History

SNG History Committee

As one of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Seward dates back to the first rapid expansion of the city in the late nineteenth century. It was first called “Southtown, Lower Town, or Swede Town” due to its location south of the central city or the large population of Scandinavians in the area. It acquired the “Hub of Hell” nickname during the early 1900’s for the high number of bars and crime reports. A large section of the area was know as “The Fairgrounds” and was the home of a series of county, state and local fairs in the 1860 to 1883.

The purpose of the SNG History Committee is to collect, preserve, and promote Seward’s history through history walks and tours, ‘memory night’ gatherings focused on various themes, celebrations such as King’s Fair, and interviews with long-time neighborhood residents and community leaders. They have been gathering and archiving information on the neighborhood since 1977.

The history committee has donated several boxes of their collection of photos, newspaper clippings, and tapes of oral histories to the Hennepin County Library. These are available to the public by calling special collections and arranging to see the file.

With the help of three arts and publications grants from the Minnesota Historical Society State Legacy Funds, the committee has been researching and writing a book on Seward history since 2011. The committee is presently working with Nodin Press on the final details of a book that will be titled: “The Seward Neighborhood: A People’s History” and should be available in the Fall of 2018.

Visit the Seward Neighborhood Portal on the Minnesota Historical Society’s Placeography website to find out about neighborhood events sponsored by the committee, ways to get involved, and to browse through old photographs of Seward people and places.

To learn more about the history of dozens of buildings and sites in Seward visit the Seward Neighborhood Page at Placeography. All are invited to add photographs and historical information on their ‘place’ in Seward!

The SNG History and Archive Committee meets irregularly at the SNG office. To find out the next meeting time, contact Dick Westby at sandrich22@comcast.net or Marilyn Matheny at Marilyn.Matheny@gmail.com.