Streetscapes: Celebrating Minnesota architecture

Streetscapes is a column devoted to Minnesota architecture. Writers critique, explore and explain the built environment, from brand-new buildings to revered older ones.

November 15
The Minnehaha Academy Upper School Campus opened on Aug, 19, 2019. The light-filled new buildings y connect the school to its historic grounds and nat

Rebuilt Minnehaha Academy forges connection to past, neighborhood and nature

Two years after a fatal explosion, the design for the rejuvenated campus reaches toward the future.
November 8
Large historical panoramas hang in the Wells Fargo Bank building’s skyway in Downtown East.

You can learn a lot about Minneapolis history by walking the skyways

Photos, murals and other collections make the skyways into mini-museums.
October 25
Hampshire Arms, 9th Street and S. 4th Avenue, Minneapolis.

Affordable housing was once a staple of our downtowns. Here's what happened

Residential hotels and rooming houses in Minneapolis and St. Paul offered alternatives to houses and apartments.
October 7
Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

Take a photo tour of Mpls. in 1907 with astonishing, interactive panorama

A panoramic photo of the city taken on a large-format camera in 1907 offers an incredible time capsule. "It reveals things that essentially nobody ever saw before. It's so immersive."
September 27
The residence of John E. Bell at 24th Street and Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Bell was a merchant, wholesaler and banker.

This 1885 Park Avenue mansion was the queen of the Queen Annes

With its balconies, porches, dormers and gingerbread trim, this Park Avenue mansion in Minneapolis was the giddiest of them all.
August 23
Passengers navigated a crowded subway platform in New York City.

The Twin Cities didn't get a subway in the 1900s, and here's why

In the early 1900s, there was talk of building one. It would have put its mark on the metro.
Stage & Arts
August 17
A fire destroyed St. Olaf’s Catholic Church in Minneapolis in 1953.

Elegant Gothic church dominated Minneapolis skyline — until it burned a second time

An iconic sanctuary survived an 1888 fire and a 1904 tornado only to burn down years later.
Stage & Arts
August 9
The fountains at the renovated Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis flowed over the reflecting pool.

$10 million later, the renovated Peavey Plaza is an accessible success

A renovation has restored the downtown gem's singular looks while making it accessible to all.
Stage & Arts
August 2
Casiville Bullard helped lay the brickwork for the Cathedral of St. Paul.

These 3 builders helped shape Twin Cities architectural landscape

Mill City exhibit showcases work of black groundbreakers Cap Wigington, Casiville Bullard and William Hazel.
July 12
The Minnesota on S. 9th Street reopened as Radio City Theater in 1944.

The Minnesota Theater and the Capitol were once the biggest, grandest movie palaces in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis and St. Paul were once home to massive, elaborately designed theaters.
July 5
The Van Dusen company placed business card ads in the Saturday Evening Spectator, which promoted the city of Minneapolis.

An 1889 issue of the Saturday Evening Spectator shows a fanciful Minneapolis

A late 19th-century newspaper promoted Minneapolis by depicting it with fanciful buildings.
June 28
Landscape architect Arthur Carhart envisioned the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with the interconnected lakes as the roadways.

How a landscape architect's vision for a roadless area led to the Boundary Waters

A young landscape architect's vision of a roadless wilderness laid the groundwork for the Boundary Waters.
June 21
The Stairs in the Emery Hotel, formerly the Scandinavian-American Bank.

In praise of the iconic staircases of the Twin Cities

The grand staircase is disappearing from our skyscrapers and large civic buildings.
June 8
Southdale Library in 1974.

Streetscapes: Why moving the Southdale Library to Southdale mall is a good idea

A proposal to move the 46-year-old Southdale Library into Southdale shopping center makes synergistic sense.
May 31
The Edward Hotel in 1920.

Freeways killed stunning Victorian architecture in St. Paul

The advent of freeways spelled the end of elegant, eclectic neighborhoods near downtown St. Paul.
May 17
The Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul.

Going to Doors Open Minneapolis? Here's how to read the buildings you see

You can often tell at a glance whether a building is residential, commercial, civic or religious.
May 10
Stewart Van Cleve, the Digital Archives and Research Services Librarian at Augsburg University, held the Minneapolis promotional film discovered in th

See a long-lost promotional video that captures Minneapolis in 1968

The film also features a catchy song by the team that wrote "We're Going to Win, Twins."
May 3
Allianz Field in St. Paul is the new home for the Minnesota United FC.

The secret to Allianz Field's amped-up fan experience? It's wrapped in fabric

Allianz Field's unique Teflon-like wrap offers an exotic look and an intense fan experience.
April 19
Architect James Dayton.

Remembering architect James Dayton, creator of iconic Twin Cities buildings

Through his eye-grabbing work, architect James Dayton made the Twin Cities a better, more beautiful place.
April 12
Tale of two Metropolitans: The Minneapolis Metropolitan, at left in 1914, was on Marquette Avenue St. Paul's opera house, at right in 1936, was on E.

Twin Cities were once home to grand opera houses, one prominent in a murder trial

The Minneapolis Metropolitan became the scene of an alibi concocted by a notorious murderer. The architect of St. Paul's Metropolitan helped design Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
March 22
There are two lucky (or unlucky) charms at the University of Minnesota: the Goldy Gopher statue at Coffman Union (above) and the “Platonic Figure”

Minnesota college students study up on their campuses' good (and bad) luck charms

It's said that rubbing Goldy Gopher's teeth before a test can bring good luck. At least, that's what incoming students sometimes hear on campus tours.
March 15
An outdoor pool was among the amenities at the Curtis Hotel Motor Lodge, with Judy Schaefer (left) and Marilynn Johnson taking their ease in 1957.

Why midcentury motels failed in downtown Minneapolis

Affordable, accessible motor inns were once the place to stay downtown. That all began to change in the 1960s.
March 8
The recent cold snap is a reminder of how skyways make downtown livable — and unique. The view toward Target Center down 6th Street.

Winter reminds us why we love the Twin Cities skyways

Not everyone thinks highly of these aboveground, indoor sidewalks. But our recent deep freeze was a reminder of how the skyways make downtown not just livable, but unique.
March 1
Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis is mostly concrete and dominates its site with massive proportions.

Why the Brutalist architecture style in the Twin Cities is literally painful

For a while, it was thought to be forward looking. Now it's widely considered inhumane.
February 1
The 12-story Nicollet Hotel, shown in 1987, was the first building in Minneapolis to be built in the set-back style that gets narrower at the top.

Once-chic Nicollet Hotel in Mpls. Gateway District was design 'triumph'

Rising on the site of the 1858 Nicollet House, the hotel was financed by the public, and torn down in 1991. United Properties has proposed a 33-story glass office tower for the site.