Washburn-Fair Oaks Historic District design guidelines update

Learn about the effort to update the design guidelines for the Washburn-Fair Oaks Historic District.


The City of Minneapolis is updating the 1976 design guidelines for the Washburn-Fair Oaks Historic District. We received a federal grant. We have hired Pigeon Consulting and TEN x TEN to lead community engagement and draft new design guidelines. Design guidelines affect changes to buildings, structures, and landscapes. They help ensure that the historic district retains its historic character. The district includes:
  • Early 20th century buildings designed by master architects
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts campus

Photo: William Washburn’s Fair Oaks Estate, circa 1890, courtesy of Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections Department

Washburn’s Fair Oaks Estate

Provide input

This spring, we asked people to share their thoughts and ideas with us by having meetings and group discussions. Thank you for taking part in these meetings!

The consultant team completed a draft in June and public comments were submitted and reviewed in July. Staff reviewed and edited the document and will present it to the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) on November 28, 2023, for discussion. This will not be a public hearing. The draft will then be sent to the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office for review. Staff will bring the final draft to the HPC for adoption in a public hearing in the spring. Members of the public can give testimony at that time.

View the updated draft guidelines

Past meetings

  • Focus Group #1 on March 6, 2023
  • Focus Group #2 on March 13, 2023
  • Community Meeting #1 on March 25, 2023
  • Focus Group #3 on March 29, 2023
  • Community Meeting #2 on April 29, 2023

Read notes from past events


From 2021-22, we hired a consultant team to research and update the inventory of properties in the district. They determined the district’s period of significance to be 1863 to 1939. Properties built during this period are contributing. Properties built after this period are non-contributing. Individual inventory forms are available upon request.

Learn more about the period of significance and inventory

Contact John Smoley to share information or to ask questions. Check back for updates as the project continues.

View a map of the Washburn-Fair Oaks Historic District

Washburn-Fair Oaks Historic District Design Guidelines and map

You can view the guidelines, a map, and meeting notes.

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

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Contact us

John Smoley

Community Planning & Economic Development




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415