Skip to main content

Cerny Associates papers

Identifier: N29

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes extensive working drawings, microfilm, photographs, job files, and specifications. It contains representative examples of the work of all the successive partnerships from 1886 to 1978, documented in drawings with specifications for work done in the 1950s and 1960s. Buildings represented in the collection include: Minneapolis City Hall and Court House (1895-1907); Boyd Transfer Company warehouse (Minneapolis) (1902); A.S. Brooks residence and garage (Minneapolis) (1907); Buffalo County Court House (Alma, WI)(1961); Centennial Office Building (St. Paul)(1956-65); Church of the Redeemer (Minneapolis)(1904); several buildings for Concordia College (St. Paul)(1917-53); Masonic Temple (Minneapolis)(1888); Eitel Hospital (Minneapolis)(1911); Dayton's department store (Minneapolis)(1916-29); Radisson Hotel (Minneapolis)(1908); Minneapolis City Hospital (1911); Hastings (MN) State Hospital (1960); Federal Office Building (Ft. Snelling, MN)(1965); and numerous residences, churches, filling stations, and other structures.


  • 1886-1978


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division reading room. 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.

Historical / Biographical Sketch

The history of Cerny Associates began in the 1870s, when Franklin Long established his practice. Long was born in Afton, New York, on March 3, 1842. He left there in 1859 and lived and worked as a carpenter and builder in Chicago and Woodstock, IL, and as a draftsman for J.C. Cochrane, an architect. In Chicago (1867), he became a partner of Ackerman (first name unknown) for a time, then moved to Minneapolis about 1868 for health reasons. He was in private practice until 1874, when he briefly associated with Robert Alden, one of the area's pioneer architects. Long then joined Charles F. Haglin in partnership in 1875. After the firm dissolved in 1876, Haglin went on to become one of the city's leading contractors.

Long worked for the Milwaukee Railroad from 1877 to 1881 and returned to private architectural practice in 1881–1884. He was a partner of Frederick Kees from 1884 to 1897, one of the most successful firms in Minneapolis. Together, they designed and built many of the largest buildings in the city in the 1880s and 1890s, including the Public Library (1884), Masonic Temple (1888), Lumber Exchange (1888–90), Flour Exchange (1893–97), Kasota Block (1884), and many warehouses, churches, and private residences. After Kees left the partnership in 1897, Long joined his son Louis and Lowell Lamoreaux in a practice that lasted until Long's death on August 21, 1912, in Minneapolis.

Frederick Kees was born in Baltimore, MD, on April 9, 1852. He worked for architect E.C. Lind in that city from 1865–1871 and again from 1872–1878, with a brief hiatus in Chicago in 1871–1872. Kees moved to Minneapolis in 1878 and entered the office of Leroy Buffington. He became a partner of B.W. Fisk from 1882 to 1884 and then joined Franklin Long in partnership. After the firm dissolved in 1897, Kees practiced on his own until 1899, when he formed a partnership with Serenus Colburn. Colburn died in 1925, and for almost two years afterward, Kees was a partner of H.G. Bowstead. Kees died in Minneapolis on March 16, 1927.

Louis L. Long, son of Franklin Long, was born in Minneapolis about 1870. He was educated in the Minneapolis public schools and received a degree by examination at the University of Minnesota in 1894. He entered his father's firm around 1895 and became a partner in 1898. He practiced until his death on May 20, 1925, on a train near El Centro, California, while returning from a vacation trip.

Louis A. Lamoreaux was born in Lansing, MN, on December 23, 1861. His family moved to Minneapolis in 1868, where he graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1887. He then worked for Cass Gilbert in St. Paul until becoming a partner of James McLeod in Minneapolis from 1897 to 1899. He joined Long & Long and became a full partner in about 1900. Lamoreaux died of pneumonia in Minneapolis following surgery on February 1, 1922.

In 1920, Olaf Thorshov, a native of Norway who had migrated to the U.S. around 1901, became a partner in the firm of Long, Lamoreaux & Long, which was subsequently renamed Long & Thorshov following the deaths of Lowell Lamoreaux and Louis Long. Little is known of Thorshov's life or education. He died in Minneapolis in 1928.

Olaf's son, Roy Norman Thorshov, was born in Minneapolis in 1905. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1928 with a bachelor's degree in architecture and joined his father's partnership just before the latter's death. Thorshov then became a full partner in Long & Thorshov, and in 1942 he was joined by Robert Cerny. The firm was then renamed Thorshov & Cerny. When that partnership dissolved in 1960, Thorshov went into practice with Willard Thorsen, and Cerny became head of his own firm, Cerny Associates. Thorshov died in Minneapolis on March 13, 1992.

Robert Cerny was born in LaCrosse, WI, on June 11, 1908. He was awarded a B.A. in architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1932 and earned a M.A. in architecture from Harvard University the following year. Cerny was employed as Associate Architect for the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933–34 and again in 1935–36. He was a partner at Jones & Cerny in Minneapolis from 1937 to 1942, when he joined Roy Thorshov in practice (1942–1961). Cerny also taught at the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota from about 1936 to his retirement in 1976. He retired from active practice about a year later and died in Minneapolis on January 31, 1985.


80 Cubic Feet


The collection includes extensive working drawings, microfilm, photographs, job files, and specifications. It includes examples of the work of all the successive partnerships from 1886 to 1978 and a collection of specifications from Thorshov and Cerny and from Cerny Associates for later work.


The collection is organized in five series:

  1. Working drawings
  2. Microfilm
  3. Photographs
  4. Job files
  5. Specifications

Physical Location

Mezzanine and High Bay


Donated by The Cerny Associates, Inc. in 1976.

Related Material

Related collections in the Northwest Architectural Archives include: Long & Kees Papers (N 24), C. F. Haglin Papers (N 33), Kees & Colburn Papers (N 31), Foster Dunwiddie Papers (N 142).

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Archives staff in the 1980s.

Cerny Associates papers
Archives staff
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