Northwestern Casket Company
Back in February of 2005, I took the first three photos of the Northwestern Casket Company building in NE Minneapolis, at 17th and Jefferson. I had visited their offices in the 70's, and assumed that they had since gone out of business. I posted those 3 photos and comments lamenting their demise. It wasn't long before I received an email from NW Casket, emphatically informing me that they were quite alive. I was offered a tour, which I eagerly accepted. These photos are from that tour. Three friends interested in history joined me, for NWCC has an incredible history... in business since 1882, they built this building in 1885 and have occupied it ever since. At one time their operation included a sawmill and dry kiln to process lumber for their casket carpentry operation. They no longer do carpentry, but now produce custom interiors. (click on thumbnails for larger images)

Comments added 5/19/09:
Northwestern Casket Company, after 124 years, is no longer in the building, which has been converted to an artist's community. The building is now called the Casket Arts community.

Comment added 10/03/09: NWCC is still in business, selling caskets:
Northwestern Casket Company
4300 Quebec Ave N,
New Hope, MN 55428
(763) 231-0290

Originally two separate buildings with walkways between them, then later connected by the center section.

The section on the rear here was added much later.

A grand old sign, visible looking east on 17th, because the street jogs around NWCC

Inside the new section... shipping and receiving

Our tour guide, Dave Koll, in the white shirt

walking through a casket shell storage area

That big old wheel once drove machinery

An original arched doorway with a counterweighted steel door

A shot of the ceiling. This building is build like a rock... looks like it would handle another 120 years.

View of what was once part of the carpentry area. Note the massive old workbenches and wood vice.

A splendid old cart

Our first view into the area where casket interiors are created

The sewing area

More of the interior construction area

Dave explaining their automated embroidery equipment

More of the embroidery machine

Another view of the sewing and construction area .

The large casket display area, showing the great variety available, and many custom interiors

A handsome example, with a Navajo theme

A very old clock in the display area

A company photo, when NWCC was much larger. The caption reads
Ninth Annual Picnic
NW Casket Co. Employees @ Bass Lake