Saint Paul City Hall - Ramsey County Courthouse, 15 Kellogg Boulevard West, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Saint Paul City Hall - Ramsey County Courthouse

2001, View from Kellogg Blvd.
Address: 15 Kellogg Boulevard W
Neighborhood/s: Downtown, Saint Paul, Minnesota
City/locality-
State/province
Saint Paul, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1930-1932
Primary Style: Other
Historic Function: Courthouse
Historic Function: City hall
Other Historic Function: City hall
Current Function: Courthouse
Current Function: City hall
Other Current Function: City hall
Architect or source of design: Holabird and Root, Chicago; Ellerbe and Company, Saint Paul
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Limestone
Material of Roof: Asphalt
Notes: Lee Lowrie, entrance bas relief - 1941.

Carl Milles, God of Peace sculpture.

Downtown Saint Paul Ramsey

Saint Paul City Hall - Ramsey County Courthouse, 15 Kellogg Boulevard West, Saint Paul, Minnesota
(44.944212° N, 93.093881° WLatitude: 44°56′39.163″N
Longitude: 93°5′37.972″W
)


The Saint Paul City Hall–Ramsey County Courthouse is a splendid example of the rare use of Moderne styling on a public courthouse. More commonly found on locomotives, skyscrapers, roadside diners, and jukeboxes, Moderne was a later phase of Art Deco design, popular in America in the late 1920s and 1930s. It emphasized verticality, the use of setbacks and geometric forms to echo the machine age. Clad in Indiana limestone above a polished Wisconsin granite base, this courthouse is relatively unadorned on the exterior. Its richly detailed interior is resplendent with exotic wood finishes and Moderne artworks.

Memorial Hall measures 85 feet by 21 feet and extends upward for three stories. It is made with blue belgian marble, and has a gold mirror ceiling and at the focus of all this is a 36 feet high sculpture created by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles called the "God of Peace," which was later renamed "Vision of Peace." What is interesting about the memorial was that Carl Milles was a pacifist. This led to some problems with the city on just what a war memorial should be. Several of earlier submissions by Milles were rejected.

Contents

History

In 1928, a $4 million public bond was designated for the building. Because of the stock market crash of 1929, the cost of labor and materials was much less than anticipated. As a result, the building was finished with expensive domestic and foreign woods and marble, and artistic details. When word of the opulence reached the public, who was struggling through the depression, it was a tough public relations moment for City Hall. True to form they quickly put a patriotic spin on it saying that it was going to include a Memorial Hall, dedicated to the Ramsey County soldiers who died in the Great War (World War I).

The courthouse was the site of the 1933 trial of Roger Touhy, which took place on the eighth floor. The 1935 police corruption trials, sparked by wiretaps, occurred in the eleventh-floor courtrooms.[1]

An addition, completed in 1993, was carefully designed to blend with the historic massing and materials of the original structure.

1968 Sit-In at Mayor's Office

On April 10, 1968, the office of St. Paul mayor Thomas Byrne was the site of a week-long sit-in by University of Minnesota staff and students. They protested the St. Paul police’s retention of three AR15 automatic rifles, the civilian version of the M16 rifle used in Vietnam. In the wake of Martin Luther King’s assassination and subsequent riots, protesters were concerned that these rifles would be used as riot control and to oppress minorities.

Mayor Byrne and the police department held that the rifles were to protect public safety and would only be used in extreme cases, with no plans for use against rioters. Protesters insisted that the police should return the weapons, as the city of Minneapolis had done earlier in the year, citing that the guns were inappropriate for police use.

65 people began sitting in the mayor’s reception room at 10:15 a.m. on April 10, including a few University of Minnesota faculty with their wives and children. A small group of demonstrators continued to peacefully occupy the room for several days with Mayor Byrne’s permission, and he also brought them coffee and donuts. The sit-in lasted through April 17 when the city decided to turn the rifle issue over to the St. Paul Civil and Human Rights commission for review. The conclusions of this commission are unknown, but as of 2011, the St. Paul police department regularly trains its officers in the use and operation of AR15 rifles.


Badges

65}px This place is part of the
1968 tour of the Twin Cities
65}px This place is part of the
John Dillinger Slept Here Tour


65}px This place is part of the
Bridge Trail Walking Tour

Photo Gallery

1968 Sit-In

Interior

Memories and stories

Notes

  1. http://www.1968exhibit.org
  2. http://www.mnhs.org/index.htm
  3. http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/42642007.html?elr=KArks:DCiUoaW_eEO7UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr
  4. http://www.mndaily.com
  5. http://www.stpaul.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=14921
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