"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

September 1, 2010

The Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse

I decided to go wandering around Minneapolis City Hall this afternoon. Supposedly, they have guided tours at noon on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. I, however, do not stick well to schedules and didn't want to wait until next month. Luckily, I came across the building's website (link) and discovered they give away pamphlets that let you go on a self-guided tour anytime the building is open to the public. Most of my information on the building comes from that pamphlet.

The City Hall and Courthouse was built between 1887 and 1906 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Initially, the building housed government offices for both the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County (hence the name). Eventually, though, the building grew too small for the two to co-exist and, in 1975, most of the County offices moved to the newly-constructed Government Center across the street.

Minneapolis City Hall also gets to be the first building in my "Haunted" series. The last person to be hanged in Hennepin County was a man named John Moshik. After being convicted of murder and robbery, he was hanged at a temporary gallows on the 5th floor. Some think Moshik's ghost is to blame for various unexplained events in the building.

A paragraph from the pamphlet reads:
"While the juvenile detention center was housed in the City Hall and Courthouse, a number of youngsters over a period of years reported that a man in a black hat, black pants, and black shirt had been coming around the cells, laughing at them in the evening."
I also ran across these two articles that talk about a few other incidents: 
Is Minneapolis City Hall Haunted? 
Hauntedhouses.com - Minneapolis City Hall

Minneapolis City Hall
 I hate that flagpole for messing up my pristine photo.

Hubert H. Humphrey sculpture at the 5th Street Entrance

"Mississippi: Father of Waters" sculpture in the Rotunda
 I'm going to blatantly plagiarize what the pamphlet says about the Father of Waters sculpture. (Editor's logical side: "Or maybe that's called quoting.")
"The "Father of Waters" rests comfortably at the center of the rotunda. This statue is patterned after the famous "Father Nile" which was carved by an unknown Greek sculptor in Egypt more than 2,000 years ago as a tribute to the mighty African river and is now displayed in Rome's Vatican City.
American sculptor Larkin G. Mead carved the "Father of Waters" from what was, at the time, the largest single block of marble ever taken from the celebrated Carrara quarries in Italy. The quarries have been used since the time of Emperor Augustus and supplied marble to Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The original block for the "Father of Waters" weighed 44 tons.
Originally commissioned for the city of New Orleans and named "Mississippi," the "Father of Waters" statue features symbols of the countryside the river flows through on its journey from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico... When New Orleans was unable to afford the statue, twelve leading Minneapolis citizens and the Minneapolis Journal presented the "Father of Waters" to the City of Lakes in 1904."

The Rotunda's wall and ceiling

Until the Foshay Tower was built in the 1920's, the 345-foot Clock Tower made
Minneapolis City Hall the tallest structure in the city.

1 comment:

The Fitness Diva said...

Those are very nice photos. I always enjoy the architecture of municipal buildings and the surrounding areas. There is always quite a bit of thought put into these arrangements.

BTW, that "Father of the Waters" sculpture is quite impressive! Guy must have been quite the lady catcher back in his day! I mean, whoa! He almost qualifies to be one of my "eye candies". lol ;)