Pillsbury A Mill

The Pillsbury A Mill, located near the Saint Anthony Falls on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was for more than forty years, the largest flour mill in the world. It was completed in 1881 and was owned by Pillsbury and operated two of the most powerful direct-drive mill wheels that were ever built. Each had an output of 895 kW (1200 hp ). The mill still stands on the east bank of the Mississippi River, but has ceased operations in 2003.


In 1879, after five years of secret planning, Charles Alfred Pillsbury announced in public that he wanted to build the largest and most advanced mill, which has seen the world. He had traveled to mills around the world and had been looking for the best techniques for grinding grain on a large scale. Contrary to the habits of the time, he wanted the mill was designed by an architect, so the building is also an attractive sight met. An architect by the name of LeRoy S. Buffington led from the design. Construction began by the contractor George McMullen in 1880 and was completed in 1881. The mill was designed for the production of 5,000 barrels a day - although at that time a mill with a capacity of 500 barrels was considered large - and attracted so much attention. For some years the mill was not fully used, partially used as a warehouse or other purposes

Because of the vibrations the refining machinery and poor construction had parts of the building in 1905 are amplified and some sections were even rebuilt. Unlike some other similar large mills in the neighborhood - the best known is the explosion of the Washburn A Mill - came Pillsbury A Mill never on fire and so is today the wooden original timber.

Over the years, the output of the mill increased, partly because of technological advances in the milling industry. Other large mills were built and the luster that once surrounded Pillsbury A, disappeared.

The building is a National Historic Landmark in 1966 entered in the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the Contributing Properties in the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District.

The floor plan of the Pillsbury A Mill is a rectangular building with dimensions of 53 m to 35 m. The foundation consists of Platteville limestone. The outer walls have a different thickness ranging between 2.4 m and 0.6 m in the cellar to the roof of the building. The outer walls are load-bearing stone walls, which are reinforced on the inside with heavy beams ( the beams was added after the completion of the building ). On the roof there are six fireplaces. The roof is flat and covered with gravel.

When the mill was still in operation, serving each of the seven floors and the basement of a special purpose. In the basement, a transformer plant, water inlets and electrical systems were housed. On the first floor there was a small mounted on the bottom screen, and a larger, hanging from the ceiling, as well as a pressure vessel. The second floor housed conveyor belts and a canteen. The third floor was equipped with conveyor belts and other containers. On the fourth floor were dust collector, centrifugal machines, rotary vane, millstones, scale and a packaging warehouse. In the fifth sieves, separators, centrifuge, were installed. On the sixth floor container were housed for the flour. On the seventh floor there was a room with electrical equipment.

In recent times, the mill complex was slowly converted into studios and apartments for artists. 1997 became the A- Mill in the discussion because an artist, died in a connected with the mill studio from poisoning by methyl bromide. The mill is occasionally treated with methyl bromide to destroy bacteria. Before bromomethane was usual, cyanide was used in fumigation for disinfecting mills, which became illegal later. Mills and timber frame structures must be fumigated to prevent that get stuck in the wood bacteria.

Future of the mill

As of 2003, production at the mill was stopped and the building stood empty. That's why there are plans to completely overhaul the complex. The project, known as the East Bank Mills includes a Loftwohnungskomplex with 759-1095 units. The 32,000 sqm project consists of two and a half blocks in the center of Minneapolis and to add new building with a commercially used area of ​​about 9750 square meters. Some of the adjacent grain silos will be demolished as part of the project. Parking for the complex should arise between the buildings and underground. The 300 million dollar project combines the idea of ​​a comprehensive development of the area by including the historical sites with six new buildings.