Address: 1900 LaSalle Avenue South
Neighborhood: Steven’s Square
Construction Date: 1891
Architect: Orff and Joralemon
Architectural Style: Richardsonian Romanesque
Historic Use: Private Residence
Current Use: Private Residence, Commercial
Date of Local Designation: 1995
Date of National Register Designation: 1995
Area(s) of Significance: Architecture, Social History, Industry
Period of Significance: 1893-1915, 1916-1928
Historic Profile: Built at the time Minneapolis was heralded as "the flour milling capital of the world," the Van Dusen Mansion remains a symbol of the corporate success of one of Minnesota’s leading grain processing and distribution businesses. The flourishing grain, railroad, and lumber industries of the late nineteenth-century brought Minneapolis entrepreneurs, like George W. Van Dusen, the immense prosperity reflected in their estates. Van Dusen acquired his fortune by developing a network of line elevators to store grain alongside railroad lines. Van Dusen’s strategy was, in fact, so successful that by 1928 the firm had a capacity of 6.7 million bushels, one of the largest in the Midwest. In 1891 Van Dusen, an otherwise low-profile businessman, commissioned the architects Orff and Joralemon to build a massive 12,000 square-foot residence and carriage house on the southwestern edge of Minneapolis. While its general massing and form are indebted to the Richardsonian Romanesque tradition, French Renaissance motifs, including steep roofs and a soaring slender turret capped with a copper finial enliven the upper stories. The interior is an eclectic mixture of French, Gothic, Tudor, Romanesque and Elizabethan styles featuring ten fireplaces, a grand staircase, chandeliers, large skylights, carved wood, parquet floors, and mosaic work in the entryway. Since the Van Dusen family’s occupancy in the 1940s, the mansion has housed the College of Commerce, the College of Medical Technology, the Horst Institute, and the Hamline Law School - a succession illustrative of the pattern of reuse of many large residences in the central city. The building has retained its original design integrity (with the exception of a one-story steel, glass and concrete addition to the south façade), in large part due to private/public restoration efforts in 1995.
1948, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society
2006, Minneapolis CPED
City of Minneapolis, "City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Registration Form," January 1995.
Updated: February 2007