The Ivy Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Even before the first blueprints were brought to fruition, it was clear that Minneapolis’s Ivy Tower was destined to be different. In both form and function, the tower contrasted greatly from the popular skyscrapers going up at a rapid rate throughout the country.
The tower's structure was first commissioned by the Second Church of Christ Scientist, a religion that was eager to accommodate its growing congregation in the area. Nebraska-based architect Thomas R. Kimball was tapped to design the Second Church of Christ Scientist complex, which was originally conceived as four slender towers surrounding a larger, domed center. Though Kimball already had national acclaim for designs such as the Trans Mississippi and International Exposition, he was about to introduce Minneapolis to a style of architecture, the likes of which the city had never seen.
The Ziggurat style—which draws upon the design of temples common to the people of the ancient Mesopotamian Valley and Iran—is identified as a terraced pyramid of successively receding stories. Such was the style Kimball chose for the Church, though church members were deterred by the original estimation of $185,164 that was needed to bring his sketches to life. Kimball responded with a more modest design, though traces of its original intention can be found in its current design.
Upon the tower’s completion in 1930, the Depression brought further development of the complex to a halt, as church members were unable to fund the second phase of construction. The church itself was facing dwindling numbers in its own congregation, as the prevalence of automobiles increased and the allure of the suburbs beckoned.
Used mostly as an administration building, the building was purchased by W and T Investment Company in 1965 and named the Ivy Tower. S and P Properties purchased the property in 1991, though the tower was boarded up in 1993 when the building’s heating system failed. The Ivy Tower remained relatively untouched until its transformation into Hotel Ivy in 2008.