Star Tribune Building Series: Did You Know?

This is the second blog post in a three-part series on the Minneapolis Star Tribune building that was located at 425 Portland Avenue South in Minneapolis. This post will uncover some interesting tidbits of the building's past. The first blog featured architecture nomenclature; the final post will discuss the amalgamation of Minneapolis and St. Paul newspaper companies. Preservation Design Works conducted the historical building documentation prior to demolition. The explanations of the "Did You Knows" are excerpted from the “Documentation of Building History,” written by PVN's Tamara Halvorsen Ludt

Did you know that sister cities Minneapolis and St. Paul had intense newspaper rivalries in 1876, which resulted in the creation of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Tribune, an early predecessor of the Star Tribune?

In 1876, the St. Paul Pioneer, the St. Paul Press, the Minneapolis Tribune and the Minneapolis Evening Mail merged to become the Pioneer Press and Tribune. The Pioneer Press and Tribune served as the morning paper for both cities and the Evening Tribune, created the same year, served as the Minneapolis evening paper. [1] Because each city viewed the other as its rival, the residents of Minneapolis were unhappy that their morning news was coming from St. Paul. Tensions reached their peak in 1890 when the cities were engaged in a census war and the Pioneer Press and Tribune had taken an increasingly “anti-Minneapolis” stance. “Minneapolis” was dropped from the paper’s masthead in 1890, making the newspaper the St. Paul Pioneer Press. [2]

In 1879, the citizens of Minneapolis had the Evening Tribune, but they still did not have a Minneapolis-based morning paper. The Pioneer Press and Tribune owned the morning Associated Press (AP) franchise for Minneapolis but did not publish it in an effort to keep Minneapolis readers buying the Pioneer Press and Tribune. A dozen Minneapolis citizens, nicknamed “The Twelve Apostles,” negotiated a deal with the Pioneer Press that would allow them to purchase the AP franchise for $18,000. In 1880, General A.B. Nettleton and David Blakely paid off the debt and became equal partners in the re-established Minneapolis Tribune.[3] (The complexities of the various newspaper acquisitions will be continued in the third blog post of this series.)

Did you know Gene Autry ("singing cowboy"), Jack Dempsey (heavyweight champion), and Leo Durocher (manager of the New York Giants) attended the dedication of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune building’s renovation completion?

The Star and Tribune hosted a ten-day dedication program from May 22 to June 1, 1949. In addition to tours of the building, guests received balloons and a color comic about the newspapers that was printed for the occasion. The festivities included a special dinner for 3,500 Star and Tribune employees and celebrity guests, and a 515 pound three-dimensional cake decorated in the new building’s likeness that was baked by the Minneapolis Radisson’s pastry chef and given to the papers as a gift to celebrate the new building. 

Did you know that the Star Tribune won two Pulitzer Prizes for local reporting in 2013?

Brad Schrade, Jeremy Olson, and Glenn Howatt of the Star Tribune received two Pulitzer Prizes for their powerful reports on the spike in infant deaths at poorly regulated day-care homes, resulting in legislative action to strengthen rules.

The Pulitzer Prize for local reporting is awarded “for a distinguished example of reporting on significant issues of local concern, demonstrating originality and community expertise, using any available journalistic tool.”







  1. Hage, Newspapers on the Minnesota Frontier, 130; Frank L. Thresher, “Minneapolis Newspapers, Fair Yet Fearless, Fight for Bigger, Better City,” in Minneapolis Golden Jubilee (Minneapolis: Tribune Job Printing Co., 1917), 53.
  2. Thresher, “Minneapolis Newspapers," 53.
  3. Marion D. Shutter, History of Minneapolis: Gateway to the Northwest, Vol. I (Chicago-Minneapolis: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1923), 440-441.