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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 of the Minneapolis Talmud Torah at 1616 Queen Avenue North in Minneapolis, 1951. Photograph by the Minneapolis Star Journal Tribune.

Minneapolis Talmud Torah

Exterior of the Minneapolis Talmud Torah at 1616 Queen Avenue North in Minneapolis, 1951. Photograph by the Minneapolis Star Journal Tribune.

Color image of a detail view of the exterior of St. Paul’s Highland water tower designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1928. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 4, 2014.

Highland Water tower detail

Detail view of the exterior of St. Paul’s Highland water tower designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1928. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 4, 2014.

Color image of St. Paul’s Wilder Playground Building designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1941. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 15, 2014.

Wilder playground building

St. Paul’s Wilder Playground Building designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1941. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 15, 2014.

Color image of the exterior of St. Paul’s Highland water tower designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1928. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 4, 2014.

Highland Water tower

Exterior of St. Paul’s Highland water tower designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1928. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 4, 2014.

Color image of the Harriet Island pavilion in St. Paul designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1941. Since its construction, the building has been renamed the Clarence W. Wigington Pavilion. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 5, 2014.

Clarence W. Wigington Pavilion

Harriet Island pavilion in St. Paul designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1941. Since its construction, the building has been renamed the Clarence W. Wigington Pavilion. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 5, 2014.

Color image of the Monroe Junior High School auditorium in St. Paul designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1940. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 14, 2014.

Monroe auditorium exterior

Monroe Junior High School auditorium in St. Paul designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1940. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 14, 2014.

Color image of St. Paul’s Minnehaha Playground Building designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1940. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 14, 2014.

Minnehaha playground building

St. Paul’s Minnehaha Playground Building designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1940. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 14, 2014.

Color image of St. Paul’s Hamline Playground Building designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1940. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 4, 2014.

Hamline playground building

St. Paul’s Hamline Playground Building designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1940. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 4, 2014.

Color image of the front entrance of Marshall Junior High School (now Webster Elementary School) in St. Paul designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1924 and 1925. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 15, 2014.

Front entrance of Webster Elementary School

Front entrance of Marshall Junior High School (now Webster Elementary School) in St. Paul designed by Clarence Wigington and built in 1924 and 1925. Photographed by Paul Nelson on August 15, 2014.

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