The last couple of days, I've been teasing you with ceiling photos of the Landmark Center in downtown St Paul. It has been 20 years since I had last set foot inside the building, but I do recall learning that the building originally was built without electricity and used natural light for the occupants to see what they were doing.
By the late 1880's Minnesota's capital, St Paul and it's sister town across the river, Minneapolis had grown into thriving young cities. Only 40 years earlier, when St Paul was little more than a small collection of houses and muddy streets, Henry Jackson had dispensed the city's mail from a shelf in his dry goods store. Now St Paul was receiving more than 50 million pieces of mail annually, and the post office and federal courts had outgrown their space in the city's original federal building at Fifth and Wabasha streets. Civic leaders and elected officials began lobbying Congress for a much larger federal building. After several uncuccessful attempts, the St Paul contingent succeeded in 1891 when Congress approved a grand new building, one that would confirm St Paul's rapid rise and promising future.