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Strib building’s upcoming demise brings back memories

I must reluctantly agree with Marlys Harris’ opinion that the Star Tribune building cannot justify its continued existence, either aesthetically or economically. I don’t expect to see it standing for long; it will be another visual landmark of the “old” downtown that will be gone, joining its architectural betters also lost through the years.

I grew up near the building (on the other side of the tracks, near the old St. Elizabeth’s church on Eighth Street). I have early memories of being driven by the place and marveling at the enormous lighted sign on the roof. Its large red outlines proclaimed alternating messages: “Daily circulation 540,000” and “Sunday circulation 620,000.” The sign could be seen from Smiley’s point on Riverside Avenue.

I guess I was an employee of the paper in 1958-1959; I had a morning delivery route (Minneapolis Tribune) and later an afternoon one (The Evening Star). Watching the night-delivery trucks load up the paper bundles as they came off the spiral chutes onto the loading docks was all the fascination an 11-year-old boy needed.

I was part of a grade-school tour of the mighty press room; one of the printers made newsprint hats for us. I’ve been to the building’s lobby to submit ads to sell cars, ads to seek house-painting jobs, notices for my wedding and obituaries of my family members. I will be sorry to see the building go, but with one — unlike some vanished treasures of the city — I’ll understand why.

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