Concrete Block Rowhouses

Individual Landmark

"The Flats"


 26th_Ave_N_300-314_Concrete_Block _Rowhouse-1

 26th_Ave_N_300-314_Concrete_Block _Rowhouse-2

Address: 300-314 ½ 26 th Avenue North

Neighborhood: Hawthorne

Construction Date: 1885

Contractor: Union Stone & Building Company

Architect: W.D. Kimball

Architectural Style: Concrete Block

Historic Use: Private Residences

Current Use: Private Residences

Date of Local Designation: 1984

Date of National Designation: N/A

Area of Significance: Architecture, Invention

Period of Significance: 1880-1899, 1900-

Historic Profile: In 1885, real estate entrepreneur, William N. Holway, formed the Union Stone and Building Company in Minneapolis. Their largest contribution to the city was a cluster of concrete block houses and rowhouses on the north-side of Minneapolis between 3 rd and 4 th Streets and 26 th Avenue North. Eight houses as well as an eleven unit rowhouse remain as examples of the very early use of concrete blocks as an artistic architectural material. In her article, "Early Development of the Artistic Concrete Block," Ann Gillespie states that the introduction of pre-cast concrete into North America occurred in the late 1860s. Even though the new building material offered the advantages of being easily formed to resemble natural stone at a considerably lower price, the widespread use of concrete blocks in residential structures was never widely embraced. The community developed by William Holway is an exception. Although the buildings were designed by individual architects, they all share similar stylistic elements -- two and one half stories featuring side hall plans rectangular fenestration and roofs of multi-gable variety with ornamented primary façade dormers. All of the houses, with the exception of one, have retained their original concrete exteriors and merit their historic status.

Description: Two-story rowhouse; cast concrete block construction; originally designed as eleven units which wrap around corner forming ell shaped plan.

Photo Credits:

1936, courtesy of Marjorie Benson

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

City of Minneapolis, "National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," February 1982.

Updated: February 2007

Last updated Nov 21, 2011