|Read more about the Sperry Flour Co.
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1. Pillsbury Flour Mill
2. The Stone Arch Bridge, crossing the Mississippi River
between Portland Ave. S and SE 6th Ave, Minneapolis
(We also accept the Third Avenue Bridge, Minneapolis.)
3. National Fireproofing Co of Pittsburgh (NATCO)
|Answers to Quiz #357
June 24, 2012
|1. What is this structure and what larger complex is it part of?
2. What bridge is nearby?
3. What company made the bricks it was built with?
|Photograph complements of Nelson Spickard.
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
Janice Kent-MacKenzie Christine Walker
Ben Hollister Collier Smith Dennis Brann
Audrey Nicholson Robert Austin
Daniel Jolley Donna Jolley Elaine C. Hebert
Claudio Trapote Arthur Hartwell
Talea Jurrens Marcelle Comeau and Jack Berkey
|Comments from Our Readers
|I assumed the ur sign was flour. My google search was ineffective until I tried "&ry's
flour". One of the pages indexed was "pulsbury" This brought Pillsbury Flour to mind.
The rest is history. I was born in Minneapolis and lived there twenty some years. I
don't think I ever saw Pillsbury's mill. Dad worked for General Mills, so why
investigate Pillsbury's mills? Good quiz. Arthur Hartwell
Firstly I just happened to be sitting on the computer when the email came through. And
Yes, that search [on the keywords red brick flour mill] is what worked for me...but it
took a few tries to fine tune the wording for the search. I volunteer for the Malthouse
Theatre company situated in what was a malting house for a brewery, so am a bit
familiar with red brick industrial uses. I really do hope that the Pillsbury A Mill finds a
new use. Ironically the boy across the road on whom I had a crush all my childhood
now lives in Minneapolis. Janice Kent-MacKenzie
I can pretty much guarantee "red brick flour mill" works much, much better than
"names of flour".
The trouble is that the flour packages say "Pillsbury Flour", but the sign says
"Pillsbury's Flour", with the extra ' and "s". It drove me crazy until I just gave it up and
went with the building description. And, son of a gun, there it was! Eureka! Natco also
did the tiles for Pabst' and Schlitz' breweries here in Milwaukee, which I thought was a
cool thing to find out. Janice MacKenzie must a midwesterner, used to seeing grain
elevators and mills, and breweries too, maybe! I like to bake so at first I thought,
"hmmm, piece of cake", so to speak, because I know flour brands, but it didn't turn out
that way. I thought it was really interesting. Christine Walker
Almost gave this a miss after some futile searching. Even searched for Nelsen/Nelson
Spickard to see if there was any clue of location by submitter!! I was trying to guess
what the word between "ry's" and what is obviously "flour" would be, and do some
wildcard Google searches, but no luck. One of my searches lead to look at Flickr. It
wasn't the correct photo, but I did a search of photos tagged Flour Mill and found it
on the second page.
The research the writer of Bridge Number 9 did abut the Mill was fantastic, and the
advert that listed the Natco built the elevators at the Pillsbury A Mill was a good
Good quiz topic. Thanks. Ben Hollister
I image-googled "brick flour mill pillsbury's" because I could see it was a grain storage
bldg and/or mill, and I could see the last letters of "flour" and Pillsbury's is a famous
flour miller, and you mentioned brick.
Your bldg appeared in the top row of photos. Finding the "brick" maker took a little
more effort: I googled red tile elevator pillsbury mill and found "Who made those pretty
red tiles? Part 2" near the top. The author's analysis sounds accurate to me.
Originally thought to be southern Minnesota tile-maker, A. C. Ochs, but could be HB
Camp, which sold out to National Fireproofing Company (NATCO).
I think I got a little lucky on this one. I thought the second word on the sign was
probably flour, but Pillsbury didn't immediately jump into my mind. I typed in 'brick
flour mill bridge' into Google, did an image search, and one of the first sites that came
up was the one on Bridge Number 9. The rest was easy. Robert Austin
I showed John this one as I couldn't seem to get started. He suggested a grainery or
mill of some sort as the construction looked familiar to him; I had come to the same
conclusion because of what looked like "silos"
We then figured out what the letters in the neon sign on top were "..ry's" and "..ur" and
decided it must be a flour mill. More research led us to the mill areas of Minneapolis.
From that we found this site:
I then started researching the bridges (found the following map, amongst others)
then started looking at actual photos, particularly of the Stone Arch Bridge.
I also read about the architect Leroy S. Buffington and construction materials
used. Marcelle Comeau and John Berkey
|Talea Jurrens Goes Above and Beyond the Call of Quiz Duty
High Five Talea!
Initial Observations: This photo is that of
unidentified brick structures that appears to
have been built in sections or stages and
probably at various times. The lower level
could possibly be a loading dock. It is part of
a larger complex that includes at least two
additional structures on either side of the
building. There are no clues as to the time of
year; however no ice or snow is visibly
present. There are no visible people and no
vegetation. There are no obvious clues as to
the photo date, street address or the city
The word "flour" is originally a variant of the word "flower".
