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Ten Fun Facts About Pillsbury Hall

Get to know English's future home
October 9, 2017

As a recent Star Tribune article acknowledged, Pillsbury Hall is a historic icon that should be enjoyed by many more generations of students. The University's $36 million renovation will provide not only a permanent home for the Department of English, but 21st-century classrooms for the 6,000 students who take English classes annually. More info on this 1889 beauty:

Detail from outside of Pillsbury Hall: Faces

1. Pillsbury Hall is named after the man who paid for it: John S. Pillsbury, eighth governor of Minnesota (1875-1881).


2. Pillsbury Hall is Minnesotan made from the ground up: yellow Hinkley Sandstone and red Fond du Lac Brownstone.

3. Generations of University students saw Pillsbury Hall as a "blackened fortress"—before a 1985 cleaning uncovered curious faces, colorful flowers, and shields.

4. Generations of future University students will benefit from a renewed Pillsbury Hall interior as bright and functional as its facade.

5. Three floors, one set of bathrooms. (Thus, another need for renovation.)

6. The Greeks believed the sight of snake-headed Medusa (right) would turn a person to stone; so far, Pillsbury Hall's version appears benign.

Image of Medusa from outside of Pillsbury Hall

7. State & University shields adorn Pillsbury, with respective mottos "L'Etoile du Nord" and "OMNIBUS ARTIBUS COMMUNE VINCULUM" (a common bond for all the arts).

8. Long-time inhabitant Earth Sciences couldn't do modern science in Pillsbury Hall (built 1889); but English lit is a perfect fit. (Earth Sciences moved last fall into the reconstructed John T. Tate Hall.)

9. For almost 130 years, the Pillsbury Hall attic held dusty papers and rocks; with English, it will hold public readings, performances, and talks!

10. When English moves from Lind Hall into a renovated Pillsbury Hall, the College of Science & Engineering will be able to expand its computer science programs. #Win-win.

Learn more about funding for the renovation.