Saturday, January 31, 2015

St Paul Federal Building

 

 

By the 1880s, St Paul, Minnesota had grown from a collection of small houses and muddy streets to the makings of a capital city. The need for a large post office and federal courtrooms was filled when the Federal Building, now called Landmark Center, was completed in 1902.

 

 

 

 

 

As St Paul became a center for bootleggers, bank robbers, kidnappers, prostitutes and all kind of crime in the 1920s and 30s, the upstairs courtrooms saw plenty of action.

 

One judge, "Sentence a Minute" John McGee, handed out 112 sentences for bootlegging in 130 minutes in one day.

 

In 1900, 500,000 people, 74% of the Minnesota population, had a foreign-born parent. Many of them became US citizens in this beautiful atrium.

 

 

 

 

 

As the representative of the federal government, the building was a backdrop for patriotic speeches and cheering crowds watching troops march off to training camps for war in 1917 and 1918. It was also the spot to celebrate the end of World War I and welcome the soldiers back home.

 

I love these scrims on the windows depicting old street scenes on the street outside. You can look through the scrims and see the forms of the modern buildings they are superimposed upon.

 

 

 

 

 

 


In the 1960s the population and businesses were leaving the city and moving to the suburbs. The Federal Building was abandoned and became run down, like too many of the other beautiful buildings of Old St Paul. When plans were announced in the 1970s to tear the eyesore down and build a parking lot, citizens formed a group to save and restore it. Landmark Center opened in 1978 as a cultural center.

 

 

 

I'm so glad it was saved!

 

 

21 comments:

  1. That's a really handsome town/city centre. How could anyone seriously contemplate tearing down that beautiful building? I'm guessing money was involved. Maybe descendants of some of those crooks from the 20s/30s ... That's a really clever idea with those 'scrims' - not seen that before.

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  2. Beautiful building, thanks for the history lesson, I know next to nothing about Minnesota.

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  3. Cynthia , it a beautiful city but in my opinion it is similiar to some which are here in Europe. Your histoty is vey interesting.

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  4. Very interesting history - So it was St.Paul city first and then the outgrowing resulted in the addition of the Minneapolis part and
    now air-coded as MSP??? The original founders must also have been rather religious to have named the then town or outpost,
    St Paul??? Russian immigrants to remind them of St. Petersburg???
    I must say that my visits from Rochester were always highlighted with visits to the Guthrie Theatre.
    Cheers
    Colin

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    1. Our capital city was originally named Pigs Eye. It was renamed St Paul by a Catholic priest. I think he thought it sounded better than Pigs Eye!

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  5. What a great architectural landmark and piece of history! I like those sheer shades depicting a bygone era. Did I tell you my daughter recently moved to St Paul?

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    1. Let me know when you come to visit her! I'll meet you in St Paul for coffee or lunch.

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  6. It is a beautiful building, so glad it was saved and restored.

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  7. I love the architecture of this building! So beautiful!

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  8. Wow! That is such an awesome building. I agree that the scrims are really wonderful.

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  9. I am so glad that beautiful building was saved. I can't even think about it being torn down. The brick street in the last picture adds to the beauty of the building. I love the windows with the old street scenes. I would love to visit St. Paul.

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  10. They don't make buildings like that anymore. So yes, save them.

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  11. It's a lovely building and I too am pleased it was saved for you to show us today how it looks.

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  12. I am glad it was saved, such a nice building , a bit fairytale like with those coloured towers.

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  13. Interesting information about a city that i know nothing about. It is always good to hear that buildings of note have been saved. ( Black pasta is made by mixing black squid ink into the pasta dough. I can't taste a change in the flavour just looks different.)

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  14. me too! I am also so glad you brave the traffic to all the great spots in the cities! Those scrims on the windows are fantastic! We had to laugh at how busy the Judge was and of course those darn old bootleggers too:)

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  15. I like the reflection you caught in the first photo! Did you ever see the movie Jingle All the Way? The parade scene near the end was filmed on the street where the people are crossing in the foreground of your first photo. Sure is a beautiful structure.

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  16. It is so good that the people saved the beautiful old building.

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  17. The Federal Building looks like a castle and really stands apart from the rest of the modern structures, how wonderful it was saved and restored!

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