Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 17-1 1981

Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.

Volume 17

Volume 17, Number 1: 1981

The City Hall-County Courthouse and Its First Fifty Years
Author: Dane Smith
Ramsey County’s first courthouse went up in the 1850s near Rice Park. It was made of brick with a tower and a clock. It served until 1889 when it was replaced by a grand building designed by St. Paul architect Edward Bassford. Made of limestone, its clock tower rose to 260 feet. Thirty-five years later the building was judged to be obsolete and the Council said the governmental function of the new building should be paramount. Instead of having a design competition, architects were hired to prepare the plans for the new building. The Great Depression lowered the building’s cost, permitting the use of decorative materials “of unparalleled opulence,” including rare woods from all over the world. The Council also wanted a contemporary building, so they chose the reigning Art Deco style. The new City Hall-County Courthouse opened in 1932.
PDF of Smith article

 The Trademarks of Classy Classic Art Deco: A two-page photo essay of Art Deco interior finishing in the City Hall-County Courthouse.
God of Peace: Miles’ ‘Finest Creation in Stone’
Author: Dane Smith
The original interior design of the main hall of the Ramsey County Courthouse left a space for a major imaginative elongated piece of sculpture. The Building Commission suggested a war memorial and interestingly, a sculptor who was a pacifist Swede was hired. He insisted that the work would celebrate peace and not war. Milles’s first three designs—an apostle St. Paul; a Father of Waters; and a naked young soldier returning from war—were rejected. He then submitted a
design based on a Ponca Indian ceremony he had seen and the commission approved this design in 1933. The statue was unveiled, amid great ceremony, in 1936. It was called “God of Peace” but was recently renamed “Vision of Peace” after Native groups said they had no God of Peace. The onyx stone came from Mexico, and the actual cutting was done by a St. Paul stone carver and his crew.
PDF of Art Deco photo essay

PDF of God of Peace article

PDF of Board of Directors