Architectural Oddities

We love our enthusiastic bike tourists! Just earlier this summer, we had a young couple who were studying architecture, so they were quite interested by some of the buildings and structures along the tour and we did our best to give whatever extra historical information we knew about them. On this particular tour, the Farmer’s Market Tour, we get to go by one very unique building in Minneapolis that many people pass by daily and might not even have noticed its uniqueness or what could also be seen as its oddities. This building is the Advance Thresher Building/Emerson-Newton Plow Company Building. We love this building! It’s beauty perhaps mutes its oddities – and that’s why we love it the most.

Advance Thresher Co/Emerson-Newton Plow Co Building from adjacent parking lot.

Advance Thresher Co/Emerson-Newton Plow Co Building from adjacent parking lot.

The Thresher Building (as we’ll call it from now on as a shortened name) was built in 1900 – wait, no – 1904 – wait, no – 1900. Waaait a minute! That’s right…the Advance Thresher Building was built in both 1900 AND 1904! Why? One half of the building was built in 1900 and the other half in 1904. But it is one building, right? Yes, it is. It has a common lobby. There’s more! One half of the building has six floors and the other has seven. What?! Yes! We bet you didn’t even notice that there were more windows on one side, did you? Take a second look at the picture above.

A peak through a chain-link fence at the Advance Thresher Building

A peak through a chain-link fence at the Advance Thresher Building

Facade of Emerson-Newton Plow Co. Building

Facade of Emerson-Newton Plow Co. Building

Minneapolis architects, Kees and Colburn, (Kees also a partner in designing Minneapolis City Hall) designed this building. The Advance Thresher building has 6 floors and the Emerson-Newton Plow Company building has 7 floors. They share one common lobby but you can only access one side of each building, there are separate elevators in each building. You can even note a seam line down the middle. These buildings were former agricultural equipment manufacturing facilities, one of those items being a thresher, and thus you have the Advanced Thresher Co.

Facade/middle seam of Advance Thresher Co/Emerson-Newton Plow Co Building

Facade/middle seam of Advance Thresher Co/Emerson-Newton Plow Co Building

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported this year that the Thresher Building was purchased by Sherman and Associates and they are planning on doing a $100 million redevelopment of the building into apartments and retail space, including adding it to the downtown network of skyways. This should be an interesting project – we just hope that they don’t compromise the historical nature and the beauty of this building.

 

Sources:

http://finance-commerce.com/2011/07/building-blocks-thresher-square/

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/hpc/landmarks/hpc_landmarks_3rd_st_s_700-08_advance_thresher_emerson-newton

http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/morning_roundup/2014/06/developer-plans-hotel-apartments-in-downtowns.html