Video tells the untold stories of workers who built the state Capitol


Who Built Our Capitol?, a documentary about the workers and contractors who built the Minnesota statehouse, premiered at the state Capitol in St. Paul on Oct. 19.

The video, a project of the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service, is the culmination of four years of original research and media production. The program reveals the untold story of the contractors and workers who constructed the Minnesota statehouse between 1896 and 1907. It portrays not only tradespeople on site, but railroad, quarry and other workers from across the state and nation.

The project team – Randy Croce, Dan Ganley, Dave Riehle, John Sielaff and Victoria Woodcock – combed through historical documents and videotaped at numerous locations. They uncovered the names of hundreds of the original builders and traced some of their descendants. These living family members, as well as historians and people involved in the restoration of the building, are featured in the documentary.

Many of the original builders’ descendants, as well as current workers, architects and planners, attended the premiere.

This excerpt features the stories of some of the workers. The complete documentary can be seen on the project website,, along with more information about the individuals, groups and events described in the program. DVDs of the video are also available for $20 from the Labor Education Service, 612-624-5020.

Video produced by University of Minnesota Labor Education Service.