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History Revealed: Our State Capitol
September 12 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Denis P. Gardner, Our Minnesota State Capitol: From Groundbreaking through Restoration
History Revealed Landmark Lunch Series
September 12, 2018
Free and open to all.
Join RCHS for History Revealed, our program series featuring presentations and tours from the best of local historians, authors and archaeologists, with a wide range of topics drawn from the heritage and traditions of Ramsey County.
From gleaming marble and vibrant art to new public spaces, the Minnesota State Capitol’s $310 million renovation—the largest preservation effort since it opened in 1905—is complete. The Capitol now offers more public space, and the building’s historic furniture, artwork, and interior decorations have been restored to their 1905 appearance. Learn about the history and rehabilitation of this iconic building from Denis P. Gardner, Minnesota’s National Register Historian at the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office. Gardner is the author of the recently-released book Our Minnesota State Capitol: From Groundbreaking through Restoration.
The Minnesota State Capitol is both an architectural masterpiece and a revered public building. This beautiful Renaissance Revival structure is the heart of the state’s civic life, a place for celebrations, demonstrations, arguments, and accomplishments. It’s where history happens.
Completed in 1905, the capitol is a grand building on a grand scale, and it reflected Minnesota’s growing cosmopolitanism. Noted architect Cass Gilbert won the design competition and then fought ferociously to see his vision built. At construction, the capitol was a marvel of modern engineering, with its own heating plant and the second-largest self-supported marble dome in the world. And more than a century later, after a meticulous renovation in 2015–17, the building glows again with its original beauty.
This book includes stories of the capitol’s construction and restoration, laborers and craftspeople, fine art and furnishings, and politics and protests. It features remarkable photographs, recently saved from a dumpster, that document the original construction. And it celebrates this beloved building’s continued life at the center of the state’s civic culture.
Denis P. Gardner is the National Register Historian at the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office in St. Paul, where he reviews the eligibility of properties for the National Register of Historic Places. He is the author of Minnesota Treasures: Stories Behind the State’s Historic Places (Minnesota Historical Society Press) and Wood, Concrete, Stone, and Steel: Minnesota’s Historic Bridges (University of Minnesota Press). His latest book is Our Minnesota State Capitol: From Groundbreaking Through Restoration (Minnesota Historical Society Press).