Minnesota Memories

I was researching Harvey Ellis a bit yesterday, and found some strange confluences. Ellis was involved in the design of several buildings in Minnesota, though what brought me to him was his inlay/design work with Gustav Stickley in Syracuse. Apparently, Ellis designed a dormitory for the Farm School in St. Paul (now University of Minnesota) in 1887, and I was trying to figure out where it was. As near as I can figure, it was destroyed probably not long after it was built, replaced by a couple of other dormitories (Brewster and Dexter Hall) that were also destroyed before the 1950s. I have really fond memories of the St. Paul Campus where I studied rhetoric. It was moved to Wesbrook Hall on the Minneapolis side, and rebranded Writing Studies just before I dropped out.

Ellis had nothing to do with Wesbrook, but he apparently had a hand in Nicholson Hall next door where the writing center was located. I always liked that building, it was really full of light. He also was a designer for Pillsbury Hall, around the corner, one of the oldest surviving buildings on the campus. Eventually, after several other stops, Ellis ended up in Syracuse too. I’m looking forward to finding out more about him. A Minnesota historian has written a rather difficult to locate book about Ellis and I’ve ordered a copy.


In other Minnesota news, I was surprised to see a story on Faribault Woolen Mills on the NBC news last night. I was suprised to find out it had closed in 2009. Krista and I had toured their factory store somewhere around 2007, and wanted to buy something but really couldn’t afford to. Locals have purchased the factory, just before the equipment was to be shipped overseas to Pakistan. They are currently employing 35 people, and hoping to expand next year. I went ahead and advanced ordered one of their revival blankets. I’m looking forward to that as well.

It dawned on me that Minnesota was the only place that I have really chosen to live. Most other locations have been happy or not so happy accidents, but I consciously chose to live in Minnesota.