Shortly after Remington Rand bought
out ERA, a new engineering, manufacturing, and management building was built along the Mississippi across the river from
historic Ft. Snelling. As the new St. Paul corporate headquarters it was labeled Plant 1, Sperry
Park while the facility on Minnehaha was labeled Plant 2. Business was growing so
a Plant 3 manufacturing facility was leased on Prior Avenue three blocks south of Plant 2,
the original ERA facility.
The local commercial operations also grew out of the Plant 1 facility so in 1961 the company
began leasing buildings in the suburb of Roseville - called Plant 4. One of these buildings
is still occupied by UNISYS and is the site of just about half of the VIP Club meetings.
In the late '50s even more engineering space was needed so a large building just South of Plant 2 on
Prior avenue was rented to become Plant 5. Yet more space was needed in the early '60s so a small building
along side the Mississippi just North of the Ford plant became a training facility and document storage building - Plant
6. Another small building alongside Hwy 280
just north of East Hennepin Ave. was rented, Plant
7, was close to Plant 4. The old Northwest Airlines office building on University Avenue was leased
and called Plant 6 because the original
Plant 6 was no longer being leased. There is some
controversy in that some VIP Club members recall that the
Northwest Airlines building was called Plant 8. Plants 2, 3, 5, and Plant
6/8 were within walking distance of each other as was Eslinger's,
a restaurant just across University Avenue.
Note that the original ERA building is discussed on the
Places header page. [lab]
Lunch breaks, dinner breaks for evening
workers, and occasional project parties all took place at
Esslingen's. A few napkin designs over a cold brew often led to problem solutions thus "Slinger's" was occasionally called
plant 9, albeit tongue-in-cheek.
In 1967 a new headquarters facility in Eagan opened, called Plant 8
because the University Ave site was being closed. In 1987, shortly after Burroughs bought Sperry to form
UNISYS, the corporation occupied 28 facilities in the Twin Cities area, as identified in the table below.
Chapter 70 updated 11/09/2016
2. 1987 Twin Cities Facilities
All twenty eight of these buildings were occupied by UNISYS personnel in January, 1987 shortly after Burroughs had
purchased Sperry to form UNited Information
Plant 1 opened about September of 1956 according to Jim Hyslopwho was hired in December 1956. The 'freeway' road at the top of the picture is West
7th Street. West 7th to the right leads to down town St. Paul. To the left crosses the Mississippi River to
Ft. Snelling, Minneapolis, and the airport. The roadway along the front of the UNIVAC building ended at the parking lot. Near the top
center along the frontage road was Gannon's restaurant, the site of the first 'First Friday' luncheon meetings.
The rectangle in the picture's center behind Plant 1 shows the footings for a 1965 plant expansion - to become
a 35,000 sq. ft. area for manufacturing the Nike-Zeus computer's film memory. Later this facility housed the first automated back-panel
wire-wrap machines brought on board for the CP-901, UYK-7, ..., manufacturing.
Today, this road is an expressway following the river
(Shepard Road) to downtown St. Paul. This second UNIVAC photo shows an addition on the east side.
3.2 Plant 3,
Awaiting inputs. In 1965, the Defense Systems
Division1 announced the acquisition of 11,000 sq. ft of existing floor space at Plant 3.
3.3 Plant 4
During the LEGACY, the commercial
operations transitioned to independence from the defense
operations. Through the late 50s to the late 60s, plant 1
housed a military computer center and a commercial computer
center across the hall from each other. During the 70s and 80s
the two organizations held annual joint technology exchange
forums at Craguns' Resort in Northern Minnesota.
In 1961 near the intersection of
Highways 36 and 280, the company1 became the first
'Space Center' tenet as they leased 130.000 square feet of
space [Building 1] from the owners, St. Paul Terminal
Warehouse Co. The Univac Data Processing Division
continued to grow, adding 23,700 sq. ft. in 1962 in Building
2, 25,000 in 1963, 24.300 sq. ft. in 1964, then an additional
182,640 square feet in 1965 as they opened building 3 [The
current plant 4]. [lab]
Another aspect of the LEGACY was
the almost free transfer of talented managers and engineers
between defense and commercial as projects started or waned.
