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What Historic SLP Properties Are Near Southwest Light Rail?

St. Louis Park has a handful of notable properties within a short distance of the proposed line.

The Southwest Light Rail Transit planning process isn’t just about ridership numbers and costs; it’s about minimizing the impact that’s inherent in any project of this size.

Part of that process involves surveying historic buildings on and near the routes being considered. A team examined properties within a so-called “area of potential effect”—an area-within 300 feet of the railroad corridor’s centerline—to see if they met National Register Criteria for Evaluation. For the areas around the proposed stations, they broadened their search to sites within a quarter mile.

In St. Louis Park, surveyors examined 264 total properties. Of those, they selected six properties for further review. Only two were judged worthy of inclusion on the National Register—two of just five places in Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Minnetonka and St. Louis Park that made the cut. (One more property, the Peavey-Haglin Experimental Concrete Grain Elevator in St. Louis Park, is already listed as a National Historic Landmark.)

Click here to read the full document. The report starts on page 495.

Below is a look at the St. Louis Park properties that received further review. Click on the gallery above to see what the properties look like now. When you're done, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Click here to see a related story about the Hopkins sites.

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Former St. Louis Park High School

  • Address: 6300 Walker St.
  • Age: About 75 years old. The original 1914 structure no longer stands. Structures added between 1937 and 1967 are still standing.
  • Original use: It opened in 1914 as St. Louis Park High School. With the 1937 addition, the original building became a junior high and the addition became a senior high. The school became St. Louis Park Junior High at the start of the 1956-57. After the two St. Louis Park schools merged in 1980, it closed and but remains in operations as the Central Community Center. 
  • Significance: “St. Louis Park High School has had a significant loss of integrity due the demolition of the original 1914 school building in 1962; the core of the original structure is no longer present. … While the St. Louis Park High School possesses significance as an example of Federal Relief Construction in Minnesota, it no longer retains sufficient integrity to convey this significance.”
  • Verdict: Recommended not eligible for the National Register

Woodmark Industries Building

  • Address: 4601 Highway 7
  • Age: About 67 years old. A building permit was issued for the site in October 1945. Woodmark Industries was incorporated in March 1946.
  • Original use: Little is known about what, exactly, Woodmark Industries produced. The report notes that a worker in the building recently recalled that it produced a folding carpenter’s rule. Professional Instrument Co. acquired the building by 1963, producing “precision and consumer machined products.” It’s still being used by the company as a machine shop, primarily to produce the company’s signature “air bearing.”
  • Significance: “As such, the Woodmark Industries Building is not only an excellent unaltered representative of the Streamline Moderne as defined by Whiffen, but it is also an excellent unaltered representative of light industrial architecture as described by Bradley, designed to fit within a mid-twentieth-century suburban setting.”
  • Verdict: Recommended eligible for the National Register

Union Congregational Church

  • Address: 3700 Alabama Ave. S.
  • Age: About 71 years old. Construction was completed in 1941. Expansions were added in 1951 and 1984.
  • Original use: The building began life as Union Congregational Church, becoming a member of the United Church of Christ in 1961.
  • Significance: “Although the church was designed by two local architects, Carl Bard and Joseph Vanderbilt, it is not the best representative example of their work. … Although the church and associated education building represent a religious property that evolved during the mid-twentieth century to meet the needs of the congregation, the connection of the buildings with the addition of hyphen detracts from the overall design, feeling, and setting of the church and diminishes the historic integrity of the property.”
  • Verdict: Recommended not eligible for the National Register

Northland Aluminum, Inc.

  • Address: 5005 Highway 7
  • Age: The oldest building is about 66 years old. Brothers Mark and Dave Dalquist built the first building in 1946. Because of Nordic Ware’s rapid growth, the company has added numerous expansions from the 1950s until 2009.
  • Original use: The Dalquists used the initial building for their “Plastics for Industry,” building plastic and aluminum foundry patterns and prototypes for countries such as General Mills and Minneapolis Moline. They bought Northland Aluminum Products, carrier of the Nordic Ware product line, in 1950. The company has grown rapidly in that time.
  • Significance: “To best understand the significant inventions of the Bundt Pan and Teflon coatings, the building in which these inventions took place between 1950 and 1964 should embody the historic period and convey a sense of place and time. ,,, While integrity of location and setting is retained, due to the number of alterations and additions to Building #1 after 1964, where the development of the Bundt Pan and Teflon coatings occurred, integrity of feeling and association have been lost. The design aesthetic applied in 1968 conveys a feeling of time not associated with the period of significance when historic events defining the company occurred.”
  • Verdict: Recommended not eligible for the National Register

Motor Travel Services Building

  • Address: 3907 Highway 7
  • Age: About 50 years old. The building was built in 1962 and 1963.
  • Original use: Built to house Hoffman Callan Printing and Motor Travel Services, an early competitor to AAA. At Hoffman Callan’s request, the architect designed a round building to make the printing process more efficient. It’s currently occupied by ASAP, a printing and design company.
  • Significance: “The building was designed by architect James Dresser and expresses the postwar modernist movement. Postwar modernist architecture featured the use of new building materials and experimentation with form to create of one-of-a-kind buildings. In particular, 1960s modern architecture was about the combination of ‘science and art.’                  The Motor Travel Services Building displays characteristics of Modern architectural styles and the less formal postwar futurism as defined by striking shapes, dynamic lines, contrasts, and use of advanced materials.”
  • Verdict: Recommended eligible for the National Register in 2013

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