Washburn Crosby Elevator No. 1 Exterior Preservation Project, 2012
UPDATE: On May 16th, 2013 the Minnesota Historical Society and Mill City Museum received a 2013 Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Award for the historic restoration of the Washburn Crosby Elevator No. 1. This annual award, on behalf of the Minneapolis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Preserve Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, recognized the project for which "innovation, creativity, and investigation led to effectively preserving a prominent feature of the Minneapolis riverfront." Also present to receive this award were members of the project team which included MacDonald & Mack Architects, Meyer Borgman Johnson, CPMI, and Cy-Con Construction.
Project construction dates: April 9 to Nov. 15, 2012
Project location: 704 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis; bounded on the south
and west by Mill City Museum, to the east by Chicago Mall/Guthrie Theater,
and to the north by West River Parkway.
What is the scope of the project? The Minnesota Historical Society
(Society) is undertaking a major exterior repair project on the Washburn
Crosby Elevator No. 1 (Elevator) structure located adjacent to the Society’s
Mill City Museum. The Elevator is a component of the historic Washburn “A”
Mill Complex, which is a designated National Landmark and contributing
property within Minneapolis’ St. Anthony Falls Historic District.
What work is being done? The Elevator consists of fifteen (15), 128-foot tall,
cylindrical grain bins with a 5-story Headhouse structure constructed on top of the
bins. The “Gold Medal Flour” sign is attached to the topmost roof of the Headhouse. The work will stabilize deteriorated elements of the Elevator. Work includes:
- Replacing the bin roof (demolishing the concrete and installing new pre-cast concrete.
- Repairing and stabilizing the Headhouse concrete roof.
- Making repairs to the exterior concrete on the vertical sides of the bins.
- Sealing the windows and door openings of the Headhouse.
What impact will this have on the public? Ensuring public safety is the Society’s main concern. In order to create a construction safety perimeter, a section of West River Parkway will be closed to automobile and pedestrian traffic when work crews are present during the week (Monday through Friday). Bicyclists will also be re-routed.
What are the exact dates/times that West River Parkway will be closed? The Parkway will be closed Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., from 11th Avenue South to Portland Avenue. The closure will continue as long as work is being done on the Elevator. Work is expected to run through Nov. 15, 2012, however if work is completed earlier, the Parkway will open earlier.
Will Mill City Museum be open during construction?
Yes. Mill City Museum will continue to operate normally, with no disruption to current programming. For the latest events and programming, visit www.millcitymuseum.org
or call 612-341-7555.
Why is this project being done? A number of elements of the structure have deteriorated and could pose a safety concern. 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.
The Minnesota Historical Society is the chief caretaker of Minnesota’s story which includes preserving historic structures like the Washburn Crosby Elevator No. 1. This work is being overseen by the Society’s Historic Properties Office.
How is this work being communicated to the public?
The Society is communicating with the public in a number of ways. Regular project updates will be posted at www.millcitymuseum.org
. Signage at the Chicago Mall/Guthrie Theatre space will inform pedestrians about the project and share information Grain Elevator history. Signage for traffic will be posted at the road closures, and the news media is being informed through media alerts and invitations to take a guided tour of the project. Staff at Mill City Museum will post updates on the museum’s Facebook page and are also available to answer questions and assist the public with directions.
Who else is involved in this project? The project team includes MacDonald & Mack Architects, Meyer Borgman Johnson Structural Engineers, CPMI, and Cy-Con, Inc. This project has been reviewed and approved by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, the National Park Service’s Mississippi National River & Recreation Area and the State Historic Preservation Office. Permits have been issued by the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.
What is the history of the Elevator? The Elevator was originally constructed between 1906-1908 by the Haglin-Stahr Company of Minneapolis. This structure was one of the first large-scale concrete grain storage facilities with exposed circular bin construction to be built in the country. The Elevator is also a very early example of a continuous pour, slip form construction. The Washburn Crosby Company, which became General Mills in 1928, operated the grain elevator until the mid-1980s. In 1988 the Minneapolis Community Development Agency acquired the historic structure. The Society purchased the property in 1998 in preparation for the redevelopment of the Washburn “A” Mill Complex into a museum.