Both derive from the Old French fleur or flour, which had the literal meaning
"blossom," and a figurative meaning "the finest." The phrase "fleur de
farine" meant "the finest part of the meal," since flour resulted from the
elimination of coarse and unwanted matter from the grain during milling.
where the property is located.
There is a sign visible on the top right corner of the
building to the upper left corner of the photo. It
contains at least two separate words. The top
appears to be a possessive noun due to the
apostrophe S. The last two letters of a possible name
are RY. Another letter preceding the R is unreadable.
The second word’s last two letters are UR. Given
the industrial style of the building and the presence of
a loading dock, it is likely that this would be a
product that is manufactured. A database search
shows three possible manufactured products that
end in UR. They are fur, flour and sour. Other clues
in the photograph point to the likelihood that this
location was a grain elevator for manufacturing flour.
|How Donna Solved the Puzzle
|The shape of the building and the ur made me think of a flour mill and
from there ry’s had to be Pillsbury’s. From there I looked at pictures
until I identified the Minneapolis mill. Some pictures included the
Stone Arch Bridge. One picture led me to Natco who made the red
bricks. I liked this puzzle.
Matriarch of the Jolley Puzzle Clan
Since the building appears to be historical
in nature, a Google image search was
made for historical flour manufacturers.
Two possible candidates, Pillsbury Flour
and Sperry Flour, were located. The
Sperry Flour signs and logos did not
result in any images similar to the partial
sign in the subject photo. Neither did the
images or logos use similar letter types or
the name Sperry in a possessive form.
A Google image search for Pillsbury
Flour produced several historical logos
using the Pillsbury name in possessive
American Carpenter and Builder Company,
American Builder, October 1920, p. 86.
form. This included Pillsbury’s Best Flour. The searched also produced an image
containing the sign and the building depicted in the photograph. Note that the building
in the lower left hand corner of this photo is labeled Pillsbury A. The sign was likely
added to the added between 1918 and 1920. See Figures 1 and 2 below.
The loading dock and nine story adjoining building were likely built between 1915 and
1917. The Minneapolis Golden Jubilee, 1867-1917, dated June 1917, states that the nine
story building was a “recent addition.” This article and an image of the complex are
|Figure 2. Pillsbury A Mill, view of
mill, elevator, and ca. 1918
expansion, Pillsbury Rye Mill,
Anderson Brother's building, Stone
Arch Bridge, and Tour Glacier
National Park advertisement,
The focus of the subject photo actually shows two separate buildings, the red brick
grain elevator and the limestone brick loading dock. Google Maps street view shows
that these Pillsbury A Mill buildings are located at approximately 386 Southeast Main
Street, across from Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, in Minneapolis,
A photo that apparently shows construction of the tile elevator was found on the
Minnesota Digital Library, Minnesota Reflections website. Flour Milling Industry
History Collector, Richard Ferrell, added a comment giving a brief history of the
elevator’s construction and dates it to 1910. 
Lisa Peters, author of the Bridge Number 9 blog (bridgenumber9.com), researched the
Pillsbury elevator and agrees that it was likely built in 1910. The blog also shows that
the National Fire Proofing Company (NATCO) of Pittsburgh likely provided the hollow
tile that was used for fireproofing. The site has an advertisement from the 1913 issue of
Building Progress which has a list of grain elevators built using NATCO Hollow Tile
after 1900. The list included Pillsbury Flour Mills Co. of Minneapolis.  An earlier
issue of Building Progress also includes a National Fire Proofing Company ad listing
|Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minneapolis Golden Jubilee, 1867-1917: A History of
Fifty Years of Civic and Commercial Progress, p.82-83 books.google.com/books/reader...
Just to note:
Question #3 is not quite clear as to which structure it is referring to but I am assuming
it asks about the red brick grain elevator. The question could be referring to the bridge
or any one of the three buildings in the photo as well. The loading dock appears to be
constructed from at least four different types of brick and the grain elevator has at least
two different types. Two of these types comprise the main bodies of each structure,
while the other four were probably used for decoration, to make repairs or to fill in
previously existing windows. I did not count the building on the left side of the photo
since it was not the main focus. A search of city directories might reveal clues as to
who provided the limestone bricks; however it is also possible that these bricks were
imported from elsewhere. Further research would be needed to establish the builder.
|The Stone Arch Bridge is the closest
bridge of interest. It crosses the
Mississippi near the Pillsbury A Mill
complex. It spans a distance of 2,100 feet
in length and is 28 feet wide. It consists
of 23 arches and is made from local
granite and limestone. It was built in 1883
by James J. Hill, a railroad baron who
wanted to create an easier way to move
people and products across the river.
Today, it is mainly used for foot traffic
and cyclists. 
 Minnesota Digital Library, Building the Pillsbury A Mill, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
1910, digital images, Minnesota Reflections
 Lisa Peters, Bridge Number 9, blog, Who made those pretty red tiles? Part 2
 Kemteck Web and Social Media, Stone Arch Bridge, website, History