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Archive for August, 2010

Metropolitan Building Demolition Video

Monday, August 30th, 2010


The destruction of the Metropolitan Building in downtown Minneapolis in the early 1960s has become an icon of the excesses of urban renewal. This film, produced by graduate students at the University of Minnesota in 1961, shows the building and its destruction, tied together with a remarkable original jazz score.

The building, formally known as the Northwestern Guaranty Loan Building, was located at the southwest corner of Third Street and Second Avenue. In his book, Lost Twin Cities, Larry Millett notes:

“The razing of this building in 1961-62 during the height of urban renewal fever was perhaps the most inexcusable act of civic vandalism in the history of Minneapolis. The building was in good condition and almost fully occupied at the time the city condemned it, and it is hard to find anything in the historical record to justify its wanton destruction. Little remains of the building except its ironwork, much of which has been reduced to the status of incongruous yard art, decorating pations, walls, and even motel balconies in the Twin Cities area.”

This past May, the Star Tribune reported on the discovery of granite slabs from the Metropolitan Building found in a scrap yard in Delano. Bring the Metropolitan Back to Minneapolis, a group working with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to raise funds to preserve some of these remains, first posted this video; you can find them on Facebook.

Eyes on the Fair

Friday, August 27th, 2010

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The food, the animals, the hats, the people, the food, the rides, THE FAIR!

Minnesota’s annual summer ritual is in full swing. Want to see something new? Before you go, sharpen your eye by looking at Susan Miller’s State Fair: The Great Minnesota Get-Together, full of fresh and funny images from all across the grounds. Can’t get there this year? Her book will take you on a whirlwind virtual tour, with joyous juxtapositions of the best of the best.

Come visit the MHS Press at the State Fair on September 5th at Carousel Park for Minnesota History Day!

International Cold Climate Wine Competition

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

phpFn56PXThis is the second year for the International Cold Climate Wine Competition, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Grape Growers Association, the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota State Fair.

It’s the only wine competition for cold-hardy grape cultivars.

The ICCWC website offers a preview: “There will be 32 different competition categories, including Native Grape, French & American Hybrids, Sparkling, Specialty & Fortified, Non-Grape, and 100% Cold Hardy Grape wines.”

Winners will be announced at the state fair on August 26 at the Minnesota Grape Growers Association exhibit in the Ag-Hort-Bee building.

For more information on local wineries, check out Wineries of Wisconsin and Minnesota by Patricia Monaghan.

Wing Young Huie–Best Public Artist

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

The University Avenue ProjectPhotographer Wing Young Huie was named Best Public Artist in Minnesota Monthly’s Best of the Cities 2010 list. The magazine notes:

“The Minneapolis photographer’s six-mile-long “University Avenue Project” is the most ambitious public-art exhibition in Minnesota since, well, his last one, the seminal “Lake Street Project.” In fact, Huie has taken things even further this time, not only papering the corridor with massive images of neighborhood residents but also hosting monthly cabarets with local performers, transforming an entire section of the city into an outdoor art space.”

Look for The University Avenue Project Volume 2 in bookstores next month. This forthcoming book features images of people experiencing the exhibit and events at the Project(ion) Site, as well as an introductory essay by art historian, critic, and curator Patricia Briggs about Huie’s creation of “relational art experiences.” Huie also shares stories about people’s reactions to the exhibit and how he communicated and interacted with the people he photographed.

The next University Avenue Project cabaret is this Saturday, August 28. Check out the great musical lineup!

Summer Getaway

Friday, August 20th, 2010

The Historic St. Croix Valley

It’s the heart of summer, and high time to get out and enjoy it! Take a drive to the scenic St. Croix Valley tomorrow afternoon and explore this popular day trip destination with new information in hand: Deborah Morse-Kahn’s The Historic St. Croix Valley: A Guided Tour. Packed with details on communities along a 130-mile stretch from Prescott to the Wild River, this handy guide offers information on modern-day attractions and a window into this region’s storied past. The Stillwater Tour features 31 sites and an introduction offering helpful tips on navigating the town’s busy streets.



While you’re in the neighborhood, stop at Valley Bookseller in Stillwater at 2:00 pm, where Deborah Morse-Kahn will be signing. Can’t make it tomorrow? Watch for her at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis on October 5 at 7:30.

Photographer Layne Kennedy on the Changing BWCAW

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

php9i7MBnLayne Kennedy, a photographer and MHS Press author, has a new book coming out with writer Greg Breining this November titled Paddle North: Canoeing the Boundary Waters-Quetico Wilderness.

Canoe Time

Friday, August 13th, 2010

The new movie starring Julia Roberts, Eat, Pray, Love (based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert), promotes the idea of travel as a vehicle for self-examination and for soul replenishment; in this case by visiting faraway places (all of them, keeping with the theme of self-awareness, beginning with the letter “I”).

