Lunchtime Tourist

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May 3, 2004 // UPDATED 1:28 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

Summer scavenger hunt, Mystery building #1

This summer, the Lunchtime Tourist is having a scavenger hunt contest in collaboration with the Hennepin History Museum.

Four mystery columns will describe a Downtown destination the first issue of each summer month: June 1, July 5 and Aug. 2.

You'll have to guess the locations and then actually go there to prove you're a lunchtime tourist and discover the answer to the Scavenger Hunt question.

The person with the most correct and earliest-submitted answers wins a free Hennepin History Museum membership.

Secret hand signals and plenty of theatrics were commonplace in this building. In fact, they still continue there today, although the signals and dramas have changed.

No, it's not City Hall! However, this building was designed by the same architects and also features a facade of rough-cut stone and round arches typical of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. This monumental pageantry of sandstone was an early Minneapolis skyscraper and sprung from the ground to a towering eight stories.

A round corner turret -- once topped with an exotic Moorish onion dome -- commands presence on this mystery building's busy corner.

Its asymmetrical facade features a prominently arched entrance covered with leafy organic carvings. Twisted columns, mysterious symbols and a couple balconies make this building a class act. More than 100 businesses had offices on the building's perimeter leaving the interior spaces free for large meeting rooms.

Built in 1888 for a mere $360,000, renovation costs in the early 1980s amounted to more than 10 times the original price tag. Joan Mondale presided over the rededication ceremony.

Scavenger question: A Hennepin History Museum panel in the building's lobby shows a photo of this destination. When was the photo shot?

E-mail your answer to thelunchtimetourist@hotmail.com before it is revealed in the May 10-16 column.

LUNCH TIP: Maybe it's nearby, maybe it's not -- but have lunch today at Hell's Kitchen, 89 S. 10th St.