PAST: This is the roller mill that replaced the millstone in the late 1800’s. It increased milling efficiency, was easy to maintain, and helped Minneapolis dominate the flour market worldwide. Museum labels placed around the roller mill credited the vague buzzwords “industry” and “manufacturing” as the forces leading to Minneapolis’ success. It seemed that city growth depended on specialization and export of a single product.
Present: This is a picture of the Mill City lofts next to the Mill City Museum. Our tour guide discussed the rapid increase in popularity of these lofts, condos and penthouses and current attempts to preserve the history of the area while making way for high-cost high-density living. The private parking sign and constant stream of spandex clad biker men raised many questions about who’s history was valued, preserved, and could be easily and equitably accessed. Why was this area chosen to be preserved over others? What was instead deemed in need of “urban renewal”?
Future: This is Marcus, the owner and founder of Misfit – a coffee cart that frequently parks near the Mill City Museum. Marcus moved to Minneapolis from Milwaukee because of the lax food truck laws, the midwest’s relaxed pace of living, and the atmosphere of “innovation, more liberal thinkers and open-minded people. Just a more forward thinking and fast-changing place [compared to Milwaukee].” After graduating high school he worked in multiple coffee shops before building his own trailer. Now he lives in the Midway neighborhood because of “cost and the location” even though he initially found it “ghetto.” He believes that Minneapolis will experience an influx of entrepreneurs, innovators, and collaborators like himself.