The Universal Laboratories building played a key role during World War II by ensuring that the United States had an adequate domestic supply of the essential crude drug ergot. As war threatened to cut off imported supplies of crude ergot, Universal Laboratories developed an effective collecting and processing operation in Dassel.
St. Paul's Commerce Building was originally built to house the Commercial Club of St. Paul and the offices of the St. Paul Association of Commerce. Years later, it reflects the economic strength and civic influence of St. Paul's business organizations at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Commerce Building is typical of buildings designed to house commercial and civic groups as well as private tenants.