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L.S. Buffington papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: N2

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes plans, specifications, sketches, renderings, a scrapbook, and photos. More than 100 of the sketches were drawn by Harvey Ellis.


  • Creation: 1865-1929

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available to the public. Advance notice is requested.

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of materials in this collection. Copies can be requested if the condition of the originals warrants it.

Biographical Note

Leroy Sunderland Buffington was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1847 and received all of his formal education there. His first employment was with the architectural firm of Hannaford and Anderson, whom he left in 1871 to move with his wife of two years to St. Paul. He entered partnership with Abraham Radcliffe, an established architect, which lasted until 1874, when he moved to Minneapolis and opened an office that he continued to maintain until 1931. He had no partners.

In 1880, he was appointed the official architect of the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba Railway Company, and by 1885, he had one of the largest practices in the Twin Cities. Near the end of his life, he credited himself with designing $20 million' worth of structures throughout the United States. He applied for and received a patent in 1887 for the steel skeleton method of construction for high-rise buildings, the basis upon which all modern skyscrapers are built. However, his claim was challenged in a court suit, which he eventually lost.

Buffington died in Minneapolis in 1931.


67.75 Cubic Feet (20 flat file drawers, 2 drawings boxes)


The collection includes plans, specifications, sketches, renderings, a scrapbook, and photos from the practice of a prominent Minneapolis architect.


The collection is organized alphabetically by commission name. The renderings by Harvey Ellis are listed separately at the end of the commission list. (The commission list ends with the entry for "Yellowstone Hotel.")

Physical Location

High Bay; Mezzanine; Audio-Visual Room

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Christine Emeott, 2000; the EAD version was written by Barbara Bezat, May 2004.

L. S. Buffington Papers
Barbara Bezat
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Northwest Architectural Archives Collecting Area