Creation and Development

900 Bush Avenue: The House That Research Built

Early Years in Saint Paul

When the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company relocated from Duluth to Saint Paul in 1910, all of the company offices and manufacturing operations were housed in one small building on Forest Street by the railroad tracks in Dayton's Bluff. With the success of its sandpapers, 3M expanded into a second building by 1919. The offices were on the second floor. The development of “Wetordry” sandpaper in 1921 and “Scotch” masking tape in 1925 led to a period of sustained growth. Building 3 was added to the sandpaper plant in 1923 and Building 12 for minerals sorting in 1928. The first stage of Building 14 was constructed on Fauquier Avenue, west of Building 2, in 1929 to expand the plant facilities. Building 20, west of Building 14, added even more manufacturing capacity.

Growth in Saint Paul

As more products were developed and sales increased, more office and factory space was needed. In 1937, company president William L. McKnight announced a half million dollar expansion program that included Building 20 for manufacturing in 1937-1938 and Building 21 as the new administrative offices in 1939-1940. Buildings 22, 23, and 24 were built for tape research and manufacturing over the following decade. Building 42 was constructed in 1950-1951 to house the company's expanding office staff, sales departments, and division heads, following a major reorganization in 1948. As 3M expanded, it acquired properties in the neighborhood and demolished existing houses to provide sites for Building 24, the water tower, and the adjoining parking lot.

From Saint Paul to an International Company

The administrative complex was the hub for the development of company strategies for research, product development, and product diversification. 3M's international division was also head-quartered in this complex.

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