Recent Essays

Takings Map
Who was Displaced and Where did they go?
Residents who lived along the path of 35W in South Minneapolis lost their homes, were displaced from their neighborhoods, and had their lives interrupted, or…
Atlas Moving
Fair Compensation?
People were furious about losing their homes to make way for the construction of 35W. In this essay, I discuss what angered them the most.…
Environmental Justice
Alongside the promise of speed and mobility the construction of Interstate 35W came with a series of unexpected environmental consequences. As the machines building the…


Upcoming Events

A Public History of 35W: New Research

Wednesday, November 18, 6:30-7:45PM CDT

“The opportunity to compete for housing of one’s free choice is crucial both to equality and to freedom, for no one can be said to be truly free unless he is free to choose where he will live.” – Carl L. Wecheke, President of Minnesota’s NAACP Branch, 1959.

Join A Public History of 35W in a conversation about the history of organizing and activism to pass “Open Housing” laws in Minnesota and the Twin Cities. These laws aimed at preventing discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity. We’ll examine the real estate practices and personal prejudices that made open housing laws a necessity. Come to hear the story of one Black family’s fight to move to Edina after being displaced by 35W in South Minneapolis.

This program is hosted by Hennepin History Museum and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

How to attend:

On a computer: Go online to access the meeting by visiting at 6:30 p.m.   Password: PublicHistory35W

On a phone: Please dial: +1-408-418-9388   Access code: 146 385

Facebook event link here


An exhibition based on oral history interviews, archival research, and community input will be on display in January of 2021.

Past Events

Housing Discrimination & the “Freeway Families”

Saturday, October 24, 3:00-4:25PM CDT

When South Minneapolis residents lost their homes to 35W, where could they go?
Join Heidi Adelsman, Jacob Noble, and Denise Pike of A Public History of 35W as they explore themes around housing discrimination and displacement. These local historians will touch on several topics including discriminatory housing practices and policies, the displacement of families for the construction of I-35W in South Minneapolis, and a presentation on the Tilsenbilt Homes, believed to be one of the first federally-supported residential housing developments in the United States that was open to homebuyers of all races. The panel presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Videos of the event can be found listed below, or on the Hennepin History Museum YouTube page.

Part I: An Overview of Systemic Racial Housing Discrimination

Part II: Housing and School Desegregation in Minneapolis

Part III: Freeway Family Displacement (Coming Soon)

A Public History of 35W: Virtual Story Share

Wednesday, August 19, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

This interactive virtual event will share preliminary histories about opposition to the freeway, its impacts on communities of color, and concerns over equity and environmental justice. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and express interest in sharing their own perspectives and stories. This event is part of an ongoing partnership with Hennepin History Museum, the Heritage Studies and Public History Program at the University of Minnesota, and Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Event video up now on the Hennepin History Museum’s Youtube page.

Two Virtual Events: A Public History of 35W

Wednesday, May 27, 1-2:30 p.m.: Virtual Art Workshop

Thursday, May 28, 6-7:30 p.m.: Virtual Story Share (Event cancelled out of respect for the community mourning for George Floyd.) Check back for more information about event rescheduling.

Please join us for two free events to continue our exploration into the history of I-35W in South Minneapolis. On May 27, researchers from the University of Minnesota will invite participants of all ages and skill levels to develop a creative response to a presentation on the history of this freeway. On May 28, they will present preliminary research on opposition to the freeway, its impacts on communities of color, and concerns over equity and environmental justice. They will invite participants to share their own perspectives and stories. Both events will be held in partnership with the U of M and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Please watch the Hennepin History Museum’s Facebook Event page for more information.

A Public History of 35W

October 10, 2019
Hosted by Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin History Museum.

Historical Walking Tour of I-35W, South Minneapolis

September 7, 2019
Hosted by Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin History Museum

Bridging the divide over Interstate 35W

‘This is our Rondo – we just don’t know it yet’

Share your Story

Support for this project was provided by the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs; University of Minnesota Heritage Studies and Public History program; Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; UMN Digital Arts, Sciences, & Humanities (DASH); and the UMN Provost's Imagine Chair for Arts, Design & Humanities.