Power: An Economical Struggle Or A Cultural Determinate

Marcy-Holmes has gained and lost power over the years. But you could say that would be expected since it is considered the “city’s first neighborhood” (Daily Planet).

The area used to be highly commercialized. It was first involved in the lumber business since Minnesota was still full of trees and the Mississippi River was an access way to free energy for the transportation of logs downstream. However, the lumber slowly slipped away in Minnesota and continued to move west.

The Mississippi River on the other hand could not move west. It was stuck. And it was still supplying free energy, except this time it needed to be harnessed in a different way. In comes Charles Pillsbury who puts Minneapolis, Minnesota on the world wide map.

In 1881, the Pillsbury A-Mill was completed, the largest flour mill in the world at the time. Minneapolis was nicknamed the flour capitol of the world. It brought power to the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood because the mill was within its boundaries and the mill commanded a million dollar industry. Money in this case brought power to the neighborhood since it more brought in more commercial businesses and workers from around the twin cities.

In 2003, the mill officially closed. It is now a ghost, a specter, a monument of what it once was. Many of the other commercial businesses left as well, but at a much earlier date. The neighborhood lost power in this instance; however, I will contend to argue that the neighborhood grew in power. Just in a different way.

Dinkytown started to grow in size and popularity in the 1940’s. Dinkytown is a neighborhood inside the much larger Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. And as some of you may know, Dinkytown is connected to the University of Minnesota, in an unofficial way. A lot of the students live in this area, and of course the normal stereotypical things one would expect to happen in a college setting can and do happen: parties, late nights, cheaper eating establishments, and the frequent police car.

 But, there is generally a different side to the story. The students have started to branch out into other parts of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. More specifically, they have moved closer to the area where the commercial businesses were along the river.

The student body has influenced the culture a lot. Many take part in annual events, like the Earth Day River Clean Up, setting an example for other is the neighborhood to eco-friendly and to take responsibility for the environment (Blanchette, Aimee). They have become leaders to other students and role-models to younger children.

Artists whether they are students or not, have also entered the area fairly recently. In turn, the neighborhood has become a large art scene. The Soap Factory is a place where local artists can display their artwork. Anyway, artists have influenced the culture by making it fuller and more rounded.

So, maybe power is only accomplished through money and position on a political position that grants power. But I argue it can be gained through hard work and determination. The students are most likely poor. Trust me on that, I am a student. And the artists are trying to create something completely original, something that inspires others to do great things.

Marcy-Holmes used to be on top in the Twin City neighborhoods when it was in regard to power. Power that is that comes from wealth. But now, Marcy-Holmes has its power because it is rich. Rich with young minds and active people that are willing to do something that is not completely for themselves. Rich with students active in the community and artists trying to change peoples ideas through artistic expression. However, I can still hear some people saying the almighty dollar is what gives someone, a community power. Then I say what about all the smaller businesses that will rush in and turn the used to be commercial area into a hotspot? Would that not push the economy and the almighty dollar forward?

I guess it is your decision to make.

Blanchette, Aimee. “GREEN NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT; MARCY-HOLMES; Recognition for a neighborhood in bloom.” Star Tribune. February 10, 2007.

Twin Cities Daily Planet. http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/neighborhood/minneapolis/marcy+holmes. Online.



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