Modern Movement

by | Sep 2023

Philip Pillsbury House

Philip Pillsbury House. Photo: Wayzata Historical Society

Wayzata and the 55391 zip code have been regarded as a hotbed for modern design, beginning in 1892 when Frank B. Long constructed Squirrel’s Nest on Wayzata Bay. It took another 20 years for modernism to proliferate worldwide.

In 1913, architect George Elmslie designed a large prairie style house in Wayzata. In 1914, Wright was commissioned to design a summer home on Robinsons Bay in Deephaven. It was demolished in 1972.

In the 1920s and 1930s, art deco became the predominant form of modern design. In 1929, Wayzata mayor Rufus Rand built the Rand Tower in Minneapolis. Another local art deco icon is the Wayzata movie theater marquee (1932).

After World War II, modernism closely resembled the boxy style of architecture we associate it with today. In 1953, architect Philip Johnson designed an international-style home in Orono, which still stands today. Minnesota architect Ralph Rapson continued this trend with other local homes in the late 1950s and 1960, the largest being the Philip Pillsbury house (1963–1997) on Ferndale Road.

By the 1970s, modernism was beginning to fade. The most significant example of late-modernist architecture in Wayzata was the Dayton-Burnet house (1970–2016), designed by architect Romaldo Giurgola.

Aaron Person serves as the president of the Wayzata Historical Society. Discover more at


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