Established 1830

Moving from west to east, Downtown tells the story of Central City. City Hall, the main branch of the Central City Public Library, Police Headquarters, and multiple municipal offices reside in late nineteenth and early twentieth century multistory buildings on the edge of Capitol Hill, between 65th and 70th streets, where the city was first founded. Newer skyscrapers, the seats of corporate interest, extend north and east from the city’s original nucleus, money towering over public service. The glass and concrete portion of the city’s skyline tapers to storefronts and aging utilities the closer it gets to Martin Luther King Drive and the inner-city neighborhood of Echo.

History of Downtown


In 1830, the army established Fort Meeker in what is now Downtown. Fort Meeker served as the federal government’s base of operations in the area, which provided protection for the development of private industry. 1819-1852: Civilization vs Nature


In 1836, the government made its first treaty with the Anishinaabe natives of the region. The 1836 treaty ceded to the territory the land on which Central City grew. A series of treaties between 1836 and 1889 would establish the Fort Meeker Reservation forty miles northwest of Central City. 1819-1852: Civilization vs Nature


From 1837-1846, multiple plots of land were homesteaded between Walleye’s and Fort Meeker. 18 families lived in the area, most of them former trappers or military, and they cobbled together livelihoods from farming, trade, or service with the fort, benefitting greatly from Walleye’s biannual rendezvous.1819-1852: Civilization vs Nature


By 1846, the settlements surrounding Fort Meeker had grown into a small village. Two saloons, a hotel, and a general store appeared a small distance from the fort, providing a center to the settlement. The post office was the first building built with brick and mortar, and it marked the intersection of what would become Capitol Street and Stearns Avenue. Soon a land grant office, which would become the original city hall, joined the post office as a permanent construction. A bank, supply store, and several private residences soon followed.1819-1852: Civilization vs Nature


Central City was officially founded.1852-1894: Competing Forms of Civilization - Government, Business, and Industry


In 1894 the city limits were established around what is now the southern half of Uptown and all of Midtown and Downtown, making this area the foundation for what would become the city. 1894-1950 Development of Standards, Tradition, and Expectation


In 1905, an eleven-story building was built Downtown, the first skyscraper.1894-1950 Development of Standards, Tradition, and Expectation


By 1930, the city skyline contained eleven skyscrapers, all exceeding ten stories, and the tallest reached 23 stories. 1894-1950 Development of Standards, Tradition, and Expectation


The downtown area continued to grow skyward throughout the middle of the century, and by 1980 contained multiple office buildings exceeding thirty floors. 1980-2000: Darkness/Crime


City Hall.

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