Cass Gilbert Society

Fellowship

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

CASS GILBERT SOCIETY CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY October 13, 2018, Minnesota State Capitol
Members and friends of the Cass Gilbert Society celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the organization on October 13, 2018, at the Minnesota State Capitol. The L'Etoile du Nord Vault, a reclaimed space in the basement of the Capitol, was an excellent venue for the occasion. The Society's interpretative display panels that highlight important aspects of Cass Gilbert’s career were arranged around the perimeter of the room. John Yust, Cass Gilbert Society president, welcomed everyone and introduced proclamations by Governor Mark Dayton and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. Helen Post Curry, a great-granddaughter of Cass Gilbert, recounted her experiences with the Cass Gilbert Society, beginning with her first visit to St. Paul in 2004, and her ongoing advocacy for the preservation and restoration of Cass Gilbert buildings. Among these efforts are the tour program she offers for the lobby of the Woolworth Building in New York City (https://woolworthtours.com/) and ongoing efforts to save the Seaside Sanitorium, Waterford, Connecticut, one of Gilbert’s last works that is unique in his oeuvre.


Jean Velleu, the first president of the Cass Gilbert Society, recounted the first years of the Society and its origins in the efforts of the U.S. Courts Second Circuit Committee on History and
Commemorative Events to organize a symposium in New York City in 1998. As part of that effort, the symposium group toured St. Paul and invited participants to the New York City conference. Some of that early history is also recounted in the Cass Gilbert Society Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 4. Marjorie Pearson, the second president of the Cass Gilbert Society, spoke about the educational mission of the Cass Gilbert Society and how it was carried out through the Newsletters, the Society’s website, and the ongoing tour program. The first website was introduced in 2001 and subsequently upgraded in 2008 and 2010, thanks to several grants awarded through the Minnesota Historical Society. The tour program has featured local sites in St. Paul and vicinity as well as other cities throughout the United States where Gilbert made significant contributions. One very important project was the sponsorship of the Twin Cities Public Television video, Cass Gilbert Standing the Test of Time, with major funding from the John R. Cross Fund (2006), winner of two regional Emmy awards.


Ted Lentz, Cass Gilbert Society president between 2010 and 2016, spoke about the success of the interpretative display panels, originally created in 2008 and expanded in scope and content in 2010. Most recently the panels were installed for six months in the Capitol (January – July 2017). He also recounted his participation as the representative of the Cass Gilbert Society as a member of the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission and its role in the restoration of the building. John Yust summarized the Society’s most recent program, a project to locate and record furnishings from the Capitol, completed at the end of 2017. This project was enabled by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society. The project has its own dedicated website https://furnishings.cassgilbertsociety.org/.


Katherine Solomonson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Minnesota College of Design, and Marjorie Pearson, Ph.D., Cass Gilbert Society President Emerita and Newsletter Editor, then presented “Cass Gilbert: Architect of Intersecting Worlds,” an overview of Gilbert’s life and career and the Midwest and East Coast forces that shaped his work. Their presentation was followed by a buffet lunch. Following the lunch, Ted Lentz led a tour of the Capitol for those who wanted a more detailed look. Tour visits have greatly increased with the opening of the Capitol following the restoration. The Capitol is open for visitors seven days a week with tours on the hour. For more information, see http://www.mnhs.org/capitol/activities/tours.

The Work of Architect Edwin H. Lundie, FAIA (1886-1972)
Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 7pm, University Club

Peter J. O’Toole, will discuss the work of architect Edwin H. Lundie, FAIA (1886-1972), who began his career in Cass Gilbert’s St. Paul office in 1904 and then became a draftsman in the office of Emmanuel Masqueray. After Masqueray's death in 1917, Lundie joined Fred Slifer and Frank Abrahamson to form a successor firm. Then he set up his own practice in the Endicott Building, specializing in residences for prestigious clients. Mr. O’Toole, a resident-owner of a Lundie-designed house, was so intrigued by the architect’s work that he has published Edwin H. Lundie, Five Decades: A Journey of Art and Architecture.

Approaching the Capitol: The Story of the Minnesota State Capitol Mall
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 7pm, University Club

Marjorie Pearson, Ph.D., will present "Approaching the Capitol: The Story of the Minnesota State Capitol Mall", based on her article of the same title published in the Winter 2017 issue of Minnesota History. Cass Gilbert began to envision a grand boulevard leading to the Capitol in about 1900 while the building was under construction. He spent almost the next 30 years, until the end of his life, advocating for an approach that would do justice to his building’s design. The decades-long struggle to realize Gilbert's plans reflected the competing financial and political interests of the State of Minnesota, the City of St. Paul, and Ramsey County, as well as St. Paul business interests. A version of the plan was finally implemented in the 1950s as part of a massive urban renewal project to recreate the larger environment around the Capitol. Dr. Pearson, a past president of the Cass Gilbert Society and editor of the Newsletter, will provide an account of the Mall’s convoluted history.

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: http://www.mnsah.org/events/spring-tour-2016/. For more information: contact Rolf Anderson at 612-824-7807 or roanders6@aol.com.

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: http://www.roselawncemetery.com/index.php/services/events.

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"!