Cass Gilbert Society


Events & Meetings | Past Events | Past Tours | Past Lectures

Tour: University of Minnesota East Bank: Renovation and Renewal
Saturday, June 4, 2016, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Minnesota Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians (MNSAH). The tour will highlight new construction, renovation, and changes in the context of campus history and development. Meet at Pillsbury and Pleasant. Cost $15 for MNSAH members, $20 for non-members. Register by June 2: For more information: contact Rolf Anderson at 612-824-7807 or

Memorial Weekend Celebration
May 28 – 30, 2016
Roselawn Cemetery, 803 W Larpenteur Ave, Roseville, MN 51113, 651-489-1720.

Take this opportunity to visit Roselawn Chapel, designed by Cass Gilbert and Thomas Holyoke, view historic exhibits, enjoy refreshments, and hear an organ concert. For more information:

Pillsbury Hall and the Legacy of Architect Harvey Ellis
Thursday, May 5, 2016, 7 P.M.

Mill City Museum, 704 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis

The Cass Gilbert Society is sponsoring a discussion by architectural historian John C. Guenther about how architect Harvey Ellis came to be described as the link between H. H. Richardson and the masters of the Prairie School. Ellis, a contemporary of Cass Gilbert, had a peripatetic architectural career, working for several architectural firms in St. Paul and Minneapolis where he was acclaimed for his architectural renderings and designs. Ellis' most noteworthy contribution form this time was Pillsbury Hall (1887-1888) for the University of Minnesota. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP, is president of the Society of Architectural Historians, St. Louis Chapter.

Connection to Cass
Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 7 P.M.

University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, St. Paul

Mary Lahammer, award-winning anchor, reporter, and producer for Twin Cities Public Television, will present a selection of her stories pertaining to Cass Gilbert and the Minnesota State Capitol to members and friends of the Cass Gilbert Society. Mary and her colleagues at Almanachave been documenting the saga of the preservation and restoration of the State Capitol for the past five years. With the building largely closed due to ongoing construction since May 2015, Mary looked for other ways to raise awareness of Cass Gilbert. In collaboration with the Cass Gilbert Society, she has produced "Connection to Cass," short program segments that have featured other notable Cass Gilbert buildings and interviews with building owners and representatives. They have been broadcast on the Almanac program and are available through the Twin Cities Public Television archive. Mary's program will offer a chance to see a group of these stories, as well as some of the State Capitol features. Join us as we hear about the fun and challenges of "Connecting with Cass"!

Rediscovering the Minnesota State Capitol
November 12, 2015, 7 p.m.

University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Free to members; $5 for non-members.
Ted Lentz, FAIA, president of the Cass Gilbert Society and a public member of the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission, will speak on the challenges of dealing with the Minnesota State Capitol. When the building reopens in late 2017, the Capitol will again stand in the front rank of America's public buildings. The Capitol renovation and restoration program, underway since 2011, continues with a well-structured program that enhances existing areas and rooms while creating terrific new spaces. No one gets everything, but all Minnesotans gain a building that serves the State better than ever before.

The presentation will develop three narratives: Design and Construction, 1896-1905; Preservation and Renovation, 2011-2017; Art and expanded public use at the Capitol, 1905-2017 and beyond. Over 20,000 square feet of new space, newly open to the public will be oriented to support and engage Minnesotans and out-of-state visitors in ways never before possible. The renewed Minnesota State Capitol—the People's House—is a great story with many heroes. Follow the Capitol restoration work online at


The Cass Gilbert Society is launching an educational campaign to increase the awareness and appreciation of the furnishings that Gilbert designed or selected for the Capitol. About half of the original 800 pieces remain in the possession of the Minnesota Historical Society, and many will be put into use in the Capitol. The whereabouts of the others are unknown, but many are likely to still exist. The project will seek to locate some of the furnishings, to document stories about them, to share anecdotes about family connections, to discover details about their acquisition, and to encourage the preservation of these historical artifacts. Information will be assembled in a database and made available through the Cass Gilbert Society website. The initial concept for the project was presented by Carolyn Kompelien and Marjorie Pearson on September 19, 2014, at the annual conference of the American Association of State and Local History held in St. Paul. Fundraising for the project is proceeding under the leadership of Carolyn Kompelien and John Yust, vice president of the Cass Gilbert Society.

