Loop Back: Wagons, Tractors And Windmills
As American settlers continued their westward expansion at the turn of the century, farm implement distributors like Dean & Company could hardly keep up with demand.
Dean had been sharing space with other distributors in the warehouse at 300 North Washington (now the Hewing Hotel) starting in 1898. But within a few short years, it was obvious the company needed a building of its own and so it built one across the tracks at 404 North Washington in 1902.
With spacious showrooms along Washington Avenue and a lower level that led right to the Great Northern Railroad’s tracks, Dean was in a prime location to showcase and ship out the cultivators, pumps, windmills and other farm implements that were in high demand.
The company had a line of carriages, wagons and other vehicles known as Dean Diamond Vehicles. The company’s diamond-shaped logo can still be seen around the exterior of the building.
The head of the company, William J. Dean, was president of the Minneapolis YMCA and a one-time candidate for US Senate for the Prohibitionists.
The Northern Rock Island Plow Company started sharing space in this building in 1910 after its facility in the mill district was destroyed by fire. Eventually, Rock Island Plow took over the operations here and built this into one of its busiest regional branches. Its biggest sellers were Heider tractors and Peoria grain drills.
The last year the company appeared in city directories at this address was 1936.
In subsequent years, the building served as a warehouse and distribution center for a wide variety of companies–everything from wholesale grocers to footwear manufacturers to furniture distributors.
For many years, it was among a few buildings in the North Loop known as Security Warehouse. When a redeveloper converted the building to residential lofts in 2004, they kept the Security name.
We have many more pages of neighborhood history throughout our Historic North Loop section.
By Mike Binkley, North Loop Neighborhood volunteer