Location: St. Louis Park, MN
Client: Bader Development
Project Date: 2015
Project Scope: Historic Documentation
The first ring suburbs of the Twin Cities are not often noted for their collection of historic properties and resources. When a new multi-family development was proposed for several parcels at a busy intersection, concern was raised over the loss of a distinctive round concrete block commercial structure. The City and local historical society referenced a recent survey at the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) that had identified the Hoffman Callan Company building as a potential historic resource for its unique architecture. The modern building was designed by architect James Dresser, a Prairie School architect and former Taliesin Fellow. The building was specifically designed to house local entrepreneur Elliott Hoffman’s two businesses, the Hoffman Callan Printing Company and Motor Travel Services. Dresser conceived of the building’s round design as a way to optimize the efficiency of the printing process.
When faced with the demolition of a resource, historic building documentation is one step in mitigating the loss. PVN’s worked with the developer and City to propose a mitigation plan to document the building, and distribute the results of the research to appropriate archives and repositories. PVN researched and developed a narrative history of the building along with a detailed physical building description. The report was designed to voluntarily meet the Minnesota Historic Property Record Level II Documentation Standards. PVN located the original building drawings, researched the social and architectural history of the building, and integrated the findings into a compelling written and illustrated history. PVN also identified and spoke with the original building owner. The oral history interview added a unique user’s perspective to the historical documentation. As part of the documentation process, PVN also retained sub-consultant Dan Pratt, an architectural photographer and entrepreneur, to complete the archival photography.
The final report is available at the Northwest Architectural Archives of the University of Minnesota, as well as at the St. Louis Park historical society. It is a valuable tool that helps researchers, historians, and community members understand the City’s past, and remember its architectural and business history. PVN is uniquely positioned to bring added value to documentation projects, as our interdisciplinary staff combines historical consultants and researchers, historical architects, and expertise in city planning, midcentury architecture, and construction history. PVN’s research team meets the Professional Qualification Standards in History, Architectural History, and Historic Architecture.
Photo Credit: Dan Pratt, ARCH3, LLC