Grain Belt Beer Sign (Minneapolis, MN) – Measuring approximately 50 feet wide by 40 feet tall, the Grain Belt Beer sign remains one of the largest freestanding neon signs in the Midwest. This local landmark sits on Minneapolis’ Nicollet Island and constitutes part of the “Gateway to Northeast” greeting all who cross the Hennepin Avenue bridge and enter Northeast (a neighborhood) from downtown… but this was not its original location.
When it was first built in 1941, it sat atop the Marigold Ballroom until 1950 before being moved to its current home. The reason for the move was simple: the island location allowed for greater visibility (along a major thoroughfare) and less competition (as the only advertisement in the vicinity) – and there it has remained ever since.
That isn’t to say it hasn’t gone through any changes… when Grain Belt Brewing was sold in 1975, the sign went dark for 14 full years. It wasn’t until 1989, after much political maneuvering by local preservationists and a major rehabilitation project, when the sign was once again able cast its glow from its perch overlooking the Mississippi River.
There’s a lot more interesting history to read about this sign over at the Historic Minneapolis Signs website.
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- Neon Signs
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