Historic North Loop

Loop Back: From Heavy Hardware To Fashionable Furniture

Built in 1890, this brick and stone warehouse at the corner of 1st St N and 2nd Ave N, was the home of Williams Hardware wholesaling company for more than 60 years, selling tools, building materials and (starting in 1914) auto supplies.

At the top of the arched entry, you’ll see a keystone with the year 1890 inscribed in it. And there’s a cornice along the top of the building with the name of one of the original owners, “Seymour.”

Ads from the 1920s-40s show the building lined with long banner signs, as well as a water tower and an oversized Williams Hardware flag on the rooftop.

A 1961 article (with an interesting photo at the bottom) details how the company started as a little retail store on Hennepin Avenue in 1861, selling ox yokes, wagon wheels and horseshoes, and grew to a wholesaling giant that listed 30,000 items in its inventory. The company moved out of the North Loop in the early 60s.


From the mid 1970s to the 1990s, the building was a furniture warehouse with showrooms for the International Design Center.

Ads from the 1970s featured contemporary home furnishings imported from Scandinavian and European countries.

The building has since been renovated and restored for office and retail use.

We have several more pages of neighborhood history throughout our Historic North Loop section.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

Subscribe to our Newsletter