BWCA-Quetico MapWhile I’d love to travel to Italy, and India, and Indonesia, I do aim to canoe in the Boundary Waters every year. This August I’ll spend a few days on the Lady Lakes Route, near the Kawishiwi. Luckily for me, the BWCA is only a half-day away. Six hours ’til paradise, I like to say. The paradisal setting, however, is only part of the getaway. For me, the Boundary Waters is host to both a renewed sense of camaraderie (with the earth, with my paddling partners) as well as solitude and self-reflection. It is one of the most beautiful natural places in the world, and as Ann Bancroft writes in her introduction to the 75th Anniversary Edition of Canoeing with the Cree, by Eric Sevareid (MHS Press, 2004), “The wilderness experience positions the great questions we face in life within the context of our utter smallness. Only our acceptance, our willingness to go where we are small and where we need to respect the power and objectivity of nature, makes it possible for us to experience a hero’s journey.”

Each year I pull out Sevareid’s travel odyssey, his book Canoeing with the Cree, and each year I am inspired by his and fellow paddler Walter Port’s experiences and personal chronicles. As I put together my own canoe packing list and food plan, I marvel at their simple food list:


  • one small ham
  • side of bacon
  • pound of tea
  • two pounds sugar
  • half-pound salt
  • ten pounds rice
  • peanut butter
  • pound of flour for frying fish
  • bread
  • three pounds raisins
  • three pounds prunes
  • potatoes
  • several cans of beans
  • supply of uncooked beans
  • several cans of prepared soups
  • sweet chocolate


MHS Press Canoeing with the CreeSixteen ingredients for a 2,250-mile voyage from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay!

The MHS Press offers a wide range of books of interest to canoeists: over a dozen titles, ranging from Keeper of the Wild: The Life of Ernest Oberholtzer by Joe Paddock to the forthcoming, full-color BWCA book, Paddle North: Canoeing the Boundary Waters-Quetico Wilderness by Layne Kennedy and Greg Breining (available in November).

Summer and early fall in Minnesota is perfect canoe time. Hope you get out there yourself while summer is winding down. The lakes and rivers are a-callin’.

~Pam McClanahan, director, MHS Press/Borealis Books

Climb the Back Stairs of the James J. Hill House in 90 Seconds

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

James J. Hill HouseNeed a history fix? Head over to the Legacy Act-funded for bite-sized audio clips co-sponsored by MHS, like this one on the James J. Hill House.

If you would like more information on the Hill House or the other architectural wonders of Summit Avenue, check out Larry Millett’s book AIA Guide to St. Paul’s Summit Avenue & Hill District or visit the Hill House itself for the Nooks and Crannies Tour.

Three Recipes to Maintain Your Cool

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Beer Margarita at Hell's Kitchen

Beer Margarita

3/4 cup frozen limeade
3/4 cup Summit Extra Pale Ale
3/4 cup tequila
Fresh lime wedges

Place limeade, ale, and tequila in a blender and top with ice cubes. Blend well and pour mixture into 4 margarita glasses. Garnish with lime wedges.

From Damn Good Food: 157 Recipes from Hell’s Kitchen by Mitch Omer and Ann Bauer

Hibiscus-Pineapple Iced Tea

3 bags hibiscus tea
Ice cubes
6 cups pineapple juice, fresh if possible, divided
Fresh pineapple wedges, strawberries, or mint for garnish

To prepare tea, bring 3 cups water to boil. Pour over tea bags and brew until very red in color. Cool to room temperature. Just before serving, place ice cubes in 6 tall glasses. Pour 1 cup pineapple juice into each glass. Very slowly add 1/2 cup tea to each glass, tilting the glass to minimize blending tea with pineapple juice so that there are layers of color. Garnish with fresh pineapple, strawberries, or mint. Serve immediately.

From Come One, Come All: Easy Entertaining with Seasonal Menus  by Lee Svitak Dean

7-Up Party Punch

1 pint lemon or orange sherbet
6 (8-ounce) bottles of 7-Up

Put sherbet in a large punch bowl. Pour the 7-Up over it and stir gently.

From Potluck Paradise: Favorite Fare from Church & Community Cookbooks by Rae Katherine Eighmey and Debbie Miller

Kevin Morrissey, friend and colleague

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Kevin MorrisseyWe were saddened to learn that Kevin Morrissey, MHS Press marketing manager from 1999 to 2004, died last week at age 52. Well-read, witty, and imaginative, Kevin was a key player in the Press’s significant growth spurt during those years. He knew bookselling inside out. He learned the backlist in a flash, then transformed our marketing office—overseeing a warehouse move, hiring sales reps, rolling out the Borealis imprint, and using his extensive connections to take our books into new venues. Kevin was a thoughtful reader and an imaginative publisher who always asked good questions as we shaped projects together.

He cultivated an air of curmudgeonliness, but he had a beautiful smile and a kind heart. He was great fun to talk to about all the best subjects: politics, food (his descriptions of the sherbets he invented were especially inspiring), music, and of course books (but when did he read? he was always working). He was an outfielder and sometime-pitcher on the Society’s softball team, the Rhodent Scholars.

Kevin left the Press to become managing editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review. Please follow this link to a University of Virginia article about his passing.

Ann Regan, Editor in Chief