Minnesota Attractions

Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota State Capitol, a beautiful Landmark on the old St. Paulís skyline

Minnesota state capitol The Minnesota State Capitol building is on one of the two hills that tower above old St. Paulís skyline. The other hill is occupied by the grand Cathedral of St. Paul. These two magnificent buildings stare at each other across John Ireland blvd.

The first conflict senators had to deal with was where to build the new capitol. Some believed that it should be kept in the downtown core, while others wanted it on top of Wabasha Hill, figuring that its higher elevation and separation from downtown would make it less business-like and more visible at the same time. The supporters of Wabasha Hill got their wish.

With that out of the way, the contest was arranged to decide upon the architect entrusted with the tremendous honor of designing and building the capitol. Here is where Cass Gilbert comes into the picture. Gilbert was born in 1859, in Ohio, but raised in Minnesota. Through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and several trips to Europe, Gilbert formed his ideas and tastes. Starting out as a draftsman in New York for McKim, Mead, and White, he gained valuable knowledge and Gilbert moved back to his childhood home inSaint Paul.

The present Capitol building is Minnesotaís third Capitol building. The first one was destroyed by fire in the 1881 while the second was of poor design and was demolished in the 1930ís even before it was opened for business. The present one was opened in 1904 and cost $4 million to build. Minnesotaís State Capitol is considered to be one of the countryís most beautiful capitol buildings. The interiors are lavishly decorated and detailed, and the building is of such a level of extreme precision that it would be hard to imitate.

In the task of climbing the front steps, you are given a stunning view of downtown St. Paul, the cathedral and the Mississippi river. Near the main entrance, is a statue called the Quadriga. The name comes from its four spirited horses. Standing upon a carriage drawn by the horses, is the figure of 'Prosperityí. She holds in one hand the horn of plenty and in the other a banner with the symbols of the state. The horses are guided by two youthful women who represent the fullness of life, strength, and grace."

This sculpture and others in and outside the capitol were created by a sculptor Daniel Chester French chose by Gilbert. He designed the seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. On the front wall, underneath the Quadriga, six human figures decorate the wall. Each of the six statues has a specific meaning: Bounty, Courage, Integrity, Prudence, Truth, and Wisdom.

The east and west ends of the capitol each have a line of columns with a large stairway and terrace of made of granite. The north wing, which is also considered the third wing is adorned with sculptured medallions and a steam locomotive and steamship, displaying the height of technology at that time.

The elected house representatives assemble for the first four months of the year and all galleries and hearing rooms are open to the public during these times. Guided tours of the State Capitol are provided by the Minnesota Historical Society every day. So next time you want to tour an amazing building, join us in Minnesota for a sight you wonít soon forget.

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