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501 Marquette

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501 Marquette
Soo Line Building; First National - Soo Line Building; First & Security National Bank


Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
spread foundation
applied masonry
light gray
beaux-arts / historism


commercial office


  • The Soo Line Building was the tallest commercial building in Minneapolis until completion of the W Minneapolis - The Foshay in 1929.
  • This is the tallest beaux-arts building in Minneapolis.
  • The building is connected by skyway to Fifth Street Towers I, One Financial Plaza, and the 517 Marquette Ramp.
  • For many years, it served as headquarters for the Soo Line Railroad, originally called the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad.
  • The Soo Line was built by Minneapolis Flour Milling concerns who were upset with the high cost of flour shipment through Chicago. This line was constructed to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario via Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for connection to the Canadian Pacific Railroad and other Great Lakes shipping interests.
  • The western terminus of the Soo Line was in Whitetail, Montana.
  • The Soo Line was purchased by Canadian Pacific in 1992, which retains offices in this building.
  • A large public clock extends over the sidewalk at the corner of Marquette Avenue and 5th Street South.
  • The floorplan is U-shaped above the 3rd floor, opening toward the 5th Street entrance.
  • The facade follows the typical tripartite composition of Beaux-Arts architecture, in that it is divided into base, shaft and capitol.
  • The lower floors have been extensively modified; the banking hall and the large arched windows that illuminated it have been removed, and large louvers reflect the insertion of a mechanical mezzanine.
  • The pilasters on the first three floors are of the Doric Order, while those atop the building are Ionic.
  • The floor of the public lobby was tiled with Alabama marble, laid in Belgian block dot design, with an ornamental Greek fret border.
  • The screens in the banking hall were of solid bronze with Alabama marble panels; the hall's walls were clad with Tavernelle marble.
  • The skyscraper's unprecedented height spurred the creation of a height limit in the city's building laws.
  • A plan has surfaced in 2008 to convert the building into a hotel (Tushie Montgomery Architects, Hempel Properties), with the terra cotta portions of the facade being restored in the process.
  • The large cornice, perhaps the deepest in Minneapolis, is Ionic in style, supported by dentils.
  • The building's corners display quoining up through the 15th floor; the bands are continued on the pilasters of the first three floors.
  • The structural system's steel columns rest on blue limestone piers (4500 yards worth), in turn resting on bedrock averaging 55 feet below grade. The limestone was supplied by Minnesota Crushed Stone Company.
  • The second floor banking hall was reached via a 30 foot wide, white Alabama marble staircase, now removed.
  • During construction, three 50 horsepower General Electric Company electric motors were used to hoist materials, rather than the typical gasoline engines of the day. The motors were later used to power three of the building's elevators.
  • 2,000 Yale door locks and 10,000 keys were supplied by W.K. Morison, at the time the largest such contract in city history.
  • More than 70,000 square feet of plate glass was used in the building's windows, supplied by Northwestern Plate Glass Company. Most of the fire protective wire glass on the south facade remains in place today.
  • The structural framing is comprised of 3,500 tons of steel, the most of any Twin Cities building at the time of construction.
  • Equipment for the former barber shop and manicure parlors was supplied by Crane Plumbing Supplies Company of Minneapolis.
  • The mail chutes were supplied by Cutler Mail Chute Company.
  • The original lighting on 16 floors was installed by the Tungsten Maintenance Company of Minneapolis.
  • The original mahogany for the bank and various retail spaces was supplied by L. Paulle Company of Minneapolis.
  • Nearly 4,000 yards of linoleum flooring was supplied by the New England Furniture & Carpet Company.
  • The original elevators, now replaced, were supplied by Otis Elevator Company.
  • The window frames and ornamental ironwork were supplied by The Winslow Brothers Company.
  • The original interior painting was done by W.P. Nelson Company of Chicago.
  • The original heating system, installed by Mehring & Hanson Heating Company, consisted of three 800 horsepower boilers, 11 miles of steam pipe and more than 800 radiators.

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More Information


501-509 Marquette Avenue
101-111 5th Street South
501 Marquette
Downtown West

Technical Data

261.08 ft
239.92 ft
229.00 ft
12.00 ft
99.00 ft
165.00 ft

Involved Companies

Robert W. Gibson
Edward T. Fallows

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Features & Amenities

  • City landmark
  • National landmark
  • Skybridge link to next building
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