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How Architecture Has Shaped the State

Three Thousand Years of Building in Minnesota

Expert Essay: Architectural historian Larry Millett, author of Lost Twin Cities and numerous other books, offers a colorful tour of notable Minnesota buildings and building styles, from American Indian burial mounds to Beaux Arts monuments and suburban big boxes.

Black and white photograph of the exterior, L. S. Donaldson Company, 1949. Photograph by Norton & Peel.

Exterior, L. S. Donaldson Company

Exterior, L. S. Donaldson Company, 1949. Photograph by Norton & Peel.

Black and white photograph of Donaldson’s Glass Block, 1944. Photograph by Norton & Peel.

Donaldson’s Glass Block store

Donaldson’s Glass Block, 1944. Photograph by Norton & Peel.

Black and white photograph of Donaldson’s Glass Block, c.1920. Photograph by Charles P. Gibson.

Donaldson’s Glass Block

Donaldson’s Glass Block, c.1920. Photograph by Charles P. Gibson.

Color image of the James J. Hill House on Summit Ave., St. Paul, c.2010.

James J. Hill House

James J. Hill House on Summit Ave., St. Paul, c.2010.

Black and white photograph of James J. Hill residence on Ninth and Canada, St. Paul, 1884.

James J. Hill residence on Ninth and Canada, St. Paul

James J. Hill residence on Ninth and Canada, St. Paul, 1884.

Black and white photograph of Motor Corps headquarters at Colonel Winfield Stephens Buick dealership in Minneapolis, c.1918.

Motor Corps headquarters

Motor Corps headquarters at Colonel Winfield Stephens' Buick dealership in Minneapolis, c.1918. Photograph from Minnesota Historical Society Sound and Visual Collection II.4.

Color image of the Minnesota Machinery Museum, Hanley Falls. Date unknown.

Minnesota Machinery Museum

Minnesota Machinery Museum, Hanley Falls, date unknown.

Minnesota Machinery Museum

When Hanley Falls School closed in the late 1970s, a few local residents saw an opportunity. Committed to sharing the history of their community, they transformed the white, two-story building on the town square into the Minnesota Machinery Museum. Since 1980, the museum has collected vintage farm equipment and created exhibits celebrating the history and agricultural tradition of Yellow Medicine County.

Black and white photograph of State Capitol Building, c.1900.

State Capitol Building

State Capitol Building, c.1900.

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