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Minneapolis Plan Vault Collection

Identifier: N115

Scope and Content Note

The Minneapolis Plan Vault Collection is composed of plan sets deposited by builders and architects with the Building Inspections Department from 1909 to 1993 as a prerequisite for obtaining building permits. The Archives has sampled the plan sets to retain a broad spectrum of styles and buildings, including churches, commercial and industrial buildings, multi-family dwellings, hospitals and other types of structures.

The plans listed in the detailed contents section comprise approximately 2/3 of the total collection. The remaining 1/3 has not been inventoried but is searchable by Archives staff using the building owner's name (commission name) at the time of construction.

This finding aid was developed from a database which used a combination of last names and first initials as the leading entry, so researchers are urged to use the ctrl + ffunction to search for desired commissions, using either the street address field and/or the commission name. Researchers should contact the staff of the Archives in advance of planning any research visits to use this collection.


  • 1910-1993

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open to the public for reseach use. Copies may be requested if the condition of the material warrants.

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of the collection.

Historical Note

The City of Minneapolis first began to issue building permits in 1884. In 1910 the City began to retain plans collected by them upon the issuance of building permits. Over the course of years the City routinely discarded residential plans to make room for incoming drawings, thus the collection contains few, if any, plans for houses.


3150 Cubic Feet


The Minneapolis Plan Vault Collection contains plan sets (copies) deposited by builders and architects with the Building Inspections Department from 1910 to 1990 as a prerequisite for obtaining building permits.


The collection is organized alphabetically by commission name.

Physical Location

High Bay, Mezzanine


The collection was acquired as a donation from the City of Minneapolis Department of Inspections (now Regulatory Services, 2010) in 1984.


Plans sets were added to the original 1984 donation until 1993.

Related Material

A group of materials have been separated from the main collection and placed in a subset of plans called "Significant Architects." There may be separate collections for many of these architects but the drawings in this group have not been removed from the Minneapolis Plan Vault Collection.

Because of the size of this additional group, a separate finding aid was created and can be accessed via this link: N115a Minneapolis Plan Vault Collection: Significant Architects

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Alan K. Lathrop and Cole Ranzau in 2009 and 2010.

Minneapolis Plan Vault Collection
Alan K. Lathrop and Cole Ranzau
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