Address: 718 Glenwood Avenue/ 275 Market Street
Construction Date: 1910-1915
Contractor: John Wunder
Architect: Bertrand and Chamberlain
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Historic Use: Industrial - Factory
Current Use: Commercial/Office
Date of Local Designation: 1984
Date of National Register Designation: 1983
Area(s) of Significance: Commerce, Engineering, Industry, Invention
Period of Significance: 1900-1981
Historic Profile: The profitable Minneapolis flour and lumber industries of the late nineteenth century have a tendency to overshadow the lesser-known textile industry, but in 1912 the Northwestern Knitting Company became the nation’s leading manufacturer of underwear. Financially backed by two top millers, Clinton Morrison and Charles Pillsbury, the Northwestern Knitting Company operated under similar strategies of the flour giants: technological innovation, the promotion of a single brand name, and the imaginative innovation. In 1888, the company’s founder, George Munsing, invented a method of plating woolen fibers with silk and cotton to take the "itch" out of woolen underwear. The less bulky, single-piece undergarments patented in 1891 propelled Munsingwear to become the nation’s leading producer and distributor of underwear. The tremendous success of the Northwestern Knitting Company necessitated the need for factory expansion. Between 1904 and 1915 the site on Glenwood Avenue expanded to include five major buildings. Architects Bertrand and Chamberlain employed unifying Neoclassical Revival features such as slightly projecting cornices, fretwork friezes, and fluted Doric columns. Structurally, building #4 is significant for its early use of reinforced concrete construction methods, a technique credited with revolutionizing American building technology. The Northwestern Knitting Company continued to thrive through the twentieth century, producing Munsingwear as well as diversified products until 1981 when a deteriorating national economy forced the factory in Minneapolis to close. Renovated in the 1980s into offices and showrooms for home furnishing companies as well as urban lofts, the International Market Square has become a leading example of adaptive re-use in Minneapolis.
1963, Vincent H. Mart, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society
Courtesy of IMS Lofts
"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Study," January 1983.
Updated: February 2007