Moving McKinley Court Apartments
A patron contacted us recently, hoping to find information and photographs of the McKinley Court Apartments, her home in 1967. She remembered the H-like shape of the building, and the white ‘McKinley Court’ sign. She remembered the cheap rent and the cockroaches. What she didn’t know is that the building had been picked up and moved just four years before she moved there.
The McKinley Court Apartments were located at 131 E. 14th St. In 1963, the building was purchased by the City of Minneapolis to be wrecked to make way for the Minneapolis Auditorium expansion. Rather than spending the money to tear down the building, the city sold it back to its owner for $1, provided he would remove the building from the lot. That October, 51 years ago, the McKinley Court Apartments were inched across the street to 1400 Stevens Ave.
Twenty tenants remained in the apartment building during the move with no interruption of utility service. The move took three weeks. At the time it was the largest apartment building in the United States ever moved from one location to another (although larger buildings of other types had been moved).
How was it moved? Section-by-section, the lower part of the wall was chopped away and supports were placed under the building. Eight sets of railroad tracks were laid the 180 feet between the two foundations. The building, moving on 1,500 steel rollers and pulled by two winch trucks, then was pulled across the street at the rate of one inch per minute.
McKinley Court Apartments were later torn down to make way for the new Minneapolis Convention Center, which opened in 1990.