The Minnesota State Capitol is a handcrafted architectural gem, but the workers and contractors who actually made it have been largely forgotten. At least until now.
A new documentary, Who Built Our Capitol?, has just been completed, and it's a fascinating tale of the men and women involved in the construction of the Capitol from 1896-1907.
"It's a 46-minute video, but it's based on more than four years of research, conducted here in Minnesota and across the United States," said Randy Croce, coordinator of the project, during a public screening of the video.
"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," said Croce, a staff member from the Labor Education Service.
"Our hope is that viewers will realize how many people had a role in the building of the Capitol, and that the level of skill they had was very impressive," he said.
One of the most surprising things about the project, Croce said, was the discovery of builders' relatives. "When we found living, breathing descendants of the builders, and they agreed to be interviewed for the documentary," Croce said "that was pretty exciting!"
Curriculum is being developed for middle and high school students around this project. Close to 60,000 students visit the Minnesota State Capitol every year.
To view the documentary, and for more information about the people, the work, the community, and the legacy of the Capitol, visit http://www.whobuiltourcapitol.org/