Marcy Holmes: Then and Now

The Marcy-Holmes neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota has a rather long history for being in towards the middle of the United States. It all started back in 1680 with Native Americans living in the area, and a man being captured and set free. Eventually, he told stories about the place and of course it became a paradise for adventurers to seek (Marcy Holmes). It is for this reason, it is considered Minneapolis’s “first neighborhood (Daily Planet).”

In the mid 19th century, the area became engrossed in logging businesses due to the natural energy of the Mississippi River (Marcy Holmes), which would come into play again, not only for the Marcy Holmes neighborhood, but for the city of Minneapolis.

 In 1851, the University of Minnesota opened its doors. Many years down the road, the University of Minnesota and Marcy Holmes would develop an intertwined relationship with the students.

In 1881, the natural power of the Mississippi River was harnessed by the Pillsbury A Mill, the largest flour producing mill in the world Minneapolis was soon nicknamed “The Flour Capital of the World” (Star Tribune). For the rest of the 19th century, and much of the 20th century, the area would become overrun with large corporate businesses. Many of these buildings are still standing, but are more or less hollowed out shells and relics of what they once used to be.

 Now, the neighborhood is anew. The old business buildings are still standing, but much has changed throughout this area. Marcy Holmes is now home to Dinkytown, a haven for students and people who frequent the University of Minnesota. It includes housing and businesses customized for the students (

The area next to the Mississippi River has become filled with condos and apartment complexes, and they are filled what many in call “hipsters” [younger, educated, moderately-well paid]. There even a new plan to take the Pillsbury A Mill, a historical landmark, and turn it into affordable housing geared towards artists (Minnesota Daily).

The culture, however, has relatively stayed the same since the mid 19th century. Predominantly white. It changes little from year to year with the new influx of freshmen and the outflow of seniors. Many in the area did say to me earlier today that crime, homelessness, and drunkards have fallen drastically over the past 20 years, which has opened the place up more to a more diverse culture. The area is beautiful with the old buildings, the Mississippi, and the Stone Arch Bridge. A lot of small businesses in the area, and with the neighborhoods long history, have made Marcy Holmes the new place to live, whether you are a student attending the University, a recent graduate starting a new chapter of their life, or settling down for retirement.


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