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 WALKER BUILDING - 6516-20 Walker Street

T.B. Walker built his two-story brick Walker Building across the street from the Hamilton Building at 6516 Walker Street starting in 1888 and completing it in 1892. The Walker Building was also known as the Syndicate Building and later the Manufacturer’s Agents Building. Together the Walker and Hamilton Buildings were known as the Brick Block.


A huge fire hit the Walker Building early on February 3, 1917, reported the Minneapolis Tribune.  It started at the meat market of A.M. Shields.  The blaze was discovered by Dan Saara, who ran a rooming house on the second floor of the Walker Building that housed 100 men who worked at the Monitor Drill.  The report says "Because of a high east wind, hope of saving the building was abandoned early, and all efforts were turned toward preventing a spread of the flames.  An engine company was called from Minneapolis, but they got stuck in the snow three miles away.  The firemen walked the rest of the way and gave what assistance they could.  After the fire the building was rebuilt, but the eastern section was only built back to one story.

 

One curious note from the Commercial Club minutes of July 1917 indicates that Mr. Gorham (presumably the manager of the building) refused to put in heat or toilets in the upstairs of the Walker building.

The building was sold at auction on September 24, 1942 for $10,100. E.C. Ruble of Willmar bought the large two story section of the building for $7,000.  The one story section was purchased for $3,100 by J.K. Seirup.  Another one story separate building was purchased by developer Douglas Rees for $600. 


The Walker Building still stands today as a functioning office building on Walker Street.  It was last sold in November 1999 for $382,500.

 

 

BUSINESSES OF THE WALKER BUILDING


Like the Hamilton building, businesses came and went, and moved from one building to the other. Storefronts housed such concerns as:

  • Doc Brown's barber shop and pool hall (1904 to 1907 and again from 1910 to 1942)
  • Swenson and Redeen Grocery Store (1923 until 1948 when it moved to the Hamilton Bldg.)
  • St. Louis Park Drug Store run by the Yeager family (1938)
  • Stile Drug Store, which occupied the west part of the building
  • Anderson Bros. Dry Goods
  • Lambert Butcher Shop
  • Acme Venetian Blinds
  • Athens Restaurant (1917)
  • A.M. Shields Meat Market (1917)
  • N. Dworsky & Son General Merchandise and Grocery (1917)
  • E.H. Shurson Insurance and Real Estate
  • The American Legion met on the second floor of the Walker Building until its own building was built on Excelsior Blvd.
  • The Wilson Rubber Packing Co. ("a war project") was a tenant in 1942 before it became Minnesota Rubber.
  • There was even a small moving picture house operated by Jake Werner and Eric Liljenfors in 1915-1917. The men never resumed business after the fire. 
  • The fire department was located at the Walker Building until the 1907 fire when it moved to Monitor Drill. 
  • Park Woolen Mill (October 1953)
  • In one memoir there was a chicken hatchery on Walker Street
  • In about 1934 the east wing of the Brick Block (which building?) was used as a school for 7th graders.
  • Park Press was advertised in the Echo in September 1950:  Headquarters for School Supplies.  The address was 6516. It was also at 6516 in the 1951 directory. In 1954-55 Park Press was listed in the Echowan at 3406 Louisiana (now Library Lane), and then in 1962 back at the Walker Building.
  • The Dutch Mill Dairy Bar advertised in the 1950 and 1951 Echo at 6518 Walker St.  It featured ice cream, lunches, dairy products, cold drinks, and candy.
  • The Spoolie Curler Co. was at 6520 in 1959.
  • Pierre Lenmark Co., 1961
  • Wonderalls children's clothing company was started in 1946 by St. Louis Park mothers Mabel Elstrom and Ruth Pauly.  They began production in a garage and moved to the Walker Building where they had 40 machines operating.  In 1950 the business was purchased by a Twin Cities group and in 1953 the plant was moved downtown (although the photo below taken in 1955 shows the name of the company on the building).  In 1954 an additional factory was opened in Buffalo, Minnesota.  By 1956 the company employed 150 people.

1955


This is the two-story part of the Walker building


The one-story section, 2007





 

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This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.