If you’re interested in the history of Minnesota’s suburban sprawl, the 1950’s or love anything related to Dayton’s Department Store, the Suburbia exhibit at the Minnesota History Center is a must-see.
The display showcases how the Twin Cities’ suburban areas began including everything from floorpans of typical housing developments to interior design advertisements, a Chevrolet Station Wagon (which had me thinking of “See The USA in your Chevrolet”), plus a kitchen/living room reminiscent of the time including a council TV and a refrigerator that opens with display foods.
But for me the highlight of the exhibit is the Southdale Mall display. When it opened in suburban Edina back in 1956, the mall was the largest fully enclosed shopping center of its kind. It was filled with a variety of stores including a Red Owl grocery store, Dayton’s and Donaldson’s. There were several photos along with a variety of merchandise on display from when the mall first opened.
Seeing all of the merchandise was fascinating…I love the iconic fashion of the 1950’s but what really made my heart sing was the Dayton’s shopping bags. If you’re from Minnesota, Dayton’s is the store you went to for special occasions, the Eigth Floor Christmas display and the Bachman’s Spring Flower Show. For me, it’s where I went for special shoes and dresses for everything from First Communion to Graduation. Unfortunately, the stores were purchased by Macy’s…so the legendary department store locations are just shells of what they used to be, but the Suburbia exhibit made me remember all the lovely years and all of my Dayton’s memories…I’d give up all the other department stores in the world to have the Minneapolis Dayton’s back to what it was!
The Suburbia is a great limited time exhibit open until March 20. I highly recommend checking it out—and I would so love to see the Southdale collection become part of the permanent collection…
Did you see the exhibit? What did you like best?