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Lens on History: Everything new is old

Rochester had an outdoor market back in the 1920s.

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The 1929 version of the outdoor market along Third Street Southwest, behind the 1884 City Hall, in Rochester. (Contributed photo from the History Center of Olmsted County)

We tend to think that the phenomenon of pop-up and farmers markets are a relatively new idea. Ninety-nine years ago, Rochester had a City Marketing Committee, whose job was to find the most central spot obtainable for an outdoor market.

When all things were considered, it appeared as if no other place was so centrally located and had as much space as the parking lot behind City Hall. With a facing on Third Street Southwest to show off the participants' wares, the market would certainly be a success. The aldermen agreed, and sanctioned the use of the property for the open market.

The committee also recommended that the area behind the fire hall on the south end of Broadway be used as a marketplace for hay and items that would take up large amounts of space.

Once again, history proves that although we may think today’s ideas are fresh, they are still recycled.

“Lens on History” is a weekly photo feature by Lee Hilgendorf, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County.

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Today, the view behind the Residence at City Hall. (Contributed photo by Lee Hilgendorf)

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