Pillsbury A Mill now one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places
|The Pillsbury A Mill today.|
But the National Register of Historic Places looks at it sees one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places -- an important slab of architecture worth preserving from "piecemeal development."
The designation is designed to give developers -- and communities -- second thoughts about firing up a jackhammer or a bulldozer, or to prod communities into saving historic landmarks. This year's list included the Long Island home of the late jazz master John Coltrane, and Belmead-on-the-James, a 2,000-acre former plantation built by slaves sited on Virginia's James River.
Here's why: When Charles Alfred Pillsbury built the mill in 1881, it was the largest of its kind in the world -- its vibrating machinery rattled it so strongly that walls at the top of the structure now bow out almost 2 feet compared to the base. A "masterpiece of industrial architecture," it's been a National Historic Landmark since the '60s.
|The mill as it appeared in the late 1800s. It was the largest of its kind.|
|The mill site as envisioned by developers.|
"But overall it does not change the financial feasibility of the development. We are still planning the same financing structure utilizing low-income housing tax-credits, Federal historic tax credits, State historic tax credits and tax-exempt bonds. The largest difficulty will be coupling historic renovation standards (Minnesota Historical Society and National Park Service) with what visions remain from the previous redevelopment efforts.
Here's a National Trust for Historic Preservation photo tour of the site.