Faribault Woolen Mill

  • Location: Faribault, MN
  • Architect: Miller Dunwiddie
  • Client: Faribault Woolen Mill

Project Highlights

  • Oldest manufacturing entity in Minnesota
  • Patchwork of multiple structures spanning nearly a century
  • Repair of non-standard structural framing


Faribault Woolen Mill is the oldest manufacturing entity in the state of Minnesota dating back to 1865. The present mill facility was built in 1890 on the banks of the Cannon River and was in operation up until 2008 when economic conditions forced its closing. After sitting silent for four years, the mill was to be reopened but first needed repair before operations could resume. MBJ provided a complete condition assessment of the mill’s structure, which is wood-frame with brick exterior bearing walls and early concrete basement walls. Complicating the assessment were additions and modifications made to the facility since 1890, three of which used the same materials as the original structure and eight more during the twentieth century that were of various construction types, including wood, structural steel, and light metal joist roofs. Much of the addition work is non-standard structural framing, likely performed by mill staff or local semi-skilled workers. MBJ identified 13 areas of concern, the most crucial of which were repaired or temporarily shored until full repair could be made. As new equipment is introduced and resources made available, MBJ continues to repair and modify the newly reopened mill.