Workers & Descendants Honored at Capitol Grand Opening on Aug. 13

Workers atop Capitol dome
Workers atop partially completed Minnesota State Capitol dome, 1902
Photo courtesy of New York Historical Society

Minnesota State Capitol construction workers will be honored as part of the Grand Opening of the newly restored building on Sunday, August 13.  At 2:30 p.m. by the basement L’Etoile du Nord Vault (Room B-15), a plaque will be dedicated to memorialize workers who built the statehouse, especially the six who died in the original construction.  These workers and more than 620 others were identified by researchers for the Labor Education Servicer project, “Who Built Our Capitol?” 

Speakers at the ceremony will include Governor Mark Dayton, Lt. Governor Tina Smith, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades President Harry Melander and Randy Croce, Project Director of "Who Built Our Capitol?".

Many descendants and families of the 1896-1905 builders will attend the ceremony.  The original builders' family members will be recognizable by buttons, distributed during the event, which are  printed with "Family" over a 1902 Capitol construction photo.  Project team members will also wear identifying buttons.  Immediately after the official plaque ceremony, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. in B-15, the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service is hosting a gathering of descendants and families of original Capitol builders.

At 3 p.m. on the south lawn by the main entrance, the trades people who worked on the recent restoration of the Capitol will be recognized.

A panel of six students from Owatonna, MN will speak at 11:00 a.m. in Room G-15.  The panelsits are among the former sixth graders in Jennifer Hansen's history class who started a petition drive and testified before legislative committees for the successful enactment of a bill authorizing the plaque in the Capitol to honor the workers who built it.

Throughout the three-day Aug. 11-13 celebration, the documentary ‘Who Built Our Capitol?” will be shown in Room G-3 of the building, together with a display profiling seven of the workers who constructed the statehouse.  Another video on the recent restoration of the building will be playing coninuously in Room 123.  The state has a website containing information on a multitude of other events during the Grand Opening, including, music, fireworks and tours of the building.

There is a Capitol website page on accessability, including parking, entrance and access for mobility, vision and hearing lissues at





Workers cleaning and tuckpointing the Capitol dome, 2011
Photo by Vincent Trotta. Used with permission.
Buttons for plaque dedication ceremony, 8-13-17
Button design by RLM Arts with Labor Education Service