Minnesota State Capitol

Saint Paul
Completed: 1905
Architect: Cass Gilbert

Photos: Robert Deering 8/21/2005

The 1905 building is the third to serve as Minnesota's seat of government. The first was built at 10th and Cedar Streets in 1853, during the territorial period. Destroyed by fire in 1881, it was replaced two years later on the same site by a red-brick Victorian structure with a distinctive tower. Complaints that the new building was cramped and stuffy began immediately, and led just 10 years later to a legislative committee calling for a new state Capitol. (The much unloved second Capitol remained in use as a public building until 1937, when it was demolished.)

The journey to a new capitol began in 1893, when the legislature made the first appropriation of funds. An architectural competition two years later attracted more than 40 entries, all of them inspired by the monumental buildings of the famed "White City," the Columbian Exposition in Chicago of 1893. The site for each design entry was the same-the rise of land called Wabasha Hill several blocks north of downtown. The winning design was the work of Cass Gilbert, an influential local architect who was just 35 years old.


ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Based on the Dakota Sioux Indian word for "sky-tinted water," referring to the Minnesota River or the state's many lakes.


STATE MOTTO: L'Etoile du nord (The star of the north)

1857 PREAMBLE: We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:

ADDRESS:  75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard., St Paul, MN

St. Paul, Minnesota