Thomas Lowry Memorial

You can read about the history and designation of the Thomas Lowry Memorial historic landmark.


Thomas Lowry Memorial Design Guidelines

1947, Minnesota Historical Society

 2014, CPED Staff

Address: 2330 Hennepin Avenue South

Neighborhood: East Isles

Construction Date: 1915

Contractor: H.N. Leighton Company

Designer: Karl Bitter

Architectural Style: N/A

Historic Use: Public Art

Current Use: Public Art

Date of Local Designation: 2015

Date of National Designation: N/A

Area of Significance: Master craftsmen; significant persons; cultural history

Period of Significance: 1915-1967 

Historic Profile: Thomas Lowry, a young lawyer from rural Illinois, arrived in Minneapolis in 1867, quickly becoming involved in real estate development. In 1875, while representing Colonel William S King in the reorganization of the bankrupt Minneapolis Street Railway, he was invited to join the company as a vice president. By 1881 Lowry had become the sole owner. In the late 1880s, he fought against those who wished to replace Minneapolis’ horse-drawn streetcars with cable cars, instead arguing in favor of electric streetcars. Lowry also gained control of the Saint Paul City Railway, merging the two companies to create the Twin City Rapid Transit Company (TCRT). Under his leadership TCRT built one of the most technologically advanced and best-run streetcar systems on the globe. In the late 1800s and early 1900s streetcars drove development and guided neighborhood growth, contributing greatly to the shape of Minneapolis’ urban fabric.

After Mr. Lowry’s death on February 4, 1909, the Thomas Lowry Memorial Association was formed, seeking to embed the memory of Mr. Lowry forever in the public consciousness. The association selected renowned Austrian-American sculptor Karl Bitter, of New York, to design the memorial. Bitter sculpted the bronze statue of Lowry and designed the stone portion of the memorial. Rough stone and concrete work were completed by the H.N. Leighton Company, and carving was completed by Corrando Novani and William Archie under the supervision of Karl Gruppe and Charles Wells. After Bitter’s death in April 1915, Gruppe and Wells saw to the memorial’s completion and dedication on August 18, 1915. The memorial, originally sited at the Virginia Triangle (the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and Lyndale Avenue), was relocated to its present location at Smith Triangle Park in 1967, to make way for the construction of Interstate 94 and the Lowry Hill Tunnel.

Photo Credits:

1947, Minnesota Historical Society

2014, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

“Designation Study: Thomas Lowry Memorial,” February 2015.

Updated: March 2015

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505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415