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Saint Mary's University Center

Our Newest Addition

With a historic mansion, carriage house, modern event center, 124 parking spaces, Saint Mary's University Center is perfect for all sorts of events, from convention meetings, weddings, small parties and everything in between. Offering pleasant aesthetics and functionality, the complex covers 1.66 acres in south Minneapolis and is the newest addition to Saint Mary's Twin Cities properties. The mansion and carriage house, both built in 1902, consist of 30,000 square feet and the event center, built in 1990, has 54,000 square feet. The mansion and event center are connect by a lovely outside area called the Park Avenue Patio.

The Charles M. Harrington mansion was designated historic by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission in 1988 and will be protected for years to come. The main entrance, grand staircase, auditorium, ballroom, as well as the majority of furnishings and decor are still original. This building has an elegant beauty to it, as well as relevant historical significance.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is excited about this extraordinary opportunity, and can’t wait to discover what great uses the property will yield, both for Saint Mary’s and the community!

History of the Harrington Mansion

At the turn of the 19th century, Charles Harrington of the Van Dusen-Harrington Company had a majestic brick Italian Renaissance-style home built on the corner of 26th Street and Park Avenue in Minneapolis. The avenue at the time was very much the showplace of Minneapolis society and was the city's only asphalted pavement uptown, so surfaced from 10th Street to 28th Street.

While occupied by the Harrington family, the mansion contained a library, drawing room, dining room, den, kitchen, and servants’ hall; the family’s bedrooms were located on the second floor. Each room on the second floor was once connected with the one adjoining it, so an entire circuit of the house could be made without entering a hall passageway. A ballroom and auditorium fill the third floor, while billiard and card rooms were housed in the basement.

The mansion was later purchased in 1930 by the Zuhrah Shrine Organization, which continued to oversee and maintain the restoration of the mansion for the past eighty years. Care has been taken to preserve the ornamental decor completed by Swedish and Norwegian artisans - including carved imported mahogany woodwork, ornate brass fittings, painted murals on the ceilings and walls, as well as numerous pieces of furniture, paintings and light fixtures original to the mansion.

When you enter the Harrington Mansion, through the large main door, you'll immediately see the original Italian mosaic on the floor. Just ahead is the main staircase. At the top of the first set of stairs is a platform with a grand window where the stairway splits in half and continues up on each side. The stairs converge again as you reach the second floor, which creates an indoor balcony overlooking the spectacular landing. The woodcarvings on the staircase were done on a hand peddled wood lathe and would be nearly impossible to duplicate today.

Additional Information

For more information about Saint Mary's University Center, please contact Kathy Busch, (612) 238-4578.