To be at the heart of a great American city is to live at the pulse point of life: among the people who are living, working, having fun, inventing, innovating, promoting, buying, selling, eating, and telling stories all around us. Life has abounded in the Pioneer and Endicott Buildings, designed by renowned architects Cass Gilbert and Solon Beman, from the first days of their occupancy in 1889 and 1890 to this day. Dreams were born here, starting with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, an early tenant of the building whose newspeople understood that skyscraper technology and telegraph communication gave a burgeoning St. Paul its image of modernity and sophistication. These dreams blossomed among the scores of attorneys, bankers, architects, scientists, and civic engineers who officed at the site through the years. The Pioneer Endicott’s 16 floors were a microcosm of the city’s dreams and ambitions, its growth and development, for decades.
Over the years, many of the buildings’ distinctive architectural features were covered up at one time or another, but most remained intact, simply waiting for a sympathetic developer to breathe new life into them. Thanks to the building’s current owners, this St. Paul treasure has been restored, reviving the Pioneer Endicott complex as a place where people can live, work, and play at the heart of Minnesota’s capital city. Executives have been replaced by apartments for empty nesters and young professionals, people who enjoy the convenience of walking or riding public transportation to work. A fitness center now sits where the post office once was, and Legacy Chocolates serves up the city’s best coffee and handmade confections just off the skyway, on the site of what used to be executive suites, next to a yoga studio, florist, and Gypsy Moon boutique.
The ground floor of the Pioneer-Endicott – so often renovated, changed, and repurposed – is now the home of an equally adaptable and renewable art museum: the Minnesota Museum of American Art (“the M,” for short). Founded as the St. Paul School of Fine Arts in 1894, just as the Pioneer and Endicott Buildings were taking off, the M has undergone nearly as many names and incarnations as its new home. And now, this revitalized building complex and the M – St. Paul’s only major art museum – will continue to develop together, inspired by respect for our history and strong community engagement – the kind that comes from living, working, hanging out, and making things together.
Minnesota Museum of American Art thrives because of people like you! Your contribution will support our dynamic and engaged partnerships and programs related to our St. Paul neighborhood, our Minnesota community, and our shared experiences.