Downtown Sentinel to Get Makeover

April 20, 2012 by  

A Minneapolis landmark is about to undergo a face lift. Renovations have begun on the Washburn Crosby Elevator Nov 1, part of the Washburn “A” Mill complex downtown that is a historic site and future tourist attraction. Fifteen soaring columns of grain bins make up the 128-foot tall structure which is over 100-years-old. Written across the top of the 5-story towers, located next to Mill City Museum, is “Gold Medal Flour”.

Sections of the historic elevator have been declared unsafe, with cracks and crumbling concrete sections. Open areas have allowed weather and birds to enter, which will advance any further deterioration.

Renovations will include repairs to the concrete, the roof, sealing windows and doors and resurfacing the concrete on the vertical cylinders of each grain bin.

The Washburn Crosby elevator was completed in 1908 and is thought to be the first of its kind in the United States. The company eventually became General Mills which continued to use the grain elevator until the 1980s. It was taken over by the Minneapolis Community Development Agency in 1988. Ten years later, The Minnesota Historical Society bought the mammoth structure and has undertaken the renovation in conjunction with the Mill City Museum.

Once the restoration is complete, the historic value can be documented and the story of the first concrete grain elevators in America told in flyer or brochure printing which may be undertaken by the museum.

The renovations are expected to be completed about Nov. 30. West River Parkway will be closed to foot and vehicular traffic for safety reasons.