Lock-Up Alley

Weird Nicollet Tour, Minneapolis

Lock-Up Alley

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407, United States

Created By: Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District


20 S Washington Avenue, Corner of Nicollet and Washington Avenue

Though you would never know it today, if you stand at the T-intersection of Nicollet and Washington Avenue, you are at the center of a lot of early Minneapolis history. Where graceful modern ING Building is now, running north to south between Nicollet and Marquette north of Washington lay the infamous “lock-up alley,” so-called because it was the alley right behind the central police station.

Between 1867 and 1922, the Minneapolis Tribune mentioned Lockup Alley well over a hundred times, and the name even appeared on Minneapolis maps of the time. It was the site of many criminal apprehensions and police issues, and even back in 1881, people were saying a “cleanup was badly needed” in the alley.

The close proximity of city hall and the central police station didn’t seem to be much of a deterrent to crime, because Lockup Alley is mentioned in reference to arson attempts, stabbings, drunkenness, runaway horses, fights, robberies, and police chases. Notably, one evening in November 1901, according to the news reports “Sgt. Sam Olson’s revolver went off accidentally,” the resulting “explosion [setting] his pocket afire.”


This point of interest is part of the tour: Weird Nicollet Tour, Minneapolis


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