The ornate classical Rowes building and its co-joined twin the Rothwell’s Building were constructed in 1885 for 2 separate owners, with the ground floors designed to be offices and the upper floors warehouses as was the case with so many buildings from this era in the city.
By 1909 Rowes was tenanted by one William Effy whose mother Minna Rowe established on the ground floor a catering business and what was to become one of Brisbane’s landmark iconic cafes – the 380 seat Rowe’s Café. Effy later bought the building and in 1925 engaged City Hall architects Hall & Prentice to make major alterations and extensions to it.
In 1958 part of the café was converted into the decorative plaster-ceilinged Rowes Arcade and in 1984 NMLA bought it along with Rothwell’s and altered it yet again.
235 Edward St