New Book Celebrates Iconic Pioneer & Endicott Buildings

Larry Millett shares the rich architectural and human story of the M’s home in downtown St. Paul

The Minnesota Museum of American Art is pleased to announce publication of Larry Millett’s Heart of St. Paul: A History of the Pioneer and Endicott Buildings. This major new release tells the architectural history and rich human story behind downtown St. Paul’s iconic Pioneer and Endicott Buildings, the epicenter of business in St. Paul for more than a century and now home to the museum.

“The Minnesota Museum of American Art is delighted to be part of publishing this book about one of the great St. Paul architectural landmarks,” says Executive Director Kristin Makholm. “Bringing an art museum into such a distinguished building reflects the dynamic nature of our urban environment.”

Through the support of building owner Rich Pakonen, all proceeds from the book sold at the M go directly to support the museum’s programs, exhibitions, and operations. Scroll down to purchase a copy.

Read the Star Tribune story on the book.

About the book

Journalist and architectural historian Larry Millett tells the story of the Pioneer and Endicott from conception to the present incarnation as a vibrant cultural and living space in the city’s center. When the Pioneer Press Building opened its doors in 1889, the 12-story skyscraper was St. Paul’s tallest building and featured the first glass elevator in the country. Its opening merited a 40-page special edition of the Pioneer Press, whose editors modestly proclaimed it “the greatest newspaper building mother earth carries.”

A year later, another architectural monument, the Endicott Building—which wraps around the Pioneer—opened its doors. Designed by rising St. Paul architect Cass Gilbert, the Endicott included two office buildings linked by a one-story L-shaped shopping arcade, crowned by a stained-glass ceiling.

Millett details how Chicago architect Solon Beman later added four floors to the Pioneer, enhancing the 16-story light court that remains one of Minnesota’s great architectural spaces, as well as Gilbert’s meticulous work in designing the Endicott Arcade. Gilbert would later go on to produce such masterpieces as the Minnesota State Capitol and the Woolworth Building in New York.

Heart of St. Paul is published by the Minnesota Museum of American Art in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Press.

About the author

Larry Millett, a Minneapolis native, spent much of his career as a writer, reporter, and editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where in 1985 he became the newspaper’s first architecture critic, a post he held until his retirement in 2002. His works include Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes, Once There Were Castles: Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities, and Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury.