The remains of the downtown Minneapolis Donaldson’s store glowed in a blaze of fire in what has been one of Minneapolis’ largest and most destructive fires in the cities history. The fire, which was started by arson started in the remains of Donaldson’s former downtown store eventually catching Northwestern Bank’s Headquarters (later Norwest, now Wells Fargo) destroying the building and damaging the iconic “Weather Ball”, ultimately leaving a block of downtown Minneapolis in ashes for what should have been the biggest shopping day of the year.


In this report from WCCO, Don Shelby and Pat Miles anchor a special 6pm Report, while Dave Nimmer reports from the scene of the fire, which was still hot and in chaos less than one day from the initial blaze.


A day in Minnesota and Minneapolis history not forgotten. Interesting video and images of what downtown Minneapolis looked like almost 30 years ago.
Credit: Curt Lundgren and Tom Gavaras


mike: The Downtown Minneapolis Thanksgiving Fire will definitely go down in Minnesota’s history as a defiance of both triumph and tragedy next to the 35W Bridge collapse. We could call these events as “Grace Under Fire!”

Nancy Zimpfer: I totally remember this night. As we were having dinner the phone rang and it was one of my aunts asking if we had heard about the fire and was my dad down there. Totally surprised we turned on the TV and immediately my father John Hannon started gathering his stuff together and off he went to head on down to report for duty.




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