The construction going on where Lowry and West Broadway run into Highway 81, along with some recently acquired old photos, gave me the inspiration for this month’s column. I’m sure everyone has come across a ‘roundabout’ while driving at some point — whether it was one of the small ones on Emerson at 36th and 39th or the larger ones on Douglas Dr. in Crystal. But did you know that we had a rather large one the Northside in the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s? I’m not entirely sure when it was first built, but in looking at aerial photos online, it wasn’t a defined circle in 1938, and it was gone and replaced by the overpass by 1964.
The Victory Circle, as it was called, was where West Broadway, Lowry and the Victory Memorial Drive met. It wasn’t just the convergence of three roads, but also two towns – North Minneapolis and Robbinsdale. I didn’t live in the Camden area of North Minneapolis then but I’ve learned a few things from looking at the photos I was given and doing a little research.
There were businesses on both the east and west sides of the Victory Circle. In Minneapolis on the west, for many years there was a Standard Oil service station. It had those old fashioned gas pumps with the lights on top of them. It wasn’t just a gas station, but a service station where an attendant came out and pumped your gas and washed your windows. They would check your oil and the air in your tires. The last owner of the station was Adolph Wallin, and it was photos that his son Alfred left to a friend of mine that I was given. In 1961 there was a Broaster Boy cafe/restaurant which served broasted chicken and hamburgers. In 1961 there was also a Dairy Way ice cream shop. Close by there was also the Broadway Dairy Queen (part of Dice Pizza is now in that building) so there had to have been a lot of ice cream being eaten in that area.
On the Robbinsdale side to the west, there was a dairy store named Dutch Mill Dairy Bar in 1941. By 1956, the Victory Circle Mart was on that spot. There was also the Circle Cafe on the west side of the Circle in 1956. Another business on the Robbinsdale side of the Circle was a florist shop and greenhouse which was originally owned by Frank P. St Cyr who sold it to C.L. Holland in the 1950s.
There was one more significant building on the Robbinsdale side of the Circle which sat behind the Dutch Mill Dairy Bar. And while all of the other buildings are long gone, that one building still stands there. In 1939 Dr. Samuel Samuelson built that building; the $125,000 Victory Hospital. In 1954 it became North Memorial Hospital and it’s still there. If you look carefully on the north side of Lowry just east of Zenith you will see it surrounded by what is now the North Memorial Health Hospital.
If you lived here when the Victory Circle existed and have memories about it, share them on the Camden Community Historical Society Facebook page or write a letter to the editor of the Camden News (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your memories.