Andy Gifford: Thomas Lowry’s Ghost

Andrew Gifford
This week’s #FollowFriday Tumblr pick is Thomas Lowry’s Ghost, Andy Gifford’s ode to Minneapolis history.


Hotel Leamington at night

1. Why did you decide to start Thomas Lowry’s Ghost?
I love local history. I love researching photos and documents to see how Minneapolis grew and came about. I wanted to share some of these pictures and where to find them with others who appreciate our great city; or just history in general. I also wanted something a little more light-hearted than my previous blogs, which were mostly political.

2. Talk a little bit about Thomas Lowry himself; why name a blog after him? Have you ever encountered his ghost?

Thomas Lowry basically built the mass transit system that we use everyday. He started a company called Twin Cities Rapid Transit that had connected lines from Minnetonka in the west, all the way to Stillwater in the east. It was an elaborate (for the time) system that combined streetcars, buses, and ferry boats. The ferry boats were used to shuttle people to Big Island Amusement Park on Lake Minnetonka and back to waiting trollies. He was also a serial real estate developer, so I’m sure his paychecks were pretty good. The name is more of an ode to Minneapolis history than to the man himself. I just wanted to evoke something that was intricate to how this city was raised. (And no: I’ve never seen his ghost, but I have been known to hang out with his statue on 24th & Hennepin)

Hennepin Avenue, 1961

3. What’s your favorite post to date?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. I suppose it would be this one. And not because it was the most widely-noted post on my site, but because it’s Red Owl and the Boulevard Theater! Two places that I spent a lot of time at as a kid.

4. What are some of your favorite Tumblrs?

Stuff About Minneapolis, MN70s, FUNRAMAwr3n, and Literally Unbelievable, just to name a few.

5. What do you do when you’re not blogging?

Not much, to be honest (I’m kinda hermit-chic). I have an office job, and a wonderful 2 year old daughter that I see a few times a week. I’m re-training myself how to play guitar. I don’t really get out and light it up like I used to.

6. What do you love about Minneapolis?

Its history (obviously). Its beauty and bustle. Its progressive-style of living. Its street-grid, for some reason. Its wonderfully creative and talented population. And the fact that I could find a decent apartment in the neighborhood I grew up in after living in St. Paul for 6 years.