Minnesota State Capitol, Saint Paul, MN

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The State Capitol of Minnesota celebrated its 100 years in 2005. The building for the State Capitol is, of course, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972 due to the age and well maintained building that it is. The historical society is responsible for all furnishings and artwork kept at the building. They are even the company that provides tours to visitors.

In 1905 thousands of Minnesotans went to view the Capitol for the first time. They wandered the halls and looked at the 12 years of hard work. Surprisingly, the current building was one of three. In the first few years of the capitol being in Saint Paul two other buildings were created. The first was on Cedar Street in 1853. Unfortunately things were not quite settled during this time and territorial disputes were on going. In 1881 the building was destroyed by a fire and the same site was used two years later to create a new structure. This time the building was a Victorian creation, but it too became unusable.

Instead of fire, though, it was said to be too cramped and stuffy. With a number of complaints it was decided a new State Capitol had to be built. This second building was in use until 1937 as a public building even though the Capitol had been moved. In 1937 the building was so old and in need of repair that the city decided to demolish it instead.

The building which visitors can tour today was one of forty plans turned in to the city. Bidding was opened up for submissions and many were patterned after Chicago's White City look. The winning entry was submitted by Cass Gilbert, a local architect of 35 years old. Gilbert was known for his elegant drawings and watercolors throughout the city, and in the 1890's he became known for his architecture as well.

The Minnesota State Capitol is located on 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, which is just north of downtown Saint Paul. As it is a part of the Historical Society the admission and hourly tours are free. Hours will vary from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm and Sunday 1pm to 4pm. The guided tours are offered Monday through Saturday between 10am to 2pm and Sunday at 1, 2, or 3pm. In other words, there are no tours that begin after an hour till close.

It is possible to sign up for group tours with a reservation. The society often allows school groups and other large groups to tour the place. Much of the exhibits detail the history of the building and Saint Paul. A great deal of artwork by local artists as well as some who are well known hangs on the walls. The furnishings are period pieces that fit within the realm of the capitol being built and over the years it was used.

Linda Cameron
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Jan 23, 2015 @ 4:16 pm
Please note: the Minnesota State Capitol is currently undergoing a three-year preservation/renovation project. Weekday guided tours have been suspended until the completion of the work in 2017. Tours are available on Saturdays from 10-2 and Sundays from 1-3 through mid-May, when the building will be closed to the public.

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