While we were in Minnesota for the LWMS Convention we did some driving around and saw a few things when time permitted. While we were there we had to go to the St. Paul Capitol . Sadly, we didn’t have time to do a tour, but I did find out a thing or two about the capitol.
The Minnesota State Capitol is located in the U.S. state of Minnesota's capital, Saint Paul, and houses the Minnesota Senate, Minnesota House of Representatives, the office of the Attorney General and the office of the Governor. The building also includes a chamber for the Minnesota Supreme Court.
It was built by Butler-Ryan Construction and designed by Cass Gilbert and modeled after Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome - the unsupported marble dome is the second largest in the world, after Saint Peter's. However, like all capitols with domes in the US it is also inspired by the idea of domed capitols originating with the United States Capitol dome. Work began on the capitol in 1896, and construction was completed in 1905. It is the third building to serve this purpose: the first capitol was destroyed by fire in 1881, and the second was completed in 1883, but was considered to be too small almost immediately.
Above the southern entrance to the building is a gilded quadriga called The Progress of the State which was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and Edward Clark Potter. It was completed and raised to the roof of the capitol in 1906. The four horses represent the power of nature: earth, wind, fire and water. The women leading the horses symbolize civilization, and the man on the chariot represents prosperity.
Upon entering the building by the south door, one is below the central dome. A large star, symbolizing Minnesota's motto, "The Star of the North", is directly beneath the apex. Various portraits of state governors, and flags captured by Minnesota's regiments during the American Civil War, are on display. Paintings showing some of the related battles can be seen in the governor's outer office.
Hopefully the next time we are in St. Paul we will actually get to tour the capitol and take a few pictures.
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Page last updated August 2014