2. Our Minnesota state capitol building is located in St. Paul. It was
completed in 1905 and was praised throughout the United States at the
time as being one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the country.
3. The following slides will take you on a trip into the past as well as the
present. You will see buildings that you can visit and also buildings that
are no longer standing. This will be a trip into Minnesota history.
4. When the Minnesota Territory was organized in 1849 there was no
capitol building. The legislature held its first meetings in the Central
House, a small hotel in St. Paul.
5. The first capitol building was completed in
1854. (Minnesota later became a state in
1858.) This building was enlarged twice but
was destroyed by fire in 1881.
6. The second state capitol was built. During this time the state flag was
adopted and the Lady Slipper was chosen as the state flower. The building
was too small after a few years and a committee was formed in 1891 to
consider constructing a third capitol!
7. In 1895 Cass Gilbert was selected as the architect for the structure. He
planned to have the capitol face south overlooking the main business
district of St. Paul. Groundbreaking took place in 1896. The total cost of
the capitol was $4.5 million dollars.
12. The capitol today looks quite different from Mr. Gilbert’s original plans. The
capitol grounds are much smaller than he wished. The challenge today is the
increase in parking and office space.
13. At the base of the dome, on the front of the
capital, is a sculpture called the “Gold
Horses.” It symbolizes the triumph of
government and prosperity. The statue in the
center is called Prosperity. In one hand he
holds a horn of plenty containing the fruits,
grains and other vegetables grown in
Minnesota. His other hand holds a banner
bearing the name of the state. He is standing
on a chariot drawn by four horses. The figures
are made of sheet metal covered with copper
and gold leaf.
14. The columns used in the capitol building are also made of Georgian marble.
Each column is decorated with symbols from Minnesota – the Lady Slipper
flower, the bald eagle and the striped gopher.
16. When you enter the capitol building you will find yourself in the rotunda
at the center of the building. This large round area is 60 feet wide and
142 feet high. It extends from the first floor up to the dome. In the
center of the floor is a large glass star set in brass and lighted from
below. Around the wall of the rotunda are glass cases containing flags
that were carried by Minnesota soldiers in many wars.
17. The star in the rotunda floor can be seen even better from the second floor
balcony. Notice that the star has eight points.
18. We are now on the second floor of
the rotunda. You can see life-size
statues of Minnesotans who
served in the Civil War. Look at
the two columns of Minnesota
granite. Each column is 20 feet
high and 3 feet wide and weighs
over 9 ½ tons! The red stripe
above the columns is the red
pipestone from southern
19. If you look straight up from the rotunda floor you can see four pictures
painted on the ceiling of the dome. These panels were painted in Paris,
France and shipped to St. Paul.
20. As you walk through the capitol building you will
see many murals representing the history of the
21. The Senate Chamber takes up the
west wing of the capitol building.
On the platform at the front are
desks for the Lieutenant Governor
and the Senate officers. Facing
them are desks of the 67 Senators.
22. The largest room in the
capitol is the Chamber of
the House of
Representatives. It is in
the north wing on the
second floor. The 135
meet here to pass laws
for the state. The
speaker’s desk is set in
front of 8 white marble
pillars trimmed in gold.
23. The two grand staircases leading
from the rotunda to the second floor
are built of Greek and French marble.
24. At the top of the grand staircase leading to the east wing is the
Supreme Court Chamber. The seven justices sit at the long desk at
the front of the room.
25. The Governor’s Reception Room is in the west wing. Its walls and ceiling are
decorated with carved white oak woodwork covered with dull gold. The paintings
on the walls depict Minnesota history through the ages. The chandeliers were
imported from Austria.
26. The Minnesota State Capitol is one of the most impressive in the nation. The
capitol is a part of the history of the state and is also the center of Minnesota
state government. Enjoy your trip to the capitol!