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.

View 20 more comments

  1. itsmepete 30 months ago | reply

    stunning pov and shot Dan..

  2. bent.christiansen 29 months ago | reply

    This is very mesmerizing and the composition is awesome. Nice with the person in the top; creates an immense view ........around your question, concerning macro-work. I have a Nikon 60 mm and I am always using extension tubes ....on the shot I did use 3 tubes .....I have planted so many flower seeds in this month, to attract all the insects .... I am looking forward to meet all the pollinators. I wish you good luck with your new lens and I'm looking forward to see some here on Flickr? ........take care, Bent.

  3. Onasill ~ Bill Badzo 25 months ago | reply

    Wowww....Dan, excellent, a wonderful perspective, compliments. Have a nice evening

  4. RPGB 21 months ago | reply

    I`m very, very impressed of this shot, Dan...this is a real masterpiece of photography

  5. hockerjr 21 months ago | reply

    Awesome comp!!!! Really cool back story, thanks for providing!

  6. Goromo 17 months ago | reply

    Awesome!!! I remember driving that plant thousands times and thinking it was so huge. The stairs look beautiful. Love the placement of the lights in your image. I'll have to stop by next time I'm in town. A great piece!

  7. Aaron Yeoman [Old Account] 16 months ago | reply

    Wow, what an awesome shot. Love all the aspects going on here and the warm tones. Great work!

  8. Visual Images1 14 months ago | reply

    Amazing ! You are invited to add your photo to
    Saturday for Stairs
    Saturday for Stairs

    Please join us...

  9. janicelemon793 14 months ago | reply

    what's not to love about this amazing image - and thank you for the history of the structure - fascinating

  10. flashfix 13 months ago | reply

    This is really cool; great tones and repetition!

  11. Mega-Magpie 12 months ago | reply

    Amazing work, very well done.

  12. Gerard Koopen 12 months ago | reply

    wonderful work!!! well seen! beautiful colour tones!

  13. katarzyna_wrobel 11 months ago | reply

    Brilliant picture.

  14. anselmoportes 5 months ago | reply

    This is AMAZING! Well done!

    You did it again....
    Again and Again and Again ~ Post=1 - Com=2

  15. randy gerdes, Flying Coyote Photos 5 months ago | reply

    Love the photo and being able to get "the rest of the story." Wonderful package, nice work.

    You did it again....
    Again and Again and Again ~ Post=1 - Com=2

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