Project Overview

“Ryan Companies US, Inc. recently had the opportunity to work with Meghan and her team for the first time on a historic project. We found the company to be very knowledgeable, extremely responsive, possess great communication skills, produce comprehensive and professional documentation and to be totally service-focused. We subsequently have awarded additional work to the firm. Working with Meghan and her team has been an enjoyable experience and we look forward to building even a stronger relationship.”
— Bob Parr, Ryan Companies, Director of Development

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Client: Ryan Companies

Constructed: 1919

Project Date: 2015

Project Scope: Historic Building Documentation

Preservation Design Works (PVN) was retained by Ryan Companies to document the history of the Star Tribune building prior to its demolition. Working with the City of Minneapolis, PVN developed a narrative history of the building, the Minneapolis Daily Star, the Minneapolis Journal, the Minneapolis Tribune, and the Cowles family that satisfied both the City of Minneapolis and Ryan Companies’ requirements for documentation. 

PVN’s research team was able to construct this narrative history through extensive archival research that included the examination of historic building plans, analysis of historic photographs, and close reading of historic newspaper collections. As part of the documentation requirements, PVN prepared an annotated bibliography to guide future research and help scholars identify and locate source material. The building documentation also included the production of archival quality photographs of the building, taken by Daniel Pratt. PVN acted as project manager for this portion of the documentation.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune exists as the result of a century of consolidation of smaller newspapers, most notably the Cowles family-driven merger of the Minneapolis Daily Star, the Minneapolis Journal, and the Minneapolis Tribune. Research indicated that the history of the Streamline Moderne building at the corner of Portland Avenue and South 5th Street reflects these consolidations. PVN documented the series of Larson & McLaren-designed renovations and additions to the original four-story red brick commercial building designed by Oscar Newstrom in 1919 to house the Minneapolis Daily Star. Between 1940 and 1966, Larson & McLaren designed expansions that increased the building’s size by more than 200,000 square feet and transformed the red brick façade to the buff limestone and black granite Moderne building that was synonymous with the newspaper from 1949 through 2014.

When faced with the demolition of an historic resource, historic building documentation is one step in mitigating the loss. The final report is a valuable tool that can help researchers, historians, and community members understand a city’s past. 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, structural engineering, and construction history. PVN’s research team meets the Professional Qualification Standards in History, Architectural History, and Historic Architecture.