Construction on today’s Minnesota State Capitol building began in 1896. Nine years and $4.5 million later, the elegant building opened to the public on January 2nd, 1905. It was architected by Cass Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert also designed the Arkansas and West Virginia state capitols as well as the United States Supreme Court building.
The building’s exterior is made of Georgian white marble, its steps of Minnesota granite. It is crowned by the golden Quadriga sculpture, officially known as the Progress of the State. Mr. Gilbert was inspired by the Basilica of St. Peter in his design of the Capitol’s dome. The building underwent a $310 million restoration from 2013-2017 that included fine art restoration and preservation, stencil work, marble repair, expansion of dining facilities, addition of public gathering spaces …. etc.
I visited on October 8, 2022. I walked the beautiful grounds before making my way inside for a guided tour. A young lady celebrating her Quinceanera had just come in with friends and family. She looked like a princess in her stunning Cinderella gown. I had to capture a handful of her photos.
I highly recommend the free and informative tour. The guide delighted us with many stories and anecdotes. I was in complete awe of the grander of what I saw: gleaming marble columns, intricate and stunning artwork, realistic statues, gold leaf etching…. Mr. Gilbert had commissioned 60 art pieces for $300,000 during construction. Today more than 150 pieces adorn the building’s walls making it a veritable museum where government business is conducted in style. Our tour included a quick stop on the roof to observe the golden Quadriga up close. I took the opportunity to capture scenes of the capitol mall and city scape.
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