Concrete Block Rowhouses

You can read about the history and designation of the Concrete Block Rowhouses historic landmark.

“The Flats” (300-314¼ 26th Avenue North)– exterior 





Address: 300-314½ 26th Avenue North

Neighborhood: Hawthorne

Construction Date: 1885

Contractor: Union Stone & Building Company

Architect: W.D. Kimball

Historic Use: Private Residences

Current Use: Private Residences

Date of Local Designation: 1984

Date of National Designation: N/A

Area of Significance: Architecture

Period of Significance: 1885-

Historic Profile: In 1885, real estate entrepreneur, William N. Holway, formed the Union Stone and Building Company in Minneapolis. Their largest contribution to the city was a cluster of concrete block homes and rowhouses on the North Side of Minneapolis along Third and Fourth Streets and 26th Avenue North. Seven houses as well as an 11-unit rowhouse remain as examples of the very early use of concrete block as an artistic architectural material. In her article “Early Development of the Artistic Concrete Block,” Ann Gillespie states that the introduction of pre-cast concrete into North America occurred in the late 1860s. Even though the new building material offered the advantages of being easily formed to resemble natural stone at a considerably lower price, the widespread use of concrete blocks in residential structures was never widely embraced. The community developed by William Holway is an exception. Although the buildings were designed by individual architects, they all share similar stylistic elements — two-and-one-half-stories featuring side hall plans, rectangular fenestration, and roofs of the multi-gabled variety with ornamented primary façade dormers. All of the remaining houses, with the exception of one, have retained their original concrete exteriors. Like the houses, this building, which consists of 11 rowhouses, has retained its original exterior.

Photo Credits:

1936, courtesy of Marjorie Benson

2006, CPED Staff

Works Cited:

City of Minneapolis, "National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," 1982.

CPED Files, 1987-2006


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