Governor weighs in on Dayton’s mummified monkey mystery

It seems like monkey escapes were a thing at Dayton’s.

A mummified monkey found recently by crews demolishing the interior of the iconic downtown Minneapolis store set in motion a wave of nostalgia and monkey stories this week.

Given the fact that the words “Dayton’s,” “monkey,” “mummy” and “mystery” drove much of the Twin Cities social media traffic this week, it was only natural that reporters on Thursday would ask Gov. Mark Dayton, an heir to the Dayton retail fortune, for a monkey story.

He did not disappoint.

First, he made clear that he was “not responsible” for any monkey mischief personally. He then recalled that when he worked at the store 50 years ago in the summer of 1968, Dayton’s had set up a rain forest exhibit on the eighth floor to get people to shop on the way up and on the way down.

“They had this rain forest — big netting — and they had these monkeys and then they had these chirping birds,” he said. “And someone didn’t figure out that the monkeys were carnivores.”

The governor said he witnessed an encounter between one of the birds and one of the monkeys that apparently didn’t go well for the bird — “I wont get into the graphic detail in front of the cameras here.”

The next day, he said, crews had set up netting to segregate the birds from the monkeys, “and they said that one monkey got out and went into the air duct.”

Dayton's Monkey Mystery

The Dayton's monkey mystery continues with additional information from Gov. Mark Dayton about when they discovered monkeys are carnivores at his family's famous department store. Workers recently found mummified remains while refurbishing the building.

Posted by Almanac on Thursday, April 12, 2018

Other monkey escape stories this week included one from the son of the former customer service executive at Dayton’s, who said his father and other Dayton’s staff had tried to rescue a monkey rumored to be living in the ductwork.

Robbinsdale’s mayor alleged that his prankster father may have set a monkey loose in Dayton’s after stealing it.

There was also news of a non-Dayton’s monkey alleged to have roamed the dark corners of the Minneapolis Orpheum theater after a giveaway pegged to a Laurel and Hardy movie went awry.

Questions yet to be answered:

  • Are the monkey stories all about one monkey, or were the Dayton’s ducts populated by simians gone rogue?
  • Could the Orpheum monkey have found his way to Dayton’s?
  • Anyone else have a monkey escape story?