Minnesota Historical Society

Our Minnesota State Capitol

$ 19.95


From Groundbreaking through Restoration

Author Denis P. Gardner, Foreword by Governor Mark Dayton

Minnesota Historical Society Press (August 1, 2017)

A stunning overview of the construction and renovation of “The People’s House,” Minnesota’s spectacular State Capitol Building.


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.

Author information

Denis P. Gardner is Minnesota’s National Register Historian and the author of Minnesota Treasures: Stories Behind the State's Historic Places

Mark Dayton was elected as Minnesota’s fortieth governor in 2010 and re-elected to a second term in 2014.

Reviews and news

Ramsey County History Magazine

Pioneer Press

TPT's Almanac 

KSTP's "At Issue" with Tom Hauser

MPR News

Finance & Commerce

Related resources

Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota History, The Minnesota State Capitol issue
     Video preview
     Contributor Marjorie Pearson on MPR News

MNopedia: Minnesota's Second State Capitol

MNopedia: Minnesota's First Capitol Building

MNopedia: State Capitol Fire, 1881

MNopedia: Cass Gilbert, 1859-1934


David Oakes photo of the Minnesota State CapitolPhoto by David Oakes, Senate Media Services

The capitol rotunda, photo by David OakesPhoto by David Oakes, Senate Media Services

Stained Glass Above Oval Stairs, photo by Cathy KlimaPhoto by Cathy Klima, Department of Administration

Sconce and ceiling, photo by Tom OlmscheidPhoto by Tom Olmscheid

  • 104 pages
  • 70 color and b&w illustrations
  • 8.5x11 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340418

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