Minneapolis buildings highlighted during concrete convention

 During the week of April 14, approximately 1,500 concrete and building construction professionals will descend upon Minneapolis for the American Concrete Institute’s (ACI) annual spring convention.  Highlighted at the convention will be four historic and notable structures of the Twin Cities: The Plymouth Building, Washburn Crosby Elevator No. 1, House of Hope Bell Tower, and the Washburn Park Water Tower. 

Meghan Elliott, founder and owner of Preservation Design Works in Minneapolis, will present to conference attendees details on the city’s Plymouth Building, which is located at 12 South Sixth Street.  When this building was constructed in 1909-1910, it was proclaimed to be the “world’s largest all-reinforced concrete office building.”  Although the veracity of this claim is unproven, the building was innovative in its early use of a true reinforced concrete “skeleton” frame.  In 2012, the Plymouth Building was registered as an official historic site by the National Register of Historic Places.  

Chris Hartnett, structural engineer at Meyer Brogman Johnson in Minneapolis, will present on the history of concrete grain elevators, which are ubiquitous throughout the grain producing regions of the U.S.  Washburn Crosby Elevator No. 1, located at 704 South Second Street was constructed from 1906-1908 by the Haglin-Stahr Company.  The elevator bins are made of reinforced concrete built using Haglin’s patented slip-form method.  The elevator underwent extensive stabilization work in 2012.

Also featured at the ACI convention will be the House of Hope Bell Tower, located at 797 Summit Avenue in Saint Paul.  Built in 1914, the Gothic structure underwent renovations with reinforced concrete walls and columns to provide lateral support for the more than 1300 stone pieces.  

The Washburn Park Water Tower, located at 401 Prospect Avenue, is also named a notable concrete structure in the Twin Cities.  The tower, which is still in service, was built in 1931-1932 and incorporates a post-tensioned reinforcement system invented to prevent cracking of the concrete.  The tower is adorned with eight pairs of 16 ft. tall “guardians of health” and 8 ft. tall eagles.   

The “Concrete in Historic Structures” session at the ACI convention will take place Tuesday, April 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Learn more at concrete.org or follow @ConcreteACI on Twitter.