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Kodachrome Images of Minneapolis Salvage Yards

The City of Minneapolis began documenting salvage yards by photographing them in the 1967 to the mid-’70s period. This was about the same time as the EPA started operations to clean up environmental pollution in the industry.

The lead image is a view of the sign, fence, and yard at Nate’s Auto Parts located at 1032 Fifth St. North in the City. Part of the sign on Nate’s building in the last photo in this post describes it as “Old Parts Headquarters.”

Please share with us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the Hennepin County Library.

  • The white racing stripe on the rear of this Chrysler Products Corp. muscle car signifies it is not your “run of the mill” family car. It is in the yard at Wilensky Autos Parts Co. located at 1226 Washington Ave. North (below.) The photos date to October of 1974.

  • This August of 1965 photo of Hans Auto Parts was taken by the City Zoning Department for a change of use “Conversion: commercial to junkyard” at 1317 Washington Ave. North.

  • Nate’s Auto Parts “Old Parts Headquarters” located at 1032 Fifth St. North. Note the cast iron bathtubs in the foreground.

43 responses to “Kodachrome Images of Minneapolis Salvage Yards

    • I believe it’s a 57 Plymouth. Headlight brow looks Plymouth to me, plus you can make out several of the “Plymouth” letters on the leading edge of the hood.

      Next picture, the 69 Charger with the white stripe says “R/T” inside the stripe, which means it most likely would have been powered by the standard 440 Magnum (4-barrel), although a 426 Hemi would have been an alternative (IIRC, 440 six pack wasn’t available in Chargers until the 70 model year). Whichever motor it was, someone got it. Don’t know what caused the accident, but the drum brakes up front didn’t help.

      68 Charger would have had small round side marker lights, while 70 R/Ts had the “R/T” letters on a dummy scoop on the leading edge of the front doors, not in the bumblebee stripe.

  1. I miss the junkyards of my youth. DeNaples’, outside of Scranton, PA, never crushed anything, leaving a solid square mile of derelict cars — probably making it a victim of the EPA regulations. I was there in the mid-eighties, pulling parts from a ’52 Chevy lying on its side in a ditch. Tucked back in the mess was an Eisenacher Wartburg, an east German import with a three cylinder, two-stroke engine.

    Keahon’s, in Havestraw, NY, along the Hudson north of New York City, had a salvageable mid-twenties Dodge Brothers pickup on the lot. I begged the owner to sell it to me, but he didn’t have the papers on it.

    Then there was Ray Huntsinger’s lot, out in the country about halfway between Scranton and Binghampton, NY. He had a ’38 Buick Roadmaster convertible that was in . . . well, rough shape. It had been the bottom car in a three car stack, the frame was broken, and pretty much the entire bottom six inches of the body had rusted away. I told a Buick collector about he, and he drove up to check it out. He decided not to buy it, not because of its condition — he had restored another Rodamaster and had a parts car with a frame, drivetrain, and front clip. But the window trim for the rear windows was missing. It was unique to the Roadmaster convertible and impossible to find.

    By the way, I love the thinking behind the sign in the lead photo. Opens up a whole new market.

    • My sis lives in Dunmore. DeNaples is actually NE of Scranton (by about 10 feet). Once when she had a Ford Taurus with manual door locks the plastic plunger on the sill of the drivers door broke. I went up there and they let me have the run of place in the new additions section near that humongous old warehouse. Found a couple I think off of a Ford Tempo, no charge. She had a broken drivers side mirror on a Chevy Suburban, they hooked her up.

      He owns Keystone Sanitary Landfill at the junction of 81 + 84. That big pile of trash on the right of 84. There’s been a legal fight going on for years. Was/is mob connected (Bufalino crime family). Louie DeNaples has his own wiki page.

      He’s the “Unknown Benefactor” of Dunmore.

      • The huge orange-ish warehouse is the former car shops for the Wyoming Division of the Erie RR, which ran from Avoca, PA to the Erie mainline where the Lackawaxen River meets the Delaware River.

        There used to be a fair-sized engine terminal there as well.

