School of Architecture College of Design

Placeography by Sarah Ward


Figure 1: Historical Photograph of Chances Restaurant and Tavern when it served as a hotel, Placeography entry by Kate Stanger (M.S. Architecture-Heritage Conservation and Preservation student) See the entry here


As Architecture students, we relish the chance to document the places that we feel are important.


In Arthur Chen's Architecture 4675/5674 class, World Heritage Conservation, we recently completed our own entries into This wiki site was designed with the purpose of giving anyone a chance to document the history of places they feel are important. The site's full title is, "Placeography: A Website about any place anywhere that anyone can edit."


To start out this project, Madeline Douglass from the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) came to speak with us about the Placeography project. Started by MNHS in 2008, the website has over 1,000 entries which includes buildings, sites, structures, landscapes, and neighborhoods ranging from familiar places in the Twin Cities to places in Kentucky and even Canada. Out of these entries, over 65 were contributed by University of Minnesota Students.


When I discovered the magnitude of the contribution architecture students and the University of Minnesota have made to the site since it began, I was excited to get a chance to contribute to the archive. Arthur Chen feels that this opportunity is incredibly important to both the students and local heritage. When asked about the project, Arthur pointed out, "A heritage site becomes significant in everyday life when it embodies faces, voices, and places." It also reinforces our understanding of what heritage is, and how diverse cultures related to the concepts of "Outstanding Universal Value" and cultural significance.


This year, the class's Placeography entries range from prominent buildings such as St. Paul's Cathedral and the University of Saint John's Alcuin Library by Marcel Breuer, to heritage sites that celebrate small town culture, like Cottonwood Store in Deephaven, Minnesota and Chances Restaurant and Tavern in Rochester, Wisconsin.


To make your own placeography entry and to see the ARCH 5674 Featured Class Project, click HERE


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