The world’s first fully enclosed (and climate-controlled) shopping mall is Soutdale Center in Edina, MN. It opened it’s doors in 1956 and was originally called “Southdale Shopping Center”. Southdale was financed and developed by local retailer, Dayton’s (now Target Corp). By the mid-1990s there were over 25,000 enclosed malls in the United States.
The first home to have air conditioning in the United States was built in Minneapolis in 1913. This home was also the largest home in Minnesota at that time. Referred to as the Gates Mansion, this 38,000 square foot wonder was built for Charles Gilbert Gates. Gates passed away in 1913 (at age 37) before his mansion was finished. The air conditioning unit – located in the basement – was seven feet tall, six feet wide and 20 feet long. (Hennepin History Museum). The home was demolished in 1933.
The first circular concrete grain elevator in the United States was built in St. Louis Park, MN in 1899. Commissioned by Frank H. Peavey, founder of Peavey Companies. Built with concrete because grain elevators at that time used expensive wood and were more vulnerable to fire. This structure still stands today at the intersection of Hwy 7 and Hwy 100 and is owned by Nordic Ware.
Downtown Minneapolis is home to the World’s largest continuous network of skyways. The Minneapolis Skyway System spans 8 miles (13 km) and connects over 69 city blocks. It allows people to walk in a climate-controlled environment without the need to go outside to go from building to building.
“The Quietest Place on Earth” (as designated by the Guinness Book of World Records) is the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is 99.99% sound absorbent. The longest that anyone has stayed inside the “anechoic chamber” is just 45 minutes.
The inflatable roof at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome collapsed four times since it was first inflated in 1981. In November 1981, December 1982, April 1983 and December 2010. In 1982, it took four days to re-inflate the roof. All of the roof collapses were due to heavy snow. The Metrodome was demolished in 2014 and later replaced by U.S. Bank Stadium.
During the winter of 1888, residents of St. Paul built an ice palace for the St. Paul Winter Carnival. At that time, it was considered one of the largest buildings in the world, measuring 14 stories high and covered one acre.