State Capitol Buildings are incredibly important pieces of architecture in the United States of America. Not only do they house a State’s House of Representatives, Senate, and Supreme Court, they also stand as icons to the State in which they reside. The history of each building's origin and development over their lifetime can be quite fascinating. Here is the story of Minnesota’s State Capitol Building.
In 1849, the Minnesota Territory began to hold its first legislature meetings. They would not have their first Capitol Building until 1854, however, and this building would be catastrophically destroyed in a fire in 1881. In 1882, a second Capitol Building was opened, however its small size quickly created problems. As the State itself continued to grow and evolve, it became clear that it would need a Capitol Building to proportionately represent itself both in beauty and in honesty.
A design competition was thus held. With over forty entries, Cass Gilbert was chosen in 1895 to be the architect of the new Minnesota State Capitol building in the city of St. Paul. The building cost $4.5 million and took nine years to construct, yet it opened to nation-wide critical acclaim and is still considered to be, by many, one of the most beautiful State Capitol buildings in the country.
The building’s impressive central dome is the second largest self-supporting marble dome in the world. The exterior is made from Georgia marble and St. Cloud granite, while over twenty different types of stone are used throughout the interior, predominantly Minnesota Limestone from Mankato. Corinthian columns are seen throughout the interior of the building along with extensive artwork. The ceilings throughout the interior are painted displaying the various types of crops grown in the State.
The building is currently being restored. Costing an elaborate $272.7 million, the project aims to repair and preserve the building. Because of this, significant portions of the Capitol are closed to the public and sections of the exterior are covered. Expected to be complete in 2017, many precautions are being made to keep the building as close to its original state as possible, while securing the long-term safety and durability of the site and its inhabitants. The story of the Minnesota State Capitol Building is still being formed, as this beautiful piece of architecture continues to thrive with age.
What are your thoughts on your State Capitol Building? Which State Capitol Building do you think is the most beautiful? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments area below.
Credits: Images by Wyatt Prosch. Data linked to sources.