Our Handsome City Hall

The Minneapolis City Hall was designed by Long and Keys in 1887. The building replaced the previous city hall a few blocks away between Nicollet and Hennepin Avenues. Construction began in 1889, and a cornerstone located thirty feet above the sidewalk was laid on July 16, 1891. Some of the individual granite blocks cut from quarries near Ortonville, Minnesota, weigh 23 tons a piece. The granite was originally planned for just the foundation , with brick used for the upper portion, but the public appreciated the look of it and they lobbied for the entire building to be made of stone. The structural exterior was completed in 1895, but construction did not officially end until 1906. The building’s cost came in at just about $3,554,000. That’s just 28¢ per cubic foot!

The county began moved in to the Fourth Avenue in the dreary November of 1895, but the city side on Third Avenue remained occupied until December 1902. After it was built, Minneapolis claimed to have the largest four-faced chiming clock tower in the entire world. The 24 foot, 6 inch faces are 18 inches wider than those of the Big Ben’s Great Clock in London.There was a time when a guy used t have to o climb up 400 steps in the tower to play the bells by the light of a candle. These days, the bells ring out with the help of a keyboard in the first-floor rotunda. The building’s The 345 foot tower The tower was the tallest structure in the city until Foshay Tower was built at the end of the Roaring ’20’s. In the warm months, a 15-bell chime in the tower is plays regularly and there are noontime concerts on holidays, Fridays and certain Sundays. The City Hall and Courthouse were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.


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