        100 years before that, the junkyard area was the site of the Number 6 Plane, and main shops of the Pennsylvania Coal Company Gravity Railroad, which ran from Port Griffith on the Susquehanna, to Hawley, PA, and transported coal from the Wyoming Valley to the Delaware & Hudson Canal at Hawley.

        The Italianate-Victorian granite-stone headquarters of the Pennsylvania Coal Co. stood near the car shop bldg, at the foot of Smith St at Mill St, until it burned the other year. Many people suspect it may have been caused by arson.

    • Dave – I think I remember that Wartburg… late fall of 1985, as a freshman student at Wilkes College down in Wilkes-Barre, I was searching for a tail-light lens for my 1962 Ford Falcon (daily driver then).

      I remember seeing the hulk of a funny little foreign car on one of the “roads” along the hillside… it had a small 3-cylinder aluminum engine mounted transverse in the rear ?

      I finally found the tailight lens on the shelves inside the big orange warehouse… I think it cost me less than $5…

      • That was it, to the left side of the road heading away from the warehouse. But the engine was mounted in the front, though the remains may have been so beaten by the time you saw it that it was hard to tell. If I remember right the radiator was in the back of the engine compartment, with the fan driven by a shaft that ran along the top of the rocker cover. The same quality East German engineering that gave us the Trabant.

        I’m not really surprised there are so many good memories of DeNaples. It was a local institution. And, Francis, I do remember railroad tracks running through the woods at the far end of the lot.

  2. Sometimes when I’m in a junkyard I get the oddest feeling that I’m a Jawa from Star Wars who were the scavengers of Outer space.Or an ant stripping a dead grasshopper for parts.

  3. In the first photo with the sculptor. Not sure if it is a local fad or national, but I see artwork like this all over. Has to be at least 5 in the small Village I live near. They are all ineresting and not all made of auto parts. One has a vaccum as the body, hubcap for a head.

    • Elmer Winter, co-founder of Manpower Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin took up junkyard sculpting as a hobby sometime in the 60s as I recall. He did some very interesting things, mostly with car bumpers.

    • I went to a animal rescue charity car show this year, the organizer ‘s husband is a professional fabricator and rodder.
      For taking first okace, I got a repeat dog made out of car parts. The collar is made out of a bike chaun, valves for legs, etc. My wife liked it so much, she let me keep it in the hoyse, unlike most trophies I’ve received.

      • Congratulations, John. Hope you get that critter out each morning so it doesn’t leak oil on the carpeting. What did you show at the benefit?

        • My 1914 Stutz Bearcat replica by George Barris.
          It usually does well at people’s choice-type shows because it’s different…or at custom shows because it was built by Barris.

          • Dave…there was isn’t a reply button below your comment, so hopefully you’ll see this…

            Yes, it was one of two built for the series. My car was the main one used in filming.

            It can also be seen in Pat Ganahl’s book, “Lost Hot Rods II”, and some on-line photos taken for The Wall Street Journal as well as other print and web articles. I’ve had it since 1998.

  4. In Item 1 of 4, I’ll say a ’69 Charger with a rust-colored ’66 Impala stacked up behind it and on the ground behind it a ’69 or ’70 Pontiac sedan and a vinyl topped ’68 Bonneville coupe. On the far right, a ’69 Chevelle behind a 2nd-gen Riviera and a ’67 Olds 88-something coupe on top of maybe a ’64 Mercury Commuter wagon

  5. I like those two junked cars in the third photo sitting next to the old building that has the Nate’s Auto Parts sign on it. I would surmise that they are the remains of a 1940 Ford Deluxe sedan and a better preserved circa 1935 Packard Eight Club sedan judging by its prominent hood ornament.

    • Sure looks like a Ford, but the back window is missing the split. I agree on Ford though, but it’s a ’39. The ’40 had a single chrome strip on the hood side, the ’39 had two.

      • Yes, it could be a ’39 model as those two years are very similar in design. Someone else also identified what is left of that car as a ’39 Ford so that is probably what it is then. Thanks for the correction.

