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Landmark Center (St. Paul)

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Title: Landmark Center (St. Paul)  
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Subject: Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1901 in architecture, List of United States Post Offices, Alvin Karpis, Schubert Club
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Landmark Center (St. Paul)

For the building in Boston, see Landmark Center (Boston).
Old Federal Courts Building
Landmark Center
Location 75 5th Street West
Saint Paul, Minnesota

44°56′44″N 93°5′50″W / 44.94556°N 93.09722°W / 44.94556; -93.09722Coordinates: 44°56′44″N 93°5′50″W / 44.94556°N 93.09722°W / 44.94556; -93.09722

Built 1894–1901
Architect Willoughby J. Edbrooke
Architectural style Richardsonian Romanesque
Governing body General Services Administration
NRHP Reference # 69000076[1]
Added to NRHP March 24, 1969

St. Paul’s historic Landmark Center, completed in 1902, originally served as the United States Post Office, Court House, and Custom House for the state of Minnesota. It was designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, who served as Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury Department in 1891-92. Edbrooke designed a body of public architecture, much of which, like this structure, was completed after his death in 1896. Landmark Center stands in beautiful Rice Park, now housing an arts and culture center for St. Paul.

The exterior is pink granite ashlar with a hipped red tile roof, steeply pitched to shed St. Paul's snows and enlivened by numerous turrets, gables and dormers with steeply peaked roofs; cylindrical corner towers with conical turrets occupy almost every change of projection. There are two massive towers, one of which houses a clock. The exterior is almost devoid of carved detail. The interior features a five-story courtyard with skylight and rooms with 20-foot ceilings, appointed with marble and carved mahogany and oak finishes. Its Romanesque Revival architecