Placeography:Featured place/2013-05

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Anson S. Brooks Mansion, 2445 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Anson S. Brooks Mansion is a highly unusual—and unusually striking—piece of architecture in the Twin Cities. Constructed almost entirely of limestone, the imposing structure boasts accents of sandstone quoins, window casings, and other details, including elaborate interlaced arched gothic parapets and large rows of lancet windows along the west, north, and south stretches of the 3rd floor. Its architectural style is Venetian Gothic. The architects were Long & Long and construction began in 1907. The interior is a showplace for a lumber baron with an 18’ x 43’ barrel-vaulted foyer trimmed in solid mahogany. The first-floor library is finished entirely in Circassian walnut with a massive fireplace and gothic-inspired bookshelves. The dining room and grand stairway are finished in mahogany—each panel carefully selected for its uniform grain. And the stairway features an impressive two-story Art Nouveau-style stained glass window at the landing. Even the ceiling in the porte cochere connecting the mansion to the carriage house features an impressive coffered ceiling. Aside from being exceedingly elegant, the Brooks Mansion was also state-of-the-art when built. Among other features, the 15,000+ square foot mansion boasted 5 bathrooms on just the 2nd floor alone (which explains the then princely sum of $12,000+ for utilities). The second floor also contains an impressive billiard room trimmed in white oak and complete with beamed ceiling and then newly fashionable Arts & Crafts-style fireplace. The mansion even boasted a dark room on the third floor, adjacent to the grand ballroom, which was incorporated in the design to satisfy the Brooks family’s passion for photography.

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