  6. In the last picture are a 1939 Ford deluxe 4 door and a 1937 Packard 4 door. The box van behind them appears to be a mid 50’s Chevrolet.

  7. I remember all of those yards in North Minneapolis. There were a lot of them up and down Washington Ave. and N. 2nd St. I remember getting a Muncie M-21 4-speed cluster gear and a case after I crunched the one in my Chevelle. Also got a quicker steering box for my Chevelle off a smashed Camaro RS/SS.

    • That whole section of town is being re-developed and is beginning to look like a modern industrial park. It is losing a lot of its character.

  8. Pennsylvania had great old junkyards, but the EPA and rising land prices no doubt cleared out many of them. I also recall Stucker’s on Staten Island, which had a good selection of foreign cars back in the 1960s. I once spent an entire day in a Mercedes-Benz junkyard in Maryland, shooting artsy photos of all the metal “sculptures”. See also Murilee Martin’s regular feature on junkyards on the AutoWeek website.

  9. I’d have been a frequent visitor to Nate’s Auto Parts and their apparent great inventory of pre-war cars. Talk about a great field trip!

  10. There are a few rare pieces in Wilensky’s truck yard. The International Transtar in the foreground wasn’t uncommon back in those days, but the White 5000 on the far left and the red Mack C600 in the middle of the frame certainly were.

    • Hi Gene, a bit late to the game, the IH is a early 60’s CO 4000. At that time, the Transtar 400 was a conventional. The White 5000, I read, was an early 60’s and an all fiberglass cab, unusual for the time. I don’t remember many of those, before my time, I think CF used them, but I do remember it’s replacement, the “Japenese Freightliner”.

  11. Wilensky Auto Parts pic: second truck in from left, about 1962 Ford N-600, Sixth truck in looks like a Mack Model LJ, on the right red International Cab Over-missing right rear tire, Blue Ford in front of that. Nate’s-last pic, would love to look through those buildings. Just think of all the old auto parts in there.

    • Hi Joann, we need to talk,,like old trucks, hey? :), me too, some I’ve driven. Next to the Ford, is an AM General, then an IH Loadstar 1600, I think the next truck is a WW2 GMC, then the Mack, not sure what the last one is, and the blue Ford is a mid 50’s C600. Some say it’s a cabover, but it’s a cab forward. Another army truck next to that.

    • East end auto parts was the first auto parts in the city of Rochester NY run by the Dickenson family.An expressway was built thru the middle of it so they moved to Ontario NY were I spent some time picking parts.
      Mike M

  12. 1st pic the artist looks a lot like Maynard G. Krebs from the TV show Dobie Gillis, a popular show at the time. 2nd pic, one of the Chargers the Dukes of Hazzard creators missed. Today that car is worth 5 figures, AS IS, just for the vin. plate. 3rd, there were very few junkyards that had old trucks. There was a yard on the south side of Chicago off of I-94. I passed it many times, full of old trucks, I meant to stop, but was always in the semi, and one day, it was all gone. 4th pic, I think that hardtop is for a C2 Corvette, and last, the red box truck looks like a mid 50’s Ford.

  13. The racing stripe on the Charger means it would have been an RT, which would have had a 440 or 426 Hemi. Also had drum brakes on the front.

  14. Does anyone remember Mt Tobe junkyard in Connecticut? Don’t know if it’s still there but it was a fantastic place. In the 70’s I went there to find parts for a 49 Plymouth and found several, among hundreds of great hulks from the 30’s on up. A tremendous horde of iron in the woods.

  15. Some people hoard cats, others old newspapers,but in almost every town there’s some one hoarding cars on their property to tide them over I guess for old age.

  16. We had old family friends that lived in the Boston area, and our family would visit frequently from Conn. Bobby was my age and he knew, or would find any junk yard within walking distance. His car fetish was car keys, hood ornaments, and unique automobilia. Bobby was much more sophisticated than me, and he was much more adventurous so I would have to follow him into dangerous, and illegal break-ins that took us over fences, walls, and even broken windows to un-lock doors. Having a friend like Bobby was scary, but more exciting, and old car educational than anyone I have ever known. Some of my favorite adolescent memories.

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