Favorite thing: St. Paul is the capital city of Minnesota, but it does not quite have the same commercial panache as that of its sibling, Minneapolis. Several modern skyscrapes comprise the Minneapolis skyline, in fact there is very little that remains of the original turn of the century buildings in Minneapolis. In St. Paul, however, with a few notable exceptions, the downtown remains mired in a post World War II look and feel. The energy is not quite there despite the new Excel Energy hockey arena.
A "Quadriga" is a sculptural set of four horses dashing onward, pulling a resplendent chariot. Minnesota's Quadriga was the work of master sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), who is best known for his massive sculpture of seated Abraham Lincoln, at the beloved Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Here, French worked in collaboration with his partner Edward Potter.
Every figure in the Quadriga is symbolic. The four horses are said to represent the elements: Earth,Wind, Fire and Air. The two women driving the horses are Industry and Agriculture, and the man who is getting a ride in the chariot is Prosperity, journeying into the glorious future.
There's another well-known Quadriga atop the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. I'll be seeing _that_ Quadriga later in 2004.
Dedicated in 1998, designed by Art Norby, Bob Kost, and Dean Olson. The silhouette stands for those killed and missing in action; the standing soldier realizes he can not fill in the "gap" left by those who are gone.
On the grounds of the state capitol.
Fondest memory: The Minnesota State Fair runs two weeks before Labor Day (late August-early Sept.) at the State Fair Grounds in Falcon Heights. You can get various foods on a stick, tour various animal barns, buy stuff that you see on infomercials and take your kids on rides on the midway filled with real carnies! He is a picture of me, my son, my brother in law and my nephew with the mascot from the world's best french fry booth.
Favorite thing: People in St. Paul enjoy their city and its lakes. In the evenings and weekends they take advantage of an extensive and well-maintained park system. Lake Como in north St. Paul is a favorite destination for walkers, bladers, bikers, and fisherfolk. It's good to see that they are working to restore natural habitat areas along the lake.
I enjoyed looking around the Cathedral in the evening light of summer. It's hilltop location makes it a nice place for a stroll, and there are good views of downtown St. Paul.
I've read that this is the fourth largest cathedral in the United States. Does that mean of _all_ Cathedrals, or just Roman Catholic Cathedrals? Hmmm. . . .
This is rather an anomaly - a statue of a man who _survived_ a war. In the American Civil War, Minnesota proudly remembers that it was the first state to send _volunteers_ to the Union Army. Josias King was one of the very first men to sign up for service. Others signed up at or almost at the same time, but King survived the war and was afterwards remembered for his service.
The monument stands - somewhat overlooked - in a small pocket park in between the Cathedral and the Minnesota History Center.
This was the third "attempt" of Minnesota to build a state capitol - and they must be pleased with it, because it has remained the seat of government for 110 years. (Minnesota went through two state capitols in its first thirty years of statehood. I guess the third time's the charm.)
Cass Gilbert (1859-1934) won a national competion to design the Capitol; construction commenced in 1895. Gilbert was a very important figure in the history of American building; his other major works include the Woolworth Building and the US Customs House in Manhattan, the St. Louis MO Art Museum (originally built for the 1904 World's Fair), and the US Supreme Court building in Washington D.C.
Interestingly, Gilbert caught flak from some Minnesotans at the time for his decision to use Georgia Marble as the primary stone. Memories were still acute from the Civl War thirty years earlier. Gilbert did use some Minnesota materials: Minnesota granite on the steps and terraces. Nowadays, Minnesotans may proudly point to Gilbert's structure as the largest unsupported marble dome in the world.
Designed by a team consisting of Nina Ackerman, Jake Castillo, Rick Laffin and Stanton Sears, this piece is officially called "Lakefront DMZ". The names of hundreds of Minnesotans killed in the wall are inscribed on the granite slabs. Simple words of commemoration: "We were young. We have died. Remember us."
On the grounds of the state capitol.
Favorite thing: This fountain stands in the middle of a sunken garden in front of the Veteran's Service Building, just off the capital grounds. Designed by local artist Alonzo Hauser (1909-1988), it was originally intended to open and close, like the pedals of a sun-sensitive flower, at dawn and dusk every day.