Monday, March 2, 2015

The Young-Quinlan Building in Downtown Minneapolis - Antique Dolls, Clothes and Accessories

When I started this blog five years ago, one of my goals was to comment on whatever life brings - not just recipes, not just gardening, but whatever happens in the course of a day.

Yesterday I was scheduled to work at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  I was early so had time to kill.  There is a massive network of "skyways" downtown and, in no time at all, I found myself walking through a skyway in the old Young-Quinlan building at 901 Nicollet Avenue.

Second story of the Young-Quinlan building.
As a result of that walk, here is what I found out.  In 1894, the first ready-to-wear dress shop west of the Mississippi was opened at 513 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis by Elizabeth Quinlan and her partner, Fred Young.   After Mr. Young died in 1911, Miss Quinlan took over the successful business which focused on high-quality, modern apparel for men and women.  In 1926, she moved the store to 901 Nicollet in the newly constructed building designed by Frederick Ackerman of New York, the architect who had designed her home at 1711 Emerson Avenue South in Minneapolis just two years earlier.  His design incorporated Miss Quinlan's desire to have a "beautiful home" for her merchandise.  It was, and still is, an elegant building which was given historic preservation status in 1979.

Fortunately, the owners of the building have set up beautiful glass and wood cabinets (perhaps they are original to the store?) to highlight some of the early Young-Quinlan merchandise.  What a pleasant surprise to come across this display as I walked through the second level of the building!

Merchandise cabinets.

Miss Quinlan traveled to France to find an artist to design the image to be used on the store's boxes and for all other purposes.  He painted this picture of a woman without the gold beads.  Miss Quinlan was concerned that a picture of a nude woman would not go over well in Minneapolis.  With a flourish, the artist grabbed his brush and quickly painted in the gold beads about the shoulders.  With that, the painting became the official image of the Young-Quinlan store.  Notice this image on the hatbox in the photo below.

Mens' Accessories

I was so pleased to see that these charming objects have been preserved and are on display for others to enjoy.  Coming across this delightful display reminded me that there are so many things in life that can fill us with so much joy, when we least expect it!  

To read more about Elizabeth Quinlan's very interesting life, follow this link and this link.

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