Labor in the Community Public Programs
Established in 1951, the mission of the Labor Education Service is to serve working people across Minnesota. To further that goal, LES is expanding its public programming to reach new and larger audiences.
Labor in the Community programming includes everything from film screenings to panel discussions and conferences. These sessions are designed to engage the community in discussions of important contemporary issues, such as health care.
In addition, LES staff are working to create curriculum on labor topics for use in classrooms, such as the recently launched website of materials on the 1934 Minneapolis Teamster strikes, www.minneapolis1934.org
"Who Built Our Capitol?" is a project of the Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota. For the past four years, a team assembled by LES staff member Randy Croce has been researching the workers and contractors involved in the Capitol construction from 1896-1907.
"This program is bringing to light not only the stories of the stonecutters, carpenters, sheet metal workers and other trades who worked on the Capitol site, but the contributions made by companies and workers throughout the state," noted Croce.
"We have done research, conducted interviews and shot video in areas that supplied the stone for the Capitol as well as following the railroad workers and teamsters who transported the materials to the construction site."
The video tells the story of several workers on the project. The website features a storehouse of information on the workers, their communities and the Capitol construction.
The team that researched and created these programs, Randy Croce, Dan Ganley, Dave Riehle, John Sielaff and Vickie Woodcock, is continuing to find new information and make updates. They look forward to more stories from Capitol builder descendants, union members and historians who hear about the project through its new online presence.
We encourage anyone who has information about people who worked on the initial building of the Capitol or later restoration efforts to contact Randy Croce, at email@example.com (612) 625-5546. He and fellow researchers, Dan Ganley, Dave Riehle, John Sielaff and Victoria Woodcock would be happy to share more details on the builders with descendants or anyone else.
With assistance from a $27,400 grant we received from the MN Historical Society, we are creating a website and a video documentary to share our findings.
This University of Minnesota Labor Education Service project is supported by the State of Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society, the Butler Family Foundation, Education Minnesota Foundation and the Bricklayers, Carpenters, Operating Engineers, Sheet Metal Workers and Teamsters unions.