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We urge researchers to email the Northwest Architectural Archives for further information about their topic.
USING THE ARCHIVESYou want to send e-mail at least 48-hours in advance to make an appointment Northwest Architectural Archives. We are open M-F, 8:30-4:30) and the materials must be retrieved from storage for you; there is no browsing in the collections. The Archives staff use a number of resources to determine what materials we have in our collections, but rely primarily on the "finding aids". Finding aids are lists of materials in the Archives. The collections are indexed by building OWNER name - individual, company, organization - and we use our index card catalog and/or an online finding aid search found in the search box to the right. Not all of the Northwest Architectural Archives collections have online finding aids, so if you do not locate what you need for your research, please check with the Archives staff. We can consult the index cards in the office.
DOES THE NORTHWEST ARCHITECTURAL ARCHIVES HAVE DOCUMENTATION FOR A BUILDING?You must have the name of the original owner (or company name or building name) in order for us to determine if we have any documentation on the building(s) you’re researching. See below for additional information about researching a building.
Will I be able to find information on my building with only an address?Unfortunately, an address is not sufficient for us to get started on answering your questions. We need three crucial pieces of information before we can even determine if the Archives has any documentation on a building:
- Name of original owner (commission name) as it appeared on the building documentation OR the building permit. The Permit Index Card (listing all permits issued against a structure) is not sufficient. It’s the ORIGINAL BUILDING PERMIT that has the required information. Permits were first issued in Minneapolis in 1884; in St. Paul in 1883. For Minneapolis, permit information can be found at the Building Inspection office in Suite 300, 250 South Fourth St. For St. Paul, the Ramsey County Historical Society (Landmark Center) will provide access to and copies of the original building permits for the city of St. Paul.
- Year of construction (again – the permit is the best source for this information)
- Architect’s name (as above)