Welcome to Dinkytown

Dinkytown History

Where did the name “Dinkytown” come from?

Dinkytown became an established commercial district in the years between 1899-1929, and was a dynamic hotbed of student activism and the counterculture through the 1970s. This tour tells the story of Dinkytown as a place where academia and co-ed life spill into and interact with “real life” that allows new ideas to emerge: The University of Dinkytown.

No one knows for sure where the name “Dinkytown” comes from, but there are many theories:

Another possibility ties the name to its connection to the railroads: “Dinkeys” are small locomotives used for hauling freight, logging, and shunting. Dinkytown was close to the University Station on the Great Northern railroad, which served the University of Minnesota and Dinkytown areas (though it was removed in 1901). It may have had been known as the “Dinkeytown” station.

Regardless of its origins, the name became official when in 1948 local businessmen formed a group called “The Dinky Town Businessmen’s Association.”

Visit our self-guided history tour page

Useful Links:
10 Part series on Dinkytown / TC Daily Planet
Dinkytown: Four Blocks of History by Bill Huntzicker
Preserve Historic Dinkytown
Minnesota Public Radio Article
Walter Mondale’s Commentary in Star Tribune

Getting to Dinkytown