Ray Harris here. Yes, that Ray Harris. I’ve been around for a looooong time — Going on 92 years. I’ve been busy – as a writer, a cowboy, a beach bum, a Korean war army vet, a Stanford university graduate and author, a real estate developer and consultant, and a person deeply interested in people and their quality of life in urban America.
The city of Minneapolis has been my base. Minneapolis was incorporated in 1867, 153 years – of which I have been around well over half of that time. My family has been deeply involved in Minneapolis life and development for over 100 years; my father was on the Park Board in 1915 working with Theodore Wirth in the creation of the Grand Rounds roadway system connecting the chain of lakes – that has brought so much pleasure to Minneapolis residents and visitors. I have never lived or worked outside of Minneapolis (except for the time spent in the army or at Stanford University).
I would guess that no one, or very few, have experienced Minneapolis as have I. I have eaten, slept, played, worked, and worshiped in Minneapolis. I have raised my family in Minneapolis and my children have gone to the Minneapolis Public schools.
Minneapolis is, and has been my life – all of its great features – and even its problems.
During my professional career of over 60 years, I have directly participated in, and been responsible for, many of the physical improvements throughout Minneapolis. I’ve also been present and seen many other changes, as they occurred – Minneapolis, as it was, and Minneapolis, as it is – is a fascinating story that needs to be told. Events and people that caused or prevented the present Minneapolis are part of our Minneapolis story connecting the past with the present, weaving the when into the now fabric explains and humanizes Minneapolis. Minneapolis today is more than brick and mortar.
With the encouragement of many friends and colleagues and with a clear mind, I am going to tell my version of the Minneapolis story – as I remember it. The unique aspect of the story is that I was there first hand. I’ll be blunt, non-partisan, irreverent at times, perhaps slightly philosophical, critical, and complimentary, and certainly full of experiences previously unknown or at least long forgotten.
Very few of you will remember many of the subjects of these blogs – most will be much too young and/or relatively new arrivals to Minneapolis. Hopefully my story will be intriguing and thought-provoking. If so, let me know.