Each year the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota releases its list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places, with the hope of drawing enough public attention to save otherwise threatened structures.
This year, the list didn’t come soon enough for one well-known drive-in: Porky’s.
In this evening’s release the folks at the alliance note:
The demise of Porky’s raises troubling questions about the future of other historic sites along the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT) line. Architectural surveys carried out during LRT planning stages determined that Porky’s and nearly two dozen other properties were individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This federal process is supposed to ensure that impacts on historic properties are carefully considered. Unfortunately, Porky’s fate was determined in a rash decision by private owners that did not include a thorough exploration of alternatives or any opportunity for public consultation. Porky’s is gone, but other sites along the St. Paul LRT corridor are still at risk.
Here are the other nine buildings on this year’s list along with a few historical details provided by the alliance.
Pillsbury A Mill Complex, 301 Main St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
The Pillsbury A Mill on the Mississippi River’s east bank near downtown Minneapolis was once the largest flour mill in the world. The overall 7.9-acre site is approximately three square blocks, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Minneapolis historic site. The “A” Mill building itself is a National Historic Landmark.
Jackson Street Water Tower, 422 Jackson Ave., NW, Elk River, MN 55330
Long a landmark for citizens of Elk River, the Jackson Street Water Tower was once a symbol of engineering technology in the early twentieth century.
St. Peter’s Church, 810 W. 3rd St., Duluth, MN 55806
St. Peter’s Church, once the cornerstone of the Italian-American community in Duluth, was constructed in the mid-1920s. The building’s striking variegated stone exterior was the work of Italian-American stone masons from the church’s original congregation.
Mayowood Historic District, 3700 Mayowood Rd. SW, Rochester, MN 55902
The Mayowood Historic District includes one of the great county estates in the Midwest, home of the Charles H. Mayo family.
Johnston Hall, 633 SE First St., Faribault, MN 55021
Designed by prominent New York architect Henry Congdon, Johnston Hall was built in 1888 as a library and seminary faculty residence for the Seabury Divinity School. The building is an excellent example of Richardsonian Romanesque style architecture, constructed of locally quarried blue limestone.
Howe School, E. 38th St. and 43rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406
Howe School, built in 1927, was once the center of community life in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The school design incorporated natural light, ventilation, steam heating, modern sanitation systems, and fireproof construction, as well as public meeting rooms, which helped foster a strong bond between the school and its community.
Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, 1400 N. Union Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537
The Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center was built in 1888, accepted its first patients in 1906, treated thousands of the state’s mentally ill, and sustained the local economy with hundreds of jobs until its closure in 2005. The Fergus Falls complex was built using a model developed by Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride, based on the belief that building design aided in the recuperation and maintenance of mental health.
Dredge William A. Thompson, Mississippi River (Winona vicinity)
For over 70 years, the William A. Thompson was an integral part of maritime activity in the Upper Midwest.
Mitchell Yards, 4685 Redore Rd., Hibbing, MN 55746
In the late nineteenth century, the U.S. became an industrial powerhouse, and the Iron Range of northeastern Minnesota led the way by providing raw materials for the growth of industry. At its heyday, “the Range’s” many iron ore mines buzzed with activity and employed thousands of people. A strong infrastructure of rail and maritime transportation was needed to move the iron ore from the mines to shipping ports in Duluth and on to steel plants in Chicago, Gary, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Railroads played a key role, but many of the structures and switching yards–essential cogs in this industrial process–have been lost.