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.

Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)

When the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) opened in 1915 it exhibited 450 pieces of art, most of them on loan. In the twenty-first century it is an encyclopedic art museum, boasting a collection of more than 89,000 objects that span 20,000 years and six continents; special exhibitions on topics that have ranged from Star Wars to Martin Luther; and a presence in the community that reflects more than a century of local support for the arts.

Third Avenue entrance to the Minneapolis Museum of Art

Third Avenue entrance to the Minneapolis Museum of Art

The Third Avenue entrance to the Minneapolis Museum of Art, part of the 1974 expansion designed by Japanese architect Kenzō Tange. Photo by David J . Nordgren, ca. 1975.

Original entrance of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Original entrance of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The original entrance of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, designed by designed by McKim, Mead and White, 1929. Photo by Norton & Peel.

Wu family reception hall

Wu family reception hall

The Wu family reception hall, early seventeenth century. This three-bay reception hall was originally part of a traditional Suzhou-style courtyard house located in the east Dongting district near the present town of Dongshan. From the period rooms of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis. Creative Commons Public Domain 1.0.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)

The original front façade of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) at 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user McGhiever, June 3, 2018. Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.

Exterior of Finstad’s Auto-Marine Shop

Exterior of Finstad’s Auto-Marine Shop

Exterior of Finstad’s Auto-Marine Shop in Ranier. Rainy Lake is visible in the background. Photograph by Marjorie Savage, September 21, 2017.

Valley Grove Church, Wheeling Township

In 1862, the Valley Grove Lutheran congregation erected a church made from local quarried limestone in Wheeling Township. By 1894, it had outgrown the original building and built a wooden Gothic Revival edifice seventy-five feet away. Although the congregation disbanded in 1973, the remaining picturesque site and its structures were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Valley Grove Church

Valley Grove Church

Valley Grove Church, built in 1862 in Wheeling Township; photographed in 2019. Used with the permission of Rice County Historical Society.

Valley Grove (West) Church

Valley Grove (West) Church

Valley Grove (West) Church, Wheeling Township, 2019. Used with the permission fo Rice County Historical Society.

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