Old jail’s triumph… and other Northland winners

A story in the News Tribune recently told of the $225,000 Minnesota Historical Society grant the city of Duluth snagged for a private developer’s plans to save and refurbish the old St. Louis County Jail for new uses.

The story said it was the largest amount handed out to 56 recipients in the current round of Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program. You can count on one thing. Many more applied, making the award even more significant.

There wasn’t space in that story to elaborate on how big a victory that really was for the old jail that’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places. But it should be said, especially when naysayers persist who prefer the bulldozer over preservation.

The grant was a resounding validation on the state level of the efforts of the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission to save the jail from the wrecking ball, a struggle that became a David versus Goliath type of battle with the powers that be. And it’s a statement of support for the vision of Minneapolis real estate broker Grant Carlson who took on the jail project to adapt the 86-year-old building for new uses.

The project’s $225,000 grant towards the jail’s rehabiliatation was more than: 

–$100,000 that went to the Artspace Project in St. Paul for adaptive use of a historic warehouse in Lowertown.

–$125,000 to City of Minneapolis for repairs to the historic Grain Belt Office Building.

–$115,000 to the Greater Litchfield Opera House Association for its opera house.

–$88,000 to the James J. Hill Reference Library in St. Paul for repairs.

–$56,000 to St. Cloud State University for archaeological site research in the BWCAA.

–$30,000 to Hamline University in St. Paul to do oral/video interviews.

And the list goes on.

But there were other winners in the Northland, also good projects that got financial boosts from these grants:

Dorothy Molter Foundaton and Museum of Ely received $42,625 to complete an interpretive plan for the museum.

Friends of B/nai Abraham in Virginia received $16,100 to restore a window and repair brick at B’nai Abraham.

Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth received $45,000 to conserve seats, chairs and sofas in the car Missabe, an 1893 business car from the Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railroad.

UMD recieved $38,000 to prepare a Historic Structure Report for Glensheen.

Depot Preservation Alliance in Baudette received $86,194 to repair and restore the inside and outside of the Canadian National Depot.

Minnesota Museum of Mining in Chisholm recieved $50,000 to create an interactive exibit on the daily lives of iron ore miners in the 1920s to 1950s.

Sisu Heritage in Embarrass received $60,500 to stabilize and restore the Alex Seitaniemi Housebarn.