Glen Kregness, Bob Oulicky, and Tom Soller are three
that immediately come to mind. Brothers Tom Petschauer worked
at Plant 8 while Dick Petschauer worked at Plant 4 - both in
engineering management. [lab]
In 2009 Buildings 1 and 2 were razed to make space for
Below is building 1 as photographed in June by Bruce Hyslop
- UNISYS employee and son of Jim Hyslop who is a UNIVAC
Below is building 2 as photographed by UNISYS employee Gary Rist in
1 UNIVAC NEWS TWIN CITIES SECTION June-July, 1965
3.5 Plant 5
The 'Motley Crew' component engineering group. This 1970 photo commemorates the creation of the automated
component tester. The tester in the picture was the DC & Functional tester that Dave Kirkwood designed. Of
course, you probably know that the piece of equipment off to the left (in front of Chuck Beltz) is a 1232 I/O Console that
was tied to the 1218 computer next to it. This tester was in the mezzanine in plant 5. It was designed and built
through the efforts of those in the photo.
Standing in back, left to right: Chuck Beltz, Ben Peterson, Bob Nelson, John Sanden, (obscured) Marv Burns,
Ed Genereau, Ralph Kerler, John Gould, Dick Marschafava, Glenn Younquist, Ron Christianson, Mike Farrell
Kneeling, left to right: Jim Gengler, Joe Clysdale, Tom Szenay, Al Norlander,
Bob Ginsky, Hal Rogers, and Walt Makos
Standing at the right: Dave Kirkwood and
We had some bright people designing and building items like this which were strictly for internal
use. Many of these people were later at the Plant 8 semiconductor facility. Photo submitted by Larry
D. Bolton - names from John Gould, Bradley Hinman, and Harvey Taipale.
3.6 Plant 6.
Chuck Homan told me [LABenson] that he'd worked in Plant 6 across
from the Ford plant when UNIVAC first leased it. They
called it the Micro-Tone building because that was the
previous tenant. This building was the training site for
a period of time, both programmers and field service
engineers. The snapshot below shows a card punch, a
magnetic tape unit, and a computer along with an instructor
and two students using an oscilloscope. I think that Dan
Newton is on the left and Hal Rogers on the right.
3.7 Plant 6, the second.
Many people are familiar with the old
Northwest Airlines building located on University Avenue in
St. Paul, just East of Prior Avenue. This was originally
identified as plant 8 although a few knew it as the second
3.8 Plant 7.
This building was along the west side of
Highway 280 between Hennepin Avenue and Broadway. For awhile
during the early '60s there was an old airplane shell
underneath some of the adjacent power line stanchions.
These has long since been razed and been replaced with a truck
3.9 Plant 8.
The Eagan home of Lockheed Martin MS2 was built in the 60s,
expanded in the 70s and has been modernized a few times since
then. Note the newspaper
clipping below - column 1 proudly states that this is the
"Twin Cities' 8th". Shortly after opening, the Military
Computer Test Center was moved into the basement from its
former location behind the visitor's entrance of plant
45 1/2 years later (March 2013) the facility is being
razed to make way for new business developments. Most of the
defense industry projects have been phased out or
transferred to other facilities since November 2011 when
LMCO made their announcement.
Below is a 2013 snapshot of the Eagan facility razing.
The Air Traffic Management engineering group and a small
'think tank' group of engineers are continuing an LMCO
presence in Minnesota in a leased facility on Quarry Road,
which intersects with Pilot Knob
The original semiconductor facility was in the basement of the west wing of the plant 8 facility. They later
expanded and constructed a separate new semiconductor facility at the NW corner of the Eagan property. The center of
the building was separately isolated on air cushions to isolate it from ground vibrations which might have compromised
the photolithography steps during semiconductor processing. [LDB]
Early products included MNOS memory chips for an Air Force project and custom VLSI devices for the UYK-43 and
UYK-44 projects. I believe this building is now a NW Airlines computer center. [lab]
Just to the North of Plant 8 is the 'MACS'
building, a UNISYS commercial systems support building.
This building was erected in 1987 to consolidate the various
Burroughs facilities that had been in several places around
the cities. [lab]