July 11 event celebrates a Minneapolis City Hall/Hennepin County Courthouse building milestone

On Monday, July 11, the Minneapolis City Hall/Hennepin County Courthouse celebrates the 125th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone. A public event will feature local author and architecture critic Larry Millett as guest speaker. Current and former commissioners of the Municipal Building Commission, which manages the Minneapolis City Hall/Hennepin County Courthouse will also be on hand along with other elected officials. 

City Hall and Courthouse building anniversary event
Noon Monday, July 11
City Hall rotunda, 350 S. Fifth St.

The Hennepin History Museum and the Municipal Building Commission will have an exhibit of several period pieces from the late 19th century, along with other artifacts from the City Hall and Courthouse archives. Exhibits include original building plans by architects Long and Kees, watercolors and renderings of the building, and vintage women’s clothing of the type worn by early City and County employees. These exhibits will be in place for several weeks and available to the public during normal business hours. Prior to the public ceremony, there will be an ice cream social and a performance by the City-County Chorus. Tours of the building will also be available after the program.

Construction of the City Hall and Courthouse building lasted from 1887 through 1906. The building was situated on the site of the first public schoolhouse west of the Mississippi River. The combined offices brought together staff from the Hennepin County Courthouse, which stood at Eighth Avenue (now Chicago Avenue) and Fourth Street, and City Hall, which was then located at Bridge Square at Hennepin Avenue and Fourth Street.

The laying of the cornerstone, a symbolic start of building construction, took place July 16, 1891, with speeches from Mayor Philip B. Winston and Frank F. Davis, a prominent Minneapolis attorney. The historic relic is located some 30 feet about ground instead of the traditional ground level of the building because construction was well underway at the time of the ceremony, and the Fourth Street side of the building was nearly two stories high. Workers constructed the building from granite blocks, some of which weigh as much as 23 tons, and which were cut from quarries near Ortonville, Minnesota and then transported to Minneapolis.


Published Jul 10, 2016