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Hi Garrison-- My wife and

April 19, 2006 |

Hi Garrison--
My wife and I were at the Newton Symphony Orchestra benefit last Saturday, and much enjoyed the performance, even though the sound system was not the best. I was hoping to see you in person for a minute because I wanted you to verify to my skeptical wife that there is indeed a section of Minneapolis called "Dinkytown". She thinks I'm kidding her, but I remember it fondly from the semester I spent at the University of Minnesota grad school in 1959. I think she'd settle for seeing it in a posting.

Steve D.
Wellesley, MA

There was and is a little section of southeast Minneapolis called Dinkytown, as you and I know, Steve. It's at Fourth Street and 15th Avenue SE and consists of the four blocks that meet at that intersection. The name, I believe, comes from a little trolley called the Dinky that ran from the Minneapolis campus to the St. Paul campus. When you and I were students (I arrived in the fall of 1960), Perrine's Bookstore overlooked the train tracks and Bridgeman's ice cream shop was on the corner with Melvin McCosh's bookstore behind it. There was a beautiful old hardware store (I guess college students don't need hardware anymore) and a grocery called Virg 'N Don's, run by two guys named Virgil and Don, a name with an unconscious pun that college kids back then liked to think they were the first to hear. Heddan's Used Books was down 15th, past the Ten O'Clock Scholar coffeehouse where Bob Dylan started out, and Valli Pizza with a basement grotto where Connie Hechter played jazz piano. The Podium was across the street, which sold guitars and pipe tobacco. The Varsity theater was on 4th, next to the Dinkytown Hotel. None of those remain, nor Al Johnson Clothiers, but Gray's Drug is still on the corner, and House of Hanson grocery, and The Tub laundromat, and Vescio's. I like to take my daughter in to Vescio's now and then for a pizza, which is the same fine pizza it was in 1960, back when pizza was just coming on the scene.

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