Dinkytown is still worth preserving

The organization Preserve Historic Dinkytown recently held a “Dinkytown Reunion” that drew more than 100 attendees to the Varsity Theater. The group formed in response to an announcement that the city of Minneapolis will study Dinkytown to assess the neighborhood’s suitability as an official historic district.

Currently, Minneapolis is home to 12 historic districts, including the University of Minnesota Greek Letter Chapter House Historic District. The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Committee protects designated areas, repairing any run-down buildings and educating the public about the city’s history.

The current inspection of Dinkytown examines the history of four city blocks between 1899 and 1971, during which time the neighborhood witnessed a great deal of social change and urban development. Historic designation could preserve approximately 30 Dinkytown buildings, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Responding to concerns that historic designation might affect Dinkytown’s modern character, Ward 3 Councilman Jacob Frey expressed his belief that modernization and preservation aren’t diametrically opposed to each other. “You can have both,” he said.

We recognize that certain concerns still surround Dinkytown’s potential historic designation. For example, preservation can’t hinder new generations of students from making the neighborhood uniquely theirs. Moreover, it seems paradoxical to restore or repair a neighborhood whose character comes predominantly from its somewhat ramshackle appearance.

Nevertheless, we feel that Dinkytown is a supremely valuable part of the University’s culture, which is itself an important subculture within Minneapolis. As a result, we wholeheartedly support Dinkytown’s official historic designation.