University of Minnesota demolishes Wesbrook Hall

Wesbrook Hall is now little more than a pile of bricks.

This week two excavators tore down the building that stood in the heart of the U of M’s campus for more than a century.

The demolition is part of the U’s effort to get rid of several aging buildings it considers obsolete.

The loss of this building is a blow to preservationists, who thought it should be renovated and reused.

U of M officials said Wesbrook would cost too much to renovate.  And they claim it crowds nearby Northrop Auditorium, which is currently undergoing an $80 million renovation.

Expect more scenes like this at the U of M.  There are several buildings slated for demolition on the U’s Minneapolis and St. Paul campus in the coming weeks and months.

(Update: Click here for some more photos from the Facebook page of the College of Liberal Arts. Thanks to KellyO for the tip. And below is a video on Westbrook memories, submitted by Greg.)

MPR Photo/Tim Post

Wesbrook Hall before … and after

  • Christopherjgeto

    It was historical murder, they had to gut the building to tear it down, which solved the “problems” with it, so why could the U of M not renovated it from there? 

  • Wesbrook, however old and historical is was, was just a block with tons of windows that probably cost a mint to heat in the winter. It’s sad to see history get reduced to a pile of bricks but there are better, more beautiful buildings on campus worth saving.

    • Space Viking

      I’m with Stu.  Just because something is old does NOT make it worth preserving.

  • Dear U of M: you missed.  The Weismann Art Museum is several blocks to the south.  You can recognize it by the way your eyes get sore looking at it.

  • SomeAsshole

    I’m glad to see it go.  Everything is broken and in horrible shape in these old buildings.  Basically every building in the mall area should go, but that won’t happen.

    • Owl of Minerva

      Your name is apt.

  • KellyO

    The College of Liberal Arts posted a bunch of Wesbrook demolition photos on its Facebook page just this morning, if readers are interested in seeing more.

  • Greg

    I also found a nice video online with a U historian talking about some of the stories surrounding Wesbrook:

    • Anonymous

      I’ve also added that to the post.

  • Enoon

    Wesbrook Hall was in horrible shape with many problems: the lower level flooded when it rained, the roof leaked, the windows and walls were uninsulated — and it was filled with black mold. To fix it would have required more than just gutting it. Demolition was the only practical option.

  • The worst problem in Wesbrook was the mold. Some people who had to work in that building suffered significant health problems  because of it. Just walking into the building I would experience an acute allergic reaction that made it hard for me to breathe, so I had to leave. The issue of historical preservation should not force people to work in an unhealthy environment.

  • Englishwidget

    Am I the only one to spot the typo here.. “Expert more scenes like this at the U of M.”? … surely it should have read expect more scenes like this at the U of M.

    • Anonymous

      Fixed. Thanks for the catch.

  • Dk

    My alma mater is the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver.  UBC has a Wesbrook Building and a Wesbrook Mall.  The building and street are named after the same Wesbrook as was Wesbrook Hall at U of M (Frank Wesbrook).  Sorry to see this little connection disappear.