Larry Millett maps the ghosts of Twin Cities past

By Amy Goetzman

Millett_Once coverSomehow, because people weren’t thinking ahead, or thought they had a better idea, or simply didn’t care, the most spectacular buildings ever built in Minneapolis and St. Paul disappeared. Between the 1950s and '70s we lost most of our grand historic hotels, office buildings and mansions to the wrecking ball and replaced them with parking lots, strip malls, and usually much less architecturally valuable development.

Twenty years ago, Larry Millett’s "Lost Twin Cities" sounded a wakeup call, urging more sensitive development by showing us what was senselessly lost. The book, which inspired a PBS program by the same name, preserves in memory missing landmarks such as Minneapolis’ fantastically beautiful Metropolitan Building, and shows an ornate city that rivals many of the world’s great old urban centers. Millett, then a St. Paul Pioneer Press architecture critic, became the area’s foremost authority on a Twin Cities that doesn’t exist.

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