Cass Gilbert Society Day-Long Tour to Owatonna and Faribault
October 17, 2015

Members and friends of the Cass Gilbert Society are invited to join a day-long tour of Owatonna and Faribault, Minnesota, to view works by Louis Sullivan, Cass Gilbert, and Clarence Johnston. The widely acclaimed National Farmers’ Bank in Owatonna, built in 1907-1908, was the first of Sullivan’s so-called "jewel-box" banks, built over a period of several years in the Midwest with the design assistance of George G. Elmslie. Commissioned by Carl Bennett, the bank president, the bank, now a branch of Wells Fargo, has been the pride of Owatonna since its opening. We will tour the bank and its immediate surroundings in downtown Owatonna with commentary from Marjorie Pearson, Ph.D., past president of the Cass Gilbert Society, and a representative of the Owatonna Chamber of Commerce.

The tour will then proceed to Faribault, home of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, which boasts a 1910 armory building designed by Cass Gilbert and several buildings and the signature Whitney Memorial entrance arch designed by Clarence Johnston in the 1920s. Tom Blanck and Marjorie Pearson will provide architectural commentary. Following the Shattuck visit we will be having lunch at The Depot Bar and Grill in Faribault.

We are also planning to view the Gothic Revival Episcopal Cathedral, designed by James Renwick and built in 1862-1869 for founding bishop Henry Whipple. Renwick is best known as the architect of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Gilbert was involved in some of the design work in the adjacent Romanesque Revival style guild hall. If time permits, we will stroll along Central Avenue, Faribault’s Main Street. We will return to St. Paul between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m.

The tour is scheduled to leave from the Unity Church parking lot, southwest corner of Portland Avenue and St. Albans, St. Paul, at 8 a.m. Cars may be left in the lot. We will serve coffee and snacks on the bus. Tour cost: $35 plus pay-your-own lunch expenses; limited to 30 people. Reserve by October 12 with Carolyn Nayematsu:, 651-699-7407 or 651-492-8752; then send your check to Cass Gilbert Society, P.O. Box 4066, St. Paul, Minnesota 55104. Registration Form.

American Association of State and Local History Conference, St. Paul
September 17-20, 2014.

Early Registration deadline is Friday, July 25, 2014.

See why history matters! September 17-20, 2014. For more information:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 7PM.
John C. Guenther, FAIA, The Work of Cass Gilbert in St. Louis

University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Download Flyer [161KB PDF]

Architect John Gunther, AIA, of St. Louis, will be speaking on the work of Cass Gilbert and Harvey Ellis in St. Louis. John was one of the leaders of the Cass Gilbert Society St. Louis tour in October 2013.

Highlights included behind-the-scenes tours of two of Gilbert’s major civic building: the St. Louis Public Library (1912) and the St. Louis Art Museum (1903). Both buildings have been recently restored and renovated. Mr. Guenther’s talk will be followed by a question and answer period. Other participants on the St. Louis tour will also be present to answer questions and comment on the tour.

Admission is free to Cass Gilbert Society members and students. A $5 contribution is asked from others.

Saturday, August 23, 2014.

Cass Gilbert Home and Building Tour. There are two identical tours, morning and afternoon. A block of 20 tickets is being held for pre-registered Cass Gilbert Society members.

Explore the exteriors and interiors of public buildings and gracious homes designed by Cass Gilbert one of the most prolific and stylistically versatile architects of his generation.

In partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society History Architecture Crawls program, Cass Gilbert Home and Building Tour; morning and afternoon bus tours of Cass Gilbert sites. Registration is required through the Minnesota Historical Society; see for more information & registration.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 5 – 8 p.m.

Northwest Architectural Archives Fundraising Event

To be held at the Owre House, Minneapolis. Designed by Purcell and Elmslie, the house was built in 1911. Includes talks and a buffet supper. Suggested donation $50/individual, $70/couple.

Visit this historic Prairie School home and learn about the rich holdings of the Northwest Architectural Archives, part of the University of Minnesota Libraries. These archives house the drawings, photographs, and records of the work of notable Minnesota architects including Leon Arnal, Ralph Rapson, and John Howe.

For more information: