· The Harrington Mansion and Events Center, with the historic mansion, carriage house, modern event center, and 124 parking spaces, encompasses 1.66 acres in South Minneapolis. The mansion and carriage house consist of 30,000 square feet and the event center, built in 1990, has 54,000 square feet.
· The Harrington Mansion was built in 1902 by the Pike and Cook construction firm under the architectural direction of Frederick Kees and Serenus Colburn.
· The Harrington Family resided in the mansion from 1902 until 1929, when the property was sold to the Zuhrah Shrine fraternal organization, which owned the property until 2011.
· The Harrington Mansion was designated historic by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission in 1988.
· Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota owns the property, which is located next to the university’s Minneapolis campus.
· Architects Kees and Colburn designed the Harrington residence in the Italian Renaissance style. The architectural team also designed the Minneapolis Grain Exchange Building and the Loring Theater, which is now the Music Box Theater.
· While occupied by the Harringtons, the mansion contained a library, drawing room, dining room, den, kitchen, and servants’ hall; the family’s bedrooms were located on the second floor. A ballroom and auditorium filled the third floor, while billiard and card rooms were housed in the basement.
· Each room on the second floor connects with the one adjoining it, so an entire circuit of the house can be made without entering a hall passageway.
· Owner Charles Harrington brought in artisans from Norway and Sweden to perfect the home’s ornamental décor that can still be seen today.
· Charles Harrington, a native of New York, moved to Minneapolis to work for George Van Dusen, founder of a grain processing and distribution business that would become the Van Dusen-Harrington Company in 1889. From 1889 to 1928, Charles Harrington served as the company president.
· Charles married Grace Ross, also a native of New York, and together they had one child named Laura. Along with the Harringtons, Mrs. Harrington’s sister, Isabel Ross, and three servants lived at the estate.
· September 26, 1872, marked the beginning of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (AONMS), which is now known as Shriners International.
· Zuhrah Temple was number 23, chartered in 1886. Today there are 191 temples throughout North America.
· From the beginning, the Shrine was involved with charities. The first Shriners Hospital for Children opened in 1922 and the Twin Cities Unit opened in 1924. Today there are 22 hospitals, 19 orthopedic units, and 3 burn institutes. The services of these hospitals are free to children up to the age of 18 years, regardless of race, religion, or relationship to a Shriner, provided there is a medical need that can be helped.
Zuhrah has had four locations in Minneapolis and moved to its most recent location, 2540 Park Avenue, in 1929. The property was purchased for $25,000, which is less than one-third of today’s property tax burden. Zuhrah Shrine Center has been built and rebuilt twice, but the historic mansion remains intact.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011