Historic Structures

Building Description Minneapolis Brewing Company - Grain Belt Brewery, Minneapolis Minnesota

The "L"-shaped brew house, built 1891-1892, fronts on Marshall Street and 13th Avenue NE and stands between five and six stories high. Constructed on a tall limestone foundation, the load-bearing walls are made of cream-colored Milwaukee brick. The Marshall Street facade is two-thirds of a block long and divided into five, unequal-size primary divisions, each several bays wide. Located at the northeast corner is the tallest part of the building, the five bay, six-story fermentation and refrigeration unit with paired towers terminating in two hipped roofs. It features three blind arches on the ground floor with large stone voussoirs; identical stone arches are repeated on first floor of the building's facade. The upper stories display a series of blind windows, and a row of five narrow, semicircular windows flanked by two larger windows of the same design at the top of each tower. A variety of decorative stone and corbeled brick enhance both the Marshall Street and 13th Avenue elevations.

The next division is five stories in height and three bays in width, with the central bay capped by the brightly painted logo, "FRIENDLY GRAIN BELT BEER" above which is "18 M 91." The ground level is marked by three large openings which were covered with wood at an unknown date. Fenestration of the upper stories varies on each level: windows on the second and third floors have stone sills and flat lintels; segmental arches mark the fourth story; and semicircular windows pierce the top floor (some openings were enclosed with brick or glass block at an undetermined date). A large semicircular stone arch accentuates the top floor of the central bay.

The third division, which housed the mixing and cooking kettles, is also five stories high and three bays wide. It terminates in a wide hipped roof capped by a large square, hipped belvedere and an ornamental iron widow's walk. This division, like the previous one, has three arched openings on the first floor. There are rectangular windows on the second and third stories, segmentally arched openings on the fourth floor (all of which were partially infilled with glass block at an unknown date), and nine 2/2 semicircular windows on the top story. The two outer bays project slightly and terminate in parapet walls decorated by finials atop the strip pilasters.

The fourth division of the brew house, which contained the original grain bins, is six stories high with a tall mansard dome that has oculi on all four sides and is capped by a steel lantern. A wide arched entrance is located on the ground level and a series of multi-light windows punctuate the second through the fifth floors, with a wide, semicircular stone arch spanning the fifth story. There are four 2/2 segmentally arched windows on the sixth floor. Attached to the south wall of this division is a six-story malt elevator that was added in 1904 to match the original brew house facade in design and materials. It has a multi-story blind arch reaching five floors capped by a series of five piers and small rectangular windows below the corbeled cornice. The south and west walls have massive diamond-shaped logos and "GRAIN BELT BREWERIES INC." just above a stone beltcourse. Three 4/4 double hung windows are located below the cornice on the south elevation.

The north brew house wall facing 13th Avenue replicates the Marshall Street facade in materials, fenestration, and style. Extending west from the fermentation and refrigeration unit is a narrow, five-story section and four 4 1/2-story identical bays that served as stock rooms. The 13th Avenue elevation originally continued west with an eight bay, two-story keg house, but this was removed in 1976.

Within the brew house courtyard is a rectangular, two-story brick power plant, built in 1891-1892. It stands on a limestone foundation and has segmentally arched windows (infilled with glass block at an unknown date), a corbeled cornice and a 160'-high brick chimney. A series of tunnels links this building with the other brewery buildings.

In 1893 the one-story steel and brick wagon shed was built directly south of the brew house. Its facade is divided by several strip pilasters and is unbroken except for one door in the south corner and an arched opening in the north side. The stepped parapet wall facing Marshall Street was capped with wood shingles at an undetermined date and obscures the gable roof. In 1913 a pipe and millwright shop was added to the west wall of the wagon shed. It is made of bricks, roughly square in plan, two stories high, and has segmentally arched double hung windows. Attached to the north wall of the pipe and millwright shop is a small, one-story concrete block building of an unknown date.

In 1893 the company built a two-story, rectangular office directly across Marshall Street from the 1904 malt elevator. It has a limestone foundation, cream brick walls, and elements of Richardsonian Romanesque design. The three bay facade is dominated by a projecting, one-story portico with a semicircular stone arch supported by two polished granite columns with enriched capitals. Adorning each corner of the stone balustrade are two sets of carved beer steins decorated by circular and floral motifs. The recessed entrance is flanked by two 1/1 double hung sash windows and corner pilasters, while the second story has three pairs of the same windows. An iron "OFFICE" sign in relief is centered below the cornice, which has a wide band of patterned brick and successive corbels terminating in an arcade table. The building is crowned with a small arcaded parapet above the middle bay, which is stabilized by flanking carved consoles and capped by a pair of finials carved in the shaped of stylized hop plants. Two similar motifs decorate the corner pilasters. The south wall is pierced by a series of foundation level windows, and seven 1/1 double hung sash aligned on the first and second floors. The same patterned brick and corbeling extend the length of the wall. The north elevation is essentially the same as the south side, but has a small brick extension that provides access to the building's lower level. All windows have stone sills and lintels. In 1910 the office length was doubled with a 1 1/2-story, 85'-long addition, which used identical materials, and incorporated a hipped, leaded glass roof for nearly the entire length of the building.

The Office interior has original patterned wainscoting in the 1893 section, while the 1910 addition has a tile mosaic floor, dentil frieze, and decorative logos in each gable. There is a walk-in vault on each floor. The basement level of the addition is known was known as the Friendship Room, a multi-purpose space equipped with dining tables and a bar for annual meetings, informal gatherings, and public parties.

Located across 13th Avenue, the bottling facility, built in 1906, is a two-story cream brick building constructed on a raised basement of rock-faced, coursed limestone. Its facade faces south and is divided by strip pilasters into five bays, with vertically aligned, double hung windows in groups of three in the two end bays, and four in the central bay. Lower story window openings have segmental arches and upper story windows are round arched (the latter were infilled with glass block at an unknown date). The neoclassical central entry has simple engaged piers supporting a formed steel pediment, and the aluminum and glass door is set within a monolithic arch. A simple metal cornice protrudes slightly and is surmounted by a broken parapet at each corner and above the middle bay. A segmentally-headed pediment originally capped the central parapet but was removed at an undetermined date. The east and west walls have the same fenestration as the facade, but the east side also has three large garage-type doors, one of which is enclosed with brick. In 1969 a two-story, steel frame and concrete block addition was attached to the rear of the bottling house.

Immediately west across Ramsey Street and the railroad tracks is the Warehouse, a building similar in size, materials, and design to the Bottling House. The Warehouse originally housed bottle and case storage in the basement and first floors, with saloon fixture storage and a woodworking/cabinet shop on the second story. The five bay facade mimics the fenestration of the Bottling House but retains the original segmentalheaded pediment with the date "1910." The east and west walls are thirteen bays long, each bay being pierced by a pair of double hung windows on both floors. A pair of two-story additions (1949, 1957) made of concrete block and brick extend from the back of the building.

A railroad spur line, added in 1895, is located immediately south of the Power Station. It curves to the west joining the former Northern Pacific Railroad tracks that parallel Ramsey Street.

A bottling house formerly stood south of the Wagon Shed but it was razed in 1929. This area was later maintained in a park-like setting.

Three other buildings stand in close proximity to the brewery complex. They are a one-story cinder block warehouse (ca.1960) northeast of the Office; a one-story brick warehouse (1939, 1967) at the northwest corner of Marshall Street and 13th Avenue NE; and a one story steel frame, brick veneer building (ca.1965) just south of the 1910 Warehouse.