At first glimpse this looks like one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of historic house photographs in Hennepin History Museum’s collections, but look more closely and you’ll see this circa 1882 image has been carefully staged to take in both the elegant home — located at 802 Mount Curve Ave. — as well as the family that lived there. The Waltons were among Lowry Hill’s most influential families. By the time of this photograph, young Edmund Walton, still under 30, was already well on his way to becoming one of the city’s most influential real estate developers. He worked closely with Thomas Lowry and handled the development and sales of many Southwest homes. Money was not the only barrier to purchasing one of Walton’s properties, however; Walton was an early adopter of racial covenants, or racially restrictive deeds, and played a major role in creating the segregated city and housing inequities that remain with us today. Readers can learn more about these covenants and other historic tools of racism at the exhibit “Owning Up: Racism and Housing in Minneapolis,” open at the museum through Jan. 20.
Learn more about the museum and its offerings at hennepinhistory.org or 870-1329.