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Pioneer Building

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Pioneer Building
Pioneer Press Building


Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
rigid frame
pile foundation
applied masonry
dark red
romanesque revival
active heating (unspecified)
yes, centrally controlled


commercial office


  • The Pioneer Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
  • The offices and elevators are arranged around an interior light court, the only surviving example in the Twin Cities from the 19th century.
  • A plaque inside the building indicates it was the home of the world's first telephone answering service, implemented in 1927.
  • At the completion of construction in 1889, the Pioneer Building had 12 stories and was the tallest building west of Chicago, surpassing St. Paul's previous tallest, the Globe Building.
  • The Pioneer Building was an early home of Minnesota's first newspaper, now known as the Pioneer Press. The newspaper is now located in the aptly-named Pioneer Press Building, a few blocks to the west.
  • The building is adjoined on the east and north by the Endicott Building. The buildings are connected at the ground and skyway levels.
  • Solon S. Beman, the original architect, designed four additional floors which were added in 1909, 20 years after the completion of construction.
  • The Pioneer Building still employed elevator operators as of June 2004.
  • The foundation consists of more than 600 wooden piles.
  • The Pioneer Building was the tallest in St. Paul from 1889 until 1915, when the Merchant's Bank Building, directly across Robert Street, was completed.
  • Four elevators rise along the west side of the light court. They are grouped into two sets of two, separated by a stairwell.

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More Information


332-344 North Robert Street
121-129 East 4th Street
336 North Robert Street
St. Paul

Technical Data

225.50 ft
225.50 ft

Involved Companies

Solon S. Beman

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark
  • Light court is present
  • Panoramic elevators are present
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