When it comes to transportation in Hopkins, there’s a lot of talk about the upcoming Southwest Light Rail line, the regional trails for cyclists and the paths that make Hopkins the third most walkable community in Minnesota.
But for a time, transportation in Hopkins was all about cars.
The city had a reputation as a “cars and bars” town, with teens cruising Mainstreet every weekend. Along the thoroughfare, which used to be called Excelsior Boulevard and Excelsior Avenue West, there were six major car dealer show rooms and 12 car sales lots in 1962. That same year, Hopkins boasted $1,200 in new car sales per capita compared to Minneapolis’ $200, according to Hopkins Through the Years, a Hopkins Historical Society book.
According to the publication:
“For a while there was a gas station on every corner and auto lots lined parts of Excelsior Avenue. Cruising the drag was a major pastime for several generations of teens.”
YouTube user MisterPersuasion captured that atmosphere on 8-millimeter film in 1979 for a cable access channel special and uploaded it to the Web.
“We all knew each other by our C.B. Radio ‘Handles’ so that's why all the funny names I was saying as the cars passed by. Good memories!” the user wrote.
Check out his video and then catch the cable access channel special in the videos above.
Did you cruise up and down Hopkins' main drag? Share your memories in the comments below—and don't forget to mention your beloved vehicle.