Sears, Roebuck & Co. Mail Order Warehouse and Retail Store

Individual Landmark

Midtown Exchange

 

 Elliot_Ave_S_2843_Sears-1
1941

 Elliot_Ave_S_2843_Sears-2
2005

 

Address: 2843 Elliot Avenue South

Neighborhood: Midtown Phillips

Construction Date: 1927

Contractor: George Nimmons & Co.

Architect: George Nimmons & Co.

Architectural Style: Moderne

Historic Use: Industrial/ Commercial

Current Use: Office/Residential/Commercial

Date of Local Designation: 2005

Date of National Designation: 2005

Area(s) of Significance: Social History; Commerce; Architecture

Period of Significance: 1928-

Historic Profile: The Sears, Roebuck & Co. building, now known as Midtown Exchange, represents an early phase in the development of a company that became the major retailer in the U.S. by the late twentieth century. Sears, Roebuck & Co. revolutionized consuming material goods in the United States in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Its mail order catalogs brought merchandise to a wider variety of middle-class customers, ushering in the era of consumer capitalism in America. It was estimated that over 800,000 customers in the upper-Midwest ordered from the catalog. The success of the Chicago-based company necessitated the spread of warehouses and retail stores throughout the upper-Midwest. Sears chose the location on the Lake Street commercial corridor because of its inexpensive land and availability of parking spaces. Architect George Nimmons was commissioned to design many Sears’ retail stores and warehouses including the one in Minneapolis. Well known for his industrial design, Nimmons developed a utilitarian style of warehouse architecture that matched the enormous growth of Sears, Roebuck. The retail store closed in 1994 for several reasons, including Sears’ commitment to a location at the Mall of America. Rehabilitation efforts were undertaken between 2004-2006 to convert the old warehouse into the Allina Hospital and Clinics headquarters, private condos, and a Global Market where local retail and restaurant vendors sell their merchandise.

Photo Credits:

1941, Norton and Peel, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2005, Midtown Exchange

Works Cited:

"City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Registration Form," 2004.

Updated: February 2007

Last updated Nov 21, 2011