Old Federal Building, 212 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
|Edit with form|
United States Federal Office Building /Old Federal Building
|Address:||212 3rd Avenue S|
|Hennepin County, Minnesota|
|Primary Style:||Classical Revival|
|Historic Function:||Government office|
|Current Function:||Government office|
|Architect or source of design:||James Knox Taylor|
|National Register of Historic Places Information|
The United States Federal Building or Old Federal Building was built from 1912 to 1915 and was the site of many anti-war demonstrations during the Vietnam War.
Built from 1912 to 1915, the Old Federal Building at 212 3rd Ave. South in Minneapolis was home to the United States Post Office until 1936 when it was converted to a federal office building. It has housed several offices since, but in the 1960s and 1970s at the height of the Vietnam War, it was home to the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station. Thus, the building was often the site of anti-war demonstrations against the draft.
On April 3, 1968, hundreds of protestors, including members of the University of Minnesota’s Student Against Selective Services group, marched from the University of Minnesota’s Johnston Hall, across the Washington Ave. bridge, to the Old Federal Building to participate in the Day of Resistance, which was happening across the country. Several men returned their draft cards to the district attorney, and two burned their cards on the steps of the building.
On Oct. 15, 1968, 200 protestors demonstrated against the draft induction of Sydney Walter, the artistic director of the Firehouse Group, a local West Bank theater.
As the Vietnam War dragged on, anti-war protests only continued to escalate and at 3 a.m. on Aug. 17, 1970, a bomb was set off beneath the steps of the Second Street entrance of the Old Federal Building. The explosion caused an estimate of $500,000 worth of damage to the building, shattered windows blocks away and a night watchmen sustained minor injuries.
In 2010, the building was put on the National Register of Historic Places for its history as the United States Post Office. After 51 years, the Military Entrance Processing Station relocated to Fort Snelling in 2001, but now has temporarily returned to the Old Federal Building as their Fort Snelling offices are renovated.
Memories and stories
In the News
- Jim Berlin reflects on being a war protester on the 1968 blog. "I was a war protester and refused to be drafted and still feel strong that I made the right decision in that area, equal rights and integration."
- Greg Fangel remembers attending a military based high school during Vietnam War protests "War protests were everywhere. Going to a military high school was not very comfortable for me, not only because I didn’t like the rigid regimen, but because it seemed out of life’s balance."
- Vietnam veterans reflect on the Vietnam War and the political situation today in a film from the 1968 Film Competition: http://www.the1968exhibit.org/reflections/war-peace-and-protest-then-now-generations-special-focus-award