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Kees and Colburn collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: N31

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains the original working drawings for five buildings by the architectural firm of Kees and Colburn, including the Lowry Medical Building (St. Paul MN). The plans include floor plans, elevations, interior and exterior details, electrical diagrams and structural details.


  • 1910-1913


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.

Biographical Note

Serenus Colburn was born in Ansonia, CT, on October 12, 1871. At the age of 15, he came to Minneapolis and a year later became apprentice to architect James C. Plant. He entered the office of William Channing Whitney in 1891, where he became head draftsman until becoming a partner of Frederick Kees in 1899. The successful partnership resulted in the design of a number of important buildings in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, including Brown and Bigelow (St. Paul) (1913); the Chamber of Commerce/Grain Exchange (Minneapolis) (1900-1902); Advance Thresher-Emerson Newton Plow Company (1900-1904) and the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company warehouse (1910-1911), both in Minneapolis. After the firm dissolved in 1921, Colburn entered partnership with Ernest Forsell, where he remained until his death on January 13, 1927.

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 to 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.


0.5 Cubic Feet


Collection contains plans for five buildings, designed by the architectural firm of Kees and Colburn.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by commission name.

Physical Location

Mezzanine; High Bay

Additional Finding Aid

An unpublished finding aid with detailed contents is available in the Manuscripts Division.


The collection was donated to the Northwest Architectural Archives on June 4, 1974 by C.E. Von Feldt, trustee of Grover Dimond, architect.

Related Material in the Northwest Architectural Archives

The Cerny Associates papers (N 29)

William Channing Whitney papers (N 13)

C.F. Haglin papers (N 33)

Kees and Colburn collection
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