Mystery monkey mummy surfaces in Dayton's demolition

Minnesotans long knew Dayton's as a store with just about everything, and it is proving even more so as crews demolish the interior of the iconic downtown Minneapolis store for redevelopment.

The latest: a dead monkey.

"We don't know a lot about this monkey, but I can say that there was a monkey found during renovation. We continue to find a lot of pieces of history like this in the Dayton's project as we redevelop the building," says Cailin Rogers, a spokesperson for the project. "Unfortunately, this was one of the recent discoveries."

Crews had previously discovered a wallet long ago stolen from an employee in 1969 and found during demolition of a wall there.

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A demolition worker submitted a photo of the dead monkey to the Facebook group "Old Minneapolis," and longtime customers and employees responded with tales of a pet shop on the store's eighth floor and a monkey that went missing in the 1960's.

Rogers says it isn't clear what the truth may be.

"We really don't know the story or the origin behind this find," she said, much like many of the things that may have fallen from notice in a building that dates back more than a century. "There are lot of ideas and theories out there, but none that we can say we understand to be true right now."

Interestingly, Robbinsdale Mayor Regan Murphy says he may know the riddle of the monkey.

"My dad once stole a monkey from a Dayton's display back in the 60s," Murphy wrote on Twitter. "They decided to bring it back after it shat all over my Dad's friends bedroom while they were at school. They returned it by letting it loose in the store.

"This is probably that monkey."

The Dayton's Project, by the way, has been underway since last year, and Rogers says the mumified simian and other finds aren't dulling interest in the multi-use project.

The food hall and first level projects are underway and "we're having just a huge influx of leasing inquiries," Rogers said. It's set to open in September 2019.