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Continued: Preservation group spotlights 10 'Most Endangered Historic Places'

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 1, 2008 - 11:19 PM

Long heralded as a landmark of urban design, Peavey Plaza needs a major facelift to preserve its historic value, according to the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

The plaza on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, built in 1974 along with Orchestra Hall, was named Thursday to the group's annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list. Other places on the list include Saint Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Paul, an abandoned jail in Duluth and small-town bank east of Lake Mille Lacs.

Adding Peavey Plaza to the endangered-places list hopefully will spur its renovation, said Bonnie McDonald, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota executive director.

Talk of renewing the plaza began last year when plans for a $90 million renovation of Orchestra Hall were announced. The original plan, which is being reexamined, was to expand Orchestra Hall's lobby by extending it onto the portion of the plaza that the orchestra owns. The city owns the majority of the plaza.

"As we talked to community leaders and potential donors of the project, we were universally asked, 'What are you going to do about Peavey Plaza?'" said Gwen Pappas, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Orchestra.

McDonald said Peavey Plaza, which serves as an amphitheater for such events as Sommerfest, has become over the years a patchwork of repairs and improvements that is out of character with the original design. And the pool and fountain, which was key to the design, is usually dry, she said.

Being placed on the annual list has helped motivate public support to save other historic places, such as Floral Hall, an exhibition hall on the Olmsted County Fairgrounds in Rochester that also is on the 2008 list. State and local preservation activists last month helped persuade the County Board to renovate the building, McDonald said.

Other places on the 2008 endangered list include:

St. Louis County Jail, Duluth: Built in 1923, the neoclassical jail was closed in 1995.

Mantorville Unaffiliated Normal School, Mantorville: The vacant limestone building, constructed in the late 19th century, housed a teacher training school beginning in 1912.

The McGrath Old State Bank, McGrath: Opened in 1913 in the small community 20 miles east of Lake Mille Lacs.

Layman's/Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, Minneapolis: Established in 1853 at 2925 Cedar Av. S. five years before Minnesota became a state.

Oakland Apartments, Minneapolis: A three-story, red limestone and brick residential building on the east edge of downtown at 213-215 S. 9th St.

St. Anthony Falls Historic District Archaeological Resources, Minneapolis: The district, which spans both banks of the Mississippi River, includes historic properties.

St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Paul: A Gothic Revival-style church built in 1919 and located near Dale Street and University Avenue.

The Buch House, Shakopee: Built in 1875 of locally made brick for lumber merchant Frank Buch at 227 4th Av. W. in downtown Shakopee.

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