minneapolis minnesota underwear stairs

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minneapolis minnesota

Looking up the International Market Square building stairwell in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is the largest commercial double helix staircase in the US - built with straight runs and flat landings it intertwines two separate sets of stairs, one for going up and one for going down.

More than you probably want to know:
Although it looks like artwork by M. C. Escher, these unique stairs have a more utilitarian reason for existence - or so the story goes: International Market Square used to be the old Munsingwear underwear factory. George Munsing invented non-scratchy underwear in 1891 which was a miracle for the textile industry but sewing the stuff all day was not a fun job and employee morale became a problem. When George designed his new state-of-the-art factory in 1904 he spared no expense by putting in one set of stairs to accommodate happy people coming to work, and one set of stairs for the exhausted people leaving. With two sets of stairs, different shifts of employees would never run into each other - morale problem solved.

The Munsingwear company was extremely successful and became the largest manufacture and distributor of underwear in the world. Eventually competition caught up and market declines forced Munsingwear to close down the Minneapolis building in 1981. In 1985, the old factory was renovated and the complex was renamed International Market Square, which currently holds offices, shops, showrooms and this cool set of stairs.

Paulo Vergolino, kenny barker, and 888 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. grendelschlumpf 10 months ago | reply

    Positively Escheresque!

  2. Visual Images1 9 months ago | reply

    Awesome shot, Dan!
    You are invited to add your photo to
    Saturday for Stairs
    Saturday for Stairs

    Please join us...

  3. tiikka 9 months ago | reply

    Great shot, lovely work and great perspective. Love the warm colours too.

  4. Pere73 9 months ago | reply

    OMG Hypnotic stair composition !!! Crazy POV !!! :)

  5. charbar2009 8 months ago | reply

    Fantastic !! Beautiful spiral stair composition!

  6. Wish_Art 7 months ago | reply

    Great photo Dan :-)

  7. PeteHuu 6 months ago | reply

    stupendous spiral Dan

  8. Rafakoy 6 months ago | reply

    Wow! Incredible! Perfect composition, lines and forms.

  9. patiigraphy 6 months ago | reply

    awesome POV Dan ! love it !

  10. R.L. Images 5 months ago | reply

    Wonderful work!

  11. foleyfols 4 months ago | reply

    Hi Dan, Any way I can buy a print of this from you? I also like your picture of the lock and dam. I am looking to give prints of both to my nephew, who lives in St. Paul.

  12. Dan Anderson. 4 months ago | reply

    Hi Sarah, sure send me a Flickr Mail message and we can share emails

  13. RALPHKE 3 months ago | reply

    Great picture...also cool story !!!

  14. theghostnote 3 months ago | reply

    where was this taken?

  15. Dan Anderson. 3 months ago | reply

    Hey Michael, it was taken at the International Market Square building in Minneapolis - see the Description and Flickr Map

  16. theghostnote 3 months ago | reply

    Thanks man. I just moved to Minneapolis last week and I'm looking for some cool places to shoot.

  17. Dan Anderson. 3 months ago | reply

    It's off in the far North West corner of the building - and a big plus that's it's inside :)

  18. patiigraphy 2 months ago | reply

    wow !!! Dan this is just marvelous :)

  19. itsmepete 4 weeks ago | reply

    stunning pov and shot Dan..

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