Repairs began this week on the aging grain elevator that is a part of the historic Washburn "A" Mill Complex in downtown Minneapolis.
The Washburn Crosby Elevator No. 1, located adjacent to the Mill City Museum, is made up of 15, 128-foot-tall cylindrical grain bins topped with a 5-story headhouse structure on which the iconic "Gold Medal Flour” sign is perched.
Parts of the elevator have deteriorated and can pose safety hazards. The exterior concrete on the grain bins is cracking and could fall to the ground. Also, openings in the windows, doors and concrete roof structures could allow birds, rain, snow and wind to enter the building and further deteriorate the structure.
Crews will replace the bin roof (demolishing the concrete and installing new pre-cast concrete), repair and stabilize the headhouse concrete roof, make repairs to the exterior concrete on the vertical sides of the bins and seal the windows and door openings of the headhouse.
The project began Monday and is scheduled to last until Nov. 30.
The elevator was originally constructed between 1906 and 1908. It was one of the first large-scale concrete grain storage facilities with exposed circular bin construction to be built in the country. The Washburn Crosby Company, which later became General Mills, operated the grain elevator until the mid-1980s. In 1988, the Minneapolis Community Development Agency acquired the structure. The Minnesota Historical Society, which is undertaking the repairs, purchased the property in 1998 in preparation for the development of the Mill City Museum.
The Mill City Museum will continue to be open during the repairs. For safety reasons, a section of West River Parkway will be closed to car and pedestrian traffic when work crews are present during the week starting April 19. For updates, check here.