Meet Laurel Fritz

1. How long have you been part of the PVN team and what drew you to historic preservation?

I started working with PVN as an architectural historian in September 2013.

I studied historic preservation in graduate school because it was a way to combine my interest in architectural history with (ideally) proactive maintenance of our built environment. Furthermore, preservation is a flexible field and I love the variety that I experience in my day-to-day work. Over the course of school and my career, I’ve taken oral histories, done archival research and writing, completed design reviews, and taken part in enacting federal, state, and local laws.

I was drawn to PVN because of the company’s unique business model and commitment to keeping older and historic buildings in use. I love that we consider “older” buildings to be just as important a part of the built environment as buildings that enjoy official historic designation. I also feel strongly about PVN’s collaborative office culture. PVN is able to produce such a high quality product for our clients because, for every project, we draw on each staff member’s expertise and experience.

2. We all enjoy sharing the latest books we have read in our monthly “What We’re Reading” blog post. What genre is your favorite? Can you share a title or two that stick out as good reads? 

Prior to working at PVN, I worked for the Saint Paul Public Library system and spent a lot of time with the teen collection. I still like to keep up with what is happening in the teen fiction world and am always on the lookout for books with strong female characters, such as Graceling by Kristin Cashore; Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy; the Sally Lockhart Mysteries by Phillip Pullman. 

I also read a lot of non-fiction, usually on completely random topics. Mary Roach is always good for an interesting look at a science-y topic.

4. Most of us in the office have pets--a good mix of cat and dog lovers. Do you have pets of your own?

I have two cats – Bruce and Sparkles, who is more commonly known as “The Tiny Lady.”

Bruce has the biggest ginger cheeks you have ever seen on a cat and is almost always found in the presence of a stuffed rat. He is an older brother of Abner - PVN Director of Research Tamara Halvorsen Ludt’s cat.

The Tiny Lady is a miracle cat – as a newborn she was abandoned in a garbage can and rescued by my sister-in-law, who bottle fed her (every three hours!) for weeks until she was old enough to eat solid food. The Tiny Lady takes her job of supervising the neighborhood very seriously and every day she systematically rotates through spots near each window in our house.  

5. What’s your favorite place/space in Minnesota?

I’m pretty fickle when it comes to favorite spots, but currently my list looks like this:

  1. Andersen Library lobby on the west bank of the University of Minnesota campus – It reminds me of a circus tent, and I CAN NOT WAIT for Post-Modern architecture to age in to “historic” status
  2. The Minnehaha Liquor store sign on the corner of Lake and Minnehaha. The mid-century signs on this stretch of East Lake never fail to make me smile.
  3. Ralph Rapson’s State Capitol Credit Union/SE Branch Library. This tiny gem exhibits all the classic characteristics of a mid-century structure with bonus board-formed concrete to stare at.
  4. The Degree of Honor Protective Association Building in downtown Saint Paul. A tall office building built by a women-run insurance agency in 1964 – its story would be compelling even if it weren’t also beautiful.

6. Something about me that not everyone knows.

My undergrad degree is in art – for better or worse I’m responsible for the large painting hanging in the PVN lounge.

As exhibited in the photo of me in this post, I have an insatiable sweet tooth.

7.  Conclusion – education, credentials, experience.

I hold a BA in art and religion from St. Olaf College and am finalizing my thesis in order to complete my MS in Heritage Preservation and Conservation from the University of Minnesota. I meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Qualification Standards in Architectural History.

At PVN, Laurel works with our clients on Historic Tax Credit Applications, National Register Nominations, Historical Research, and developing Preservation Project Strategies. Contact Laurel at or 612.843.4140.