Found Twin Cities: The General Mills Research Center

It’s been 30 years since local author Larry Millett published his book Lost Twin Cities, celebrating the architectural masterpieces lost to the wrecking ball over the decades.

His book later became the subject of a public television documentary series of the same name.

In that spirit, we go out looking to rediscover those bits of the city’s past that still exist today. Our first stop is the 2000 block of East Hennepin Avenue in northeast Minneapolis.

Here we find the former home of General Mills’ Research Laboratories in the Como neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Construction on the 14-building complex began in 1930. General Mills abandoned the site in the early 1960’s, moving the lab closer to its current suburban Golden Valley corporate campus.

Some 1930’s detail from a doorway.

The complex now hosts multiple tenants, ranging from commercial and industrial concerns to artists and artisans. A few markers of its past remain on display —

Building No. 1 displays the iconic Time magazine cover from 1973.

The good life in Minnesota does seem like a long time ago. If the 2010 Hennepin Avenue complex feels like Minnesota’s economic past, filled with Fortune-500 companies competing on the world stage, the state’s future lies across the street.

The Hennepin Square Office Building houses a full dozen companies engaged in the personal care assistant (PCA) industry.

Of the 12 PCA companies, 9 are current vendors of the state’s Department of Human Services, taking in millions of dollars each year in taxpayer money. The largest operation located there is the Circle of Life.

The good life, redefined.