International Market Square, 275 Market Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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International Market Square

International Market Square October 2008
International Market Square (year unknown)
Address: 275 Market Street
Neighborhood/s: North Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1915
Current Function: Other
Current Function: Office Space, Retail, Lofts
Other Current Function: Office Space, Retail, Lofts
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick

North Minneapolis Minneapolis, Minnesota Hennepin County, Minnesota

International Market Square, 275 Market Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.980225° N, 93.289014° WLatitude: 44°58′48.81″N
Longitude: 93°17′20.45″W


Building Chronology

The Northwestern Knitting Company officially opened and began production in 1887. At this point production was housed in a warehouse in north Minneapolis that the three founders rented. During this first year of incorporation, the company decided it was necessary to obtain land on which they could build their own factory. The three founders convinced local businessmen to share in their vision of Minneapolis as a center for textile production by way of investment. Charles A. Pillsbury, the flour miller; Clinton Morrison, the banker; and Thomas Lowry, the railroad tycoon all provided the Northwestern Knitting Company with financial support, as they became the company's first investors. In order to preserve the company's working capital, they used stock to pay for both the construction of the new factory and the land on which it was built.

The newly acquired land covered an entire square block bounded by Lyndale Avenue North, 3rd Avenue North, Aldrich Avenue North, and Glenwood Avenue. The plant's new address would become: 718 Glenwood Avenue. Construction of the first building was finished in 1890. All five of these buildings were constructed in the Neo-Classical revival style. This style helped to create the feeling of one, unified industrial plant, despite the presence of five separate buildings. The complex was comprised of yellow Chaska brick.

Undergarments continued to be produced in the Glenwood Avenue plant until 1980. In 1981 Munsingwear halted manufacturing at the Minneapolis plant and transferred operations to other locations. Machinery was gathered up and shipped elsewhere. The factory buildings were cleaned and dismantled. An atrium was created to connect the buildings and create an interior space out of the railroad loading and unloading site.

The actual structure of the plant complex has been changed little after the last major building was finished in 1915, and the exterior of the International Market Square appears much the same as it did back in 1915.

In 1985 the old Musingwear Inc. building became International Market Square (IMS), it is Minnesota's largest renovated building. IMS is a showplace for home, office, and commercial furnishings and accessories. International Market Square's primary function is to serve professional designers, architects, specifiers, contractors, builders, and their clients. Providing quick access to information on new trends, patterns and services. IMS has 70 plus showrooms to showcase new high class design features. Their inventory includes virtually every single item for the home or office environment. It was the first design center anywhere to include architectural buildings products like brick, tile and moldings with home and office furniture and accessories. The building also includes 96 residential lofts that can be viewed at

Company History

Originally called the Northwestern Knitting Company, Munsingwear was established in 1885 when a contract was drawn up among Frank Page, Edward Tuttle, and George Munsing. After moving the company to Minneapolis in 1886, the three planned to begin manufacturing undergarments using George Munsing's innovate new fabrics.

George Munsing was a superintendent for Rochester Knitting Works in New York State. Munsing had begun to experiment with knit fabrics, and his goal was to invent a new type of woolen fabric that was soft to the touch and could replace the current pure wool knit fabric used in undergarments that irritated the skin of most wearers. His goal was achieved when he combined wool with silk. The threads were placed in such a way that the silk threads were next to the skin, while the wool threads lay on the outside surface. Thus, this new fabric relieved itching and irritation, while remaining warm and durable.

It was soon determined that Munsing would be in charge of the manufacturing aspect of the company while Page and Tuttle, both recent MIT graduates also involved in the knitwear industry, would be in charge of marketing the new products.

The Northwestern Knitting Company soon became one of the nation's leaders in the production of knitwear, especially with Munsing's invention of the union suit. The union suit was and undershirt and underdrawers combined into a one-piece suit. This new design solved the complaint that many people voiced about feeling cold because their undergarments separated when they bent over or moved around.

George Munsing resigned in 1893. He was the last of the founders to leave the company. After spending some time doing research, Munsing returned to the company in 1919 and was appointed as Research Investigator.

The company officially changed its name to the Munsingwear Company in 1920, one year before Munsing's death.

Importance to the North Side Community

This location is different from the others discussed within this project because instead of acting a location in which the Jewish or African American communities could congregate, it acted as a place of exclusion. Oddly through this exclusion this location was able to help foster these community ties. As the Munsingwear Plant, it acted as a boundary for the Jewish Community. Since most of the employees at the plant were Finnish and the plant was located on Glenwood (the Finnish commercial district), the Jewish population was not included within this large and important part of Minneapolis commerce. As the International Market Square, this building brings the large African American community closer together through this group's exclusion. Most of the African Americans living in the North Side neighborhood do not have anything to do with the IMS building, which is comprised mainly of upscale design firms and show rooms.

Memories and stories

"So it has come about that the business entrusted with the use of my name had, at the end of a generation made 'Munsing' a household word to millions who do not know me, and thus lengthened and strengthened my personal efforts as a pioneer of the underwear industry." -George Munsing to employees (1919)


65}px This place is part of
Public History 3001 Class Project
64px}px This place is part of the
Minneapolis Jewish North Side Tour

Photo Gallery

Related Links


Koutsky, Kathryn Strand. Munsingwear and International Market Square:Celebrating the Buildings' First One Hundred Years 1904-2004. Minneapolis, Minn.:Portobello Press, 2004.

Diamanti, Mike. "Munsingwear A Struggle For Greatness," Hennepin County History, Lake Area, December, 1987: 1b-4b.

International Market Square. Design International Market Square, 1985.

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