Historic North Loop

Loop Back: Before The Boutiques

It’s become a fashionable destination with its local boutiques and a charming little bar tucked into a corner. But for nearly seven decades, the historic building at 219 North 2nd Street served industrial purposes.

Built in 1912, its first major tenant was the Northwestern Glass Company, a fabricator and distributor of window glass, mirrors and desktop glass. The building expanded in 1923 with an addition next door that was nearly identical to the original.

In the late 50s, it became a manufacturing facility for printed electronic circuits. The Bureau of Engraving, a private company with an official-sounding name, decided to branch out from its traditional printing projects and into the emerging field of electronics. 

A 1959 article in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune described the printed circuit as “a flat, plastic impregnated board with bands of copper on its surface to carry electric current to where it’s needed to operate the parts of an electrical device such as a radio.”

The new business venture was so profitable, the company had more than 1,000 employees in the late 70s and outgrew the space. It moved to a new facility in northeast Minneapolis in the early 80s.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop Neighborhood Association
1979 photos courtesy of Hennepin County Library

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