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Refectory Building at Minnehaha Falls

Minneapolis, MN

Public Asset

The Refectory Building at Minnehaha Falls has been a jewel of the Minneapolis Parks System since 1905. The waterfall is a destination for millions of visitors from the Twin Cities and around the world, and many of them come inside this building, which serves as a gathering space, storage facility, restroom, and home for the popular Sea Salt eatery. It is an iconic part of Minneapolis history but heavy use over the past century took a toll. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board engaged Miller Dunwiddie to develop and implement a long-range plan to preserve and improve this asset for its second century.

Our firm’s deep experience with historic properties guided a renovation that meets stringent preservation standards while enhancing the function and efficiency of this busy facility. We felt it was essential to preserve the original charm of this building that has been a special landmark for so many generations. Discussions with the park board, Sea Salt, preservationists, and citizens led us to focus on function and longevity, including window restoration, roof replacement, restroom modernization, and wayfaring and accessibility enhancements to the open pavilion and restaurant. Our firm was honored to receive a 2016 Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Award for this project.