Nicollet Avenue has been Minneapolis’ main shopping street for more than 100 years. The street, along with a Minnesota county and an island in the Mississippi River, are named for Joseph Nicollet, a 19th century French geographer who produced one of the first accurate maps of the area that became Minnesota. In the 1960’s, in an effort to compete with suburban shopping malls that were drawing customers away from downtown, eight blocks of the street were closed to automobile traffic, and the Nicollet Mall was created.The 2017 renovation by James Corner Field Operations created a greener, more pedestrian-friendly street, with more than 240 new trees, wider pedestrian walkways, and three new civic gathering places: a family-oriented Reading Room, a performance space dubbed the Theater in the Round, next to the Library, and Nicollet Center, an artistically treated area between 6th and 8th Street. In addition to the history of the Mall itself, this tour will focus on the histories of more than a dozen structures that line the mall — from the oldest, the 1898 Renaissance Square — to the newest, the recently renovated Orchestra Hall — to the soon-to-be-renovated Peavey Plaza.The Nicollet Mall tour will begin under the big canopy on the west end (main entrance) of the Voya Financial Building (formerly ING Building and before that Northwestern National Life Insurance Co.) -- 20 So. Washington Ave.