The Lives and Work of the Men and Women Who Built the Minnesota State Capitol Building
Four years of original research and media production culminate in this documentary, "Who Built Our Capitol?" The video reveals the untold story of the contractors and workers who participated in the construction of the Minnesota statehouse – not only trades people on site, but railroad, quarry and other workers from across the state and nation. The project team - Randy Croce, Dan Ganley, Dave Riehle, John Sielaff and Victoria Woodcock - combed through historical documents and videotaped at locations across Minnesota and in Georgia. They uncovered the names of over 600 of the original builders and traced some of their descendants. These living family members, as well as historians and people involved in the current restoration of the building, are featured in the documentary. Don Shelby narrated the show. Julie Ayers, Susan Billmeyer, Don Chouinard and Butch Thompson recorded music of the period for the soundtrack. The project was coordinated by the Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota.
The excerpt featured here is from the opening ten minutes of the show. The narration from this segment sets the stage for the show by describing the cornerstone laying:
"On July 27, 1898, marching bands led thousands of people to the highest point in downtown St Paul, Minnesota. Columns of veterans, stonecutters and other workers marched to the ribbon-draped speakers’ stand. Here, the new capitol was rising from the ground. Onlookers leaned over the partially finished first floor walls. Among the throng of dignitaries was Minnesota’s first territorial governor, Alexander Ramsey, to officially lay the cornerstone for the people’s house - the grandest building in the state and one of the finest statehouse buildings in the country."
The most recent version of the full show is available at the website, http://www.whobuiltourcapitol.org