resulting "city" would rank 18th, just between Memphis, Tennessee and Baltimore, Maryland. People living in Minneapolis are called Minneapolitans.
The name of the city is pronounced with stress on the "A"; the "O" is usually pronounced as a schwa if it is pronounced at all. "Minneapolitan" is pronounced as "Neapolitan" with the addition of the "min" syllable to the beginning of the word.
The city is in the southeast portion of the state and sits along the Mississippi River. There are also 24 small lakes in the city. The abundance of lakes led Charles Hoag, an early settler and Minneapolis's first schoolmaster, to suggest a name derived from minne, the Dakota word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city. Other names considered at the time were Brooklyn and Albion. The early use of "Brooklyn" for the then-village lives on into the 21st century in the names of two suburbs north of Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. The city is also known as the "City of Lakes", a phrase that appears on many municipal
vehicles and properties. The traditional postal abbreviation for the city's name is Mpls., and much old correspondence can still be found dated from "Mpls., Minn." Once the global center of the timber milling industry and then later the grain milling industry, Minneapolis is still often known by the appellation Mill City. The Mill City Museum provides a weatlh of information on this aspect of Minneapolis' industrial past.
The city center is located just south of 45 degrees north latitude. On the south side of Golden Valley Road just east of Wirth Parkway, there is a stone containing a weathered plaque, marking a point on 45th parallel.
Minneapolis is recognized by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network as a world-class city.
Called in the Ojibwe language Gakaabikaang (at the falls), the city grew up around the Saint Anthony Falls, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River and the end of the commercially navigable section of the river until locks were installed in the 1960s. Father Louis Hennepin was the first European to explore the area, giving the falls their name, as well as lending his name to the county in which Minneapolis is located. The nearby Fort Snelling spurred the growth of villages and towns in the area. A lumber mill was built on the falls in 1822 to supply the fort. In the 1840s, settlers were not allowed to stay on land controlled by the military without
special permission, so the first settlement near the falls, St. Anthony, grew on the northeast side of the river, just outside of the fort's jurisdiction.
The first person authorized to live on the river's southwest bank was Colonel John H. Stevens, who operated a ferry service starting around 1850. A few years later, the amount of land controlled by the fort was reduced with an order from U.S. President Millard Fillmore, and free settlement followed. The village of Minneapolis soon sprung up on the southwest bank of the river. The village of St. Anthony was incorporated by the Minnesota Territorial Legislature in 1855, and Minneapolis soon followed in 1856.
The original campus of the University of Minnesota system first appeared near the falls at this time. Today it is a Big Ten university with more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the Twin Cities alone, making it one of the largest campuses in the country.
Minneapolis grew quickly during and after the Civil War and became a city in 1867. Outstripping the growth of its neighbor, the city merged with St. Anthony five years later in 1872. The early growth of the city was directed by the river, which ran to the southeast, and most early streets ran parallel to it to maximize the amount of land that could be used. Later growth of Minneapolis eventually turned to using north-south/east-west streets, so many unique intersections were formed to translate between the two layouts (probably the most famous of these is a site known as Seven Corners, on the eastern periphery of downtown). Some streets, especially many of
the older and more traditionally important ones of the city, like Hennepin Ave. and Nicollet Ave., have both orientations at different points along their roadways.
Following an initial burst of activity in the lumber industry, the city's economy developed around the processing of grain from the Great Plains, which is reflected by the presence of companies such as General Mills and Pillsbury in the city. In its heyday, it was known as the "milling capital of the world." It was the leading producer of grain in the world until 1932. Today, it is still referred to as the mill city. More recently the city has become notable for its medical and financial industries, as well as the largest shopping mall in terms of indoor space in the United States, the Mall of America (actually in Bloomington, a suburb south
of Minneapolis). Minneapolis was the headquarters of Honeywell International Inc.
The 1920s and 1930s were a rather dark period in the city's history, as organized crime and corruption took hold of the region. The most notorious gangster from this time was Kid Cann (real name Isadore Blumenfeld) who ran much of his operation from the city's West Hotel and engaged in bootlegging, racketeering, and prostitution.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the downtown area of Minneapolis went through a major phase of urban renewal, which involved the razing of about 200 buildings across 25 city blocks-roughly 40% of the area. This included the destruction of a slum area known as "Skid Row," but also the destruction of many buildings with notable architecture. One of the most lamented buildings was the Metropolitan Building, known simply as "the Met". Efforts to save the building (which ultimately failed) are credited with jumpstarting a much greater interest in historic preservation in the state of Minnesota.
Minneapolis possesses a climate similar to that of much of the Midwest, with four distinct seasons and a large variation in temperatures over short amounts of time. For example, within March of 1948, the temperature ranged from -27F (-34C) to 70F (21C). As is the norm in the region, winters are cold and snowy, while summers are warm, sometimes hot, and frequently humid. July is the warmest month, with an average high temperature of 83F (28C), and overnight low temperatures averaging 63F (17C). January is the coldest month. High temperatures average 22F (-5C), with low temperatures that average 4F (-15C). The wettest month is June, when most rain falls as
part of thunderstorms. February is the driest month.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Minneapolis was 108F (42C) on July 14, 1936. The coldest temperature ever recorded at the city was -41F (-40.55C), on January 21, 1888. The snowiest winter of record was the winter of 1983-84, when 98.4in (2.50m) of snow fell.
In a 2005 issue of Popular Science the publication determined Minneapolis, MN to be the "Top Tech City" in the United States. Among many factors that determined this ranking, Minneapolis ranked first among U.S. cities in innovative transportation solutions and fourth in energy technology.
Minneapolis claims to have the highest per capita attendance at theater and arts events outside of New York City and Chicago, perhaps boosted by its famously harsh winters. The region is reportedly the third-largest theater market in the country, attracting major performances. The Guthrie Theater is the most famous theater in the city. Minneapolis also supports two Tony Award winning theater companies: the Children's Theatre Company and Theater de la Jeune Lune. In order to help revitalize the downtown and warehouse district areas of Minneapolis, which had declined in the mid to late 20th century, the city purchased and renovated a few theaters on
Hennepin Avenue to create the Hennepin Theatre District, including the State, Orpheum, and Pantages venues.
In 2004 with an attendance of 50,197, Minneapolis's Minnesota Fringe Festival was the largest non-juried performing arts festival in the United States and the third largest Fringe festival in North America. In 2005, the Minnesota Fringe ran 11 days, August 4-14 with 44,630 paid tickets. In 2004, 1,100 artists produced over 800 individual performances and events.
The most extensive museum in the city is the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Modern art is displayed in the Walker Art Center. The Walker includes an outdoor sculpture garden with "Spoonbridge and Cherry," which has become a symbol of the city.