Metropolitan Building


Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, MN-49-1

Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS MINN, 27-MINAP, 13—6

Metropolitan Building
E. Townsend Mix
  • Architecture

Milwaukee-based architect E. Townsend Mix designed the Metropolitan Building, originally the Northwestern Guaranty Loan Building, a Richardsonian Romanesque structure considered one of the best buildings in Twin Cities architectural history. Opened in 1890, it was Minneapolis’s first skyscraper standing 12 stories and 218 feet. Its granite and sandstone exterior gave way to oak lined walls and a magnificent central skylight atrium wrapped by walkways of glass that allowed light to filter down through the building. In 1905 the building was sold to the Metropolitan Life Company and gained its name. An icon of the city, the building, despite being in good shape with tenants, had the misfortune of being located in the city’s “skid row” area and was torn down in 1963 as part of Minneapolis’ ill-fated and much-regretted urban renewal campaign.