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March 10, 2014

The Young Quinlan Department Store In Minneapolis

By RetroRuth

We recently took a very short trip to Minneapolis for my brother’s wedding. I know what you are thinking: Minneapolis in February sounds terrible. And it was. Luckily, the hotel we stayed at was on the heated Skywalk that connects most of the city’s downtown, so we were able to explore downtown a little without even having to step outside into the freezing, horrible cold.

There were a ton of really great buildings on the Skyway that we enjoyed, but I have to say that the Young Quinlan Building was my favorite. Built in 1926, this building is way more Art Deco that Mid-Century Modern, but it also housed the Young Quinlan department store until it closed in 1985. There was a very nice little museum display and information about the store during its heyday.


The store’s founder, Elizabeth Quinlan, was considered to be one of the countries top businesswomen in the 1930’s and was the first woman clothing buyer in the country.


These cases were filled with wares from the store and photos of the original store displays.



There were so many pretty hats and gloves!



One of the things that this building is known for is its amazing elevators. Unfortunately, it was really busy that day so we weren’t able to get a photo of the inside of one, but here is a shot of the top lights.


A few more of the architectural details. According to this display, this was the first building constructed in the downtown area that also included a parking garage!


Some of the original display cases from the store. They were gorgeous!


Has anyone ever heard of this store before, or did anyone go while they were still open? Apparently they had a fantastic soda fountain. I would have loved to see that!

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9 Responses to The Young Quinlan Department Store In Minneapolis

  1. Fanfreluche Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Oh the old display cases! I could totally buy that for my home. They are just amazing. They’ll do fantastic curiosity cabinets.

    • C A Maloney Reply

      March 15, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      To the person who may be interested in purchasing one of these historic and beautiful hand carved wooden display cases, my family and I have one to sell. It was in our parenet’s unique Historic Mansion in the Linden Hills area of Minneapolis since they purchased the display case in 1985. We are located in the Minneapolis, MN Area.

      Please contact me if you are seriously interested in owning one of these beautiful display cases.

      Our charming unit has three front hand carved, deep wooden drawers, two sliding back entry doors to glass cabinet. Is wired under the case for top lighting of glass cabinet.
      Size: 6’ W x 2.5’ D x 38.75 T, we believe the wood is Walnut. It is beautiful!

  2. Andrea Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Fantastic displays! I absolutely love that stained glass exit sign as well!

  3. Sara In AZ Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve never heard of this department store before…..it sure does look like it was fabulous though!

  4. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Such pretty displays! I’d love to go back in time and stroll those aisles.

  5. Jacki Reply

    March 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    My husband and I lived in Minneapolis from 1982 – 1987 while he attended the UofM. Neither of us have ever heard of this place, but I really wish I had, it sounds super.

  6. Jerry Reply

    May 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I used to go into this store and have lunch at the Fountain Room which was on the fourth floor. The elevator that took you there was operated by a person in white gloves, not a bank of buttons. Very charming place, very nice women’s clothing. To this day, there is still a woman who runs the elevator, the last in the state of Minnesota still manually operated.

  7. C A Maloney Reply

    March 15, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I just want to ad a thank you to RetroRuth. I unexpectedly stumble upon this incredible article and photos you did on our cherished Young-Quinlan Department Store. I am born and raise in the Twin Cities. Our Mother and Grandmother often took my two Sisters and I to special luncheons and shopping at Young-Quinland. Oh, the joy of going to the Fountain Room and sitting by the incredible large water fountain made it feel like we were in France or somewhere special far from home. When they closed their doors in 1985 it was a deeply sad time in our lives as we spent so many meaningful times there for our birthday’s since we were little girls maybe 3-5 years old on up. It was one classy department store not like any other store although, at that time Dayton’s Department Store, a block away, was also a classy store with incredible activities on the 8th floor that included a special room with a stage and concert area in which I saw several famous people perform there as a teenager.

    So many memories of the golden era of these two landmark department stores. Every time I go downtown I look at the historic building that Young-Quinlan built and recall all the might-fine time I spent their with family and friends.

    Thank you for capturing this special history and sharing it. I am much older now, my Mother and our grandmothers are all gone now and your publication of this great historic treasure in Minneapolis has been a wonderful treat to start my day on this 3/15/2015 Sunday morning. With gratitude!- Cheryl

  8. Linda Reply

    February 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

    In the late 1970s and early 1980s my two sisters and I often traveled from St. Cloud, MN on the greyhound bus on a Saturday to shop downtown Minneapolis on the Nicollet Mall. This is where we discovered Young Quinlan’s. We loved this store! The elevators were so neat! We were collecting Hummel figurines from Germany. We traveled to Young Quinlan’s to buy them. The store was so beautiful. So sad that it is now gone.

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