By David Gebhard
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Extra resources for A Guide to the Architecture of Minnesota
The Italianate also became the dominant style for commercial buildings, and variations of the style continued to be built through the 1890s. Other mixtures and new styles burst forth in the 1870s. The French Second Empire Style with its mansard roofs and end or central pavilions was a rage for ten or fifteen years, during which it was used for business blocks (often mixed with the Italianate), schools, and private residences. The French Second Empire designs provided a way whereby one could continue the classical tradition of balance and control but at the same time could be picturesque and fashionable.
M-lb 3 Butler Brothers Warehouse (now Butler Square), 1906, 1973-74 Harry Jones; Miller, Hanson, and Westerbeck 100 6th Street N An impressive example of the conversion of an existing structure to new use. The interior is now organized around an eight-story skylighted court; the original heavy wood timbering has been cleaned and left in place. Joseph Michels in his Wood's Chocolate Shop (1975) has added what is really needed in the building — a lightness of touch and a little humor. The external renovation has been well done, except that the glass should not have been brought close to the exterior brick surface — the narrow vertical panels needed the depth which existed in the original design.
And by 1900 the major urban centers of Minnesota had fully embraced the ideal of classicism in the Beaux Arts, especially after the construction of Cass Gilbert's Capitol Building, which was designed in 1893-95. Except for the most northern reaches of the state Minnesota was by 1900 a transformed environment. The region was now crisscrossed by railroads, small to large cities existed along every major river, an immense acreage was under cultivation, most of the rich and extensive timber forests were gone, and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St.