History Continued Minneapolis Boiler Works Building, Minneapolis Minnesota
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While in operation, the Minneapolis Boiler Works shared its building with several other manufacturers, who remained after it went out of business. One of the earliest tenants was Simon J. McCarthy, a blacksmith specializing in work for the mills. He operated a machine shop in the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building from 1881 to 1904. After retiring, his son, Simon F. McCarthy, ran the shop until 1907. McCarthy chiefly occupied the first floor of the 1885 addition, although he may have moved to the one-story section of the original building in the 1890s.
Another tenant was the mill furnishing firm of Douglas and Hall. Founded sometime around 1879 by the machinists Daniel Douglas and W. S. Hall, the partnership moved into the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building shortly after its construction in 1881. Sometime before 1881. Hall left the company and Douglas was Joined by Joseph M. Schutz, formerly of Wlllford and Northway, manufacturers of mill equipment. Renamed the Phoenix Iron Works Company, the enterprise occupied the two-story section of the original building as well as the second floor of the 1885 addition. The bottom floor was used as a machine shop, and the upper levels were fitted for wood working.
Performing general repair work, as well as manufacturing special belt drives and roller mills, the Phoenix Iron Works rapidly increased its business. Among its most successful items, the company marketed the "Moniter" and "Crown" roller mills, which had been invented by Schutz. In need of more manufacturing space, the Phoenix Iron Works built a new factory in St. Cloud in 1886, retaining its space In the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building for its main offices and a salesroom.
The Phoenix Iron Works Company eventually moved its offices to St. Cloud in 1887. The vacated space in the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building was then filled by Wlllford and Northway. The company had been founded by Joseph L. Willford and Winslow P. Northway to manufacture mill equipment in 1879. By the 1890s, the firm was one of the most successful producers of mill equipment in the city, and had expanded into flour mill design and construction. According to one account, Willford and Northway's "trade extends east to the Atlantic . . . and west to the Pacific. . .."
Willford and Northway changed quarters several times in the 1880s and 1890s to accomodate its rapid growth. The company secured additional shop space on Third Street in 1881, and purchased and refitted the "Model Mill" on First Street and Sixth Avenue (now known as Portland Avenue) in 1885. When the Phoenix Iron Works relocated to St. Cloud in 1887, Willford and Northway acquired part of their old office space in the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building. Occupying the two-story section of the main building, Willford and Northway were reportedly able to enlarge their stock and increase their business.
In 1892, Willford and Northway moved its offices to a more "central" location downtown and transferred its machine shop from the Model Mill to the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building. This arrangement was temporary, however, for the company had built a new factory in Jordan, Minnesota in 1891. Within a few years, Willford and Northway had moved its machining operations out of the old boiler works building.
Two other companies operated from the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building before the turn of the century. One tenant was Christian Brothers and Company, a milling firm, which had constructed an iron-clad warehouse on the north side of the building sometime between 1885 and 1890. The other tenant was the Haseltine Mill Furnishing Company, which occupied the second floor of the 1885 addition during the 1890s.
After 1900, the building was used by a string of small manufacturies. Among these were William Heffner's fire escape factory (1902-1907); Gustav F. Krlesel's machine shop and brass foundry (1902-1905); and the Dean Ballot Machine Company (1904-1906).In 1908, the iron-clad warehouse and the 1881 and 1885 additions were demolished by the Northwestern Consolidated Milling Company to make room for a new grain elevator. The old boiler works appears to have stood vacant until about 1920, when it was used as a machine shop by the Metal Products Manufacturing Company, later renamed the Thiem Manufacturing Company. The firm remained in the building until 1934. After that date, the building either stood vacant or was used as a warehouse. At some time during the 1900s, two loading bays were added to the Fifth Avenue side of the two-story section.
In 1971, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) declared the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building historically significant as a contributing property in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. In 1981, the Hayber Development Group of Minneapolis proposed to renovate several old mills in the district for hotel, office and commercial use. As part of the so-called "Block 10 Project," the developer planned to demolish the Minneapolis Boiler Works Building.
The Minneapolis Boiler Works Building was demolished in 1985.