March 4, 2015 •
U.S. Statehouse Series – Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes
Welcome back to the statehouse where we will be exploring the Minnesota Capitol.
When its white dome first swims into view there is a shock of surprise, then a rapidly growing delight in its pure beauty, and as one studies the building, inside and out, the surprise and delight increase. One leaves it with regret and with the hope of return.
-Kenyon Cox, Architectural Record, August 1905
The Minnesota statehouse, completed in 1905, is located in the capital of St. Paul. The building looks very similar to St. Peter’s basilica in Rome. In fact, St. Peter’s has the largest unsupported marble dome in the world, and the marble dome of the Minnesota statehouse is the second largest. A golden sculpture called The Progress of the State sits at the base of the dome. It depicts a chariot pulled by four horses with two women and a man in the chariot. The statue symbolizes civilization and prosperity being driven by the classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water. When the weather permits, visitors can go on the roof to get a close-up view of the statue. Take a look at the Minnesota Historical Society to find out more about the artwork and history of the building.
There are also monuments for Women’s Suffrage and Christopher Columbus on the grounds of the statehouse. Many of the original fixtures are still in use. When the building was being constructed, electric lighting and telephones were state-of-the-art. The Ohio architect, Cass Gilbert, insisted on the best technology for the statehouse. Since then, the building has always had the latest in technology. Gilbert’s conscientious style resulted in many ornate carvings and statues around the building and hundreds of specially designed pieces of furniture.
Thank you for staying with us on our journey through the statehouses!
Photo of the Minnesota State Capitol by Jonathunder on Wikimedia Commons.
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