Volunteer-led tours highlight city’s rich history

Preserve Minneapolis hosts tours throughout the summer to advocate for historic preservation.

Volunteer tour guides, ranging from historians to experts on a specific area in the city, are giving tours throughout different historic Minneapolis locations as a part of Preserve Minneapolis’s Summer Walking Tours.

“Often they are architects or historians, but really they are all just people who have a passion for preserving history,” said tour coordinator Katy Epler.

Each tour guide brings in their own experiences and knowledge to the areas of the city they are passionate about.

“Because they’re volunteers, they kind of focus on what they specify in,” Epler said.

Preserve Minneapolis took over the program from the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission and this is their fifth summer running it. There have been about 25 tours each summer since the program was introduced. Many of the events stick around for another year, while there are also about six new ones each year. New tours are either suggested from interested people or from the intrigue of tour guides.

“That is the common aspect of the tours is that the tour guides themselves find tours through interest and discovery,” said tour guide Peter Sussman. “It’s sort of an organic process of organizing the tours.”

A new one this year is the Homewood neighborhood in North Minneapolis, one of Minneapolis’s early planned communities. It takes place July 18.

The Queer History tour was one introduced last year that has returned this year. This tour highlights some important sites of the Minneapolis LGBTQ community. It takes place on Aug. 8.

“We did it for the first time last year and it sold out ahead of time,” Epler said.

Preserve Minneapolis is an organization founded in 2003 that focuses on raising awareness about historic preservation in Minneapolis.

“Preserve Minneapolis is a very small organization run by a volunteer board,” Epler said. “These tours help fund our other free events that we host throughout the year.”

Some of the tours for the rest of the summer have sold out already, but there are still available tickets for many events. Just go to the Preserve Minneapolis website to learn more about specific tours. Tickets are sold at $9 per person. Tours typically last around 90 minutes to two hours.

Preserve Minneapolis has also been apart of creating the free mobile app Minneapolis Historical that includes information from various historical sites around the city.


If you go …
Preserve Minneapolis Walking Tours
Cost: $9
More info: dev.preserveminneapolis.org or call 695-7572

Tour schedule:

—   Homewood: An Urban Planned Community (Saturday, July 18, 10 a.m.)

—   Midtown: A Place to Call Home (Thursday, July 23, 6:30 p.m.)

—   Lakewood Cemetery: A Memorial Landscape (Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.)

—   Wesley United Methodist Church (Tuesday, Aug. 4, 6:30 p.m.)

—   Queer History (Sunday, Aug. 9, 10 a.m.)

—   Hennepin Cultural District (Saturday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m.)

—   Architect Avenue (Thursday, Aug. 20, 6:30 p.m.)

—   East Lake Harriet Parks and Residences (Saturday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m.)

—   East Hennepin: Minnneapolis’s First Neighborhood (Sunday, Sept. 13, 10 a.m.)