Modern era context study

This document tells you about the history of Minneapolis from 1930 to 1975.

What to know

The document focuses on historical subjects and themes that changed the City’s architecture, landscapes, and neighborhoods.

Read the 328-page Modern Era historic context study


Aerial view of downtown minneapolis in the 1950s




In 2019, we received a Legacy Grant to study the modern history of Minneapolis.

We hired a consultant team who:

    • Took photos and researched places related to different themes
    • Wrote the historic context 

Photo: Downtown Minneapolis in the 1950s, courtesy Hennepin County Library's Digital Collections

See MNHS Legacy Grants







Context overview


The context looks at the arc of development in Minneapolis between 1930 and 1975. This period is bounded by two key events.

1930 - Launch of the New Deal

  • Helped boost the economy and create jobs
  • Prompted construction across the country and in Minneapolis.

1975 - End of the Vietnam War

  • Energy costs rose
  • Economic uncertainty slowed development


The document includes information about:

  • Minneapolis at Midcentury: An Introduction
  • The Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II 
  • Business and Industry 
  • Urban Renewal, Interstate Highways, and Historic Preservation 
  • Residential Development
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Arts, Culture and Recreation
  • Minneapolis Modernism: Architecture and Architects 

Contact us

Andrea Burke

Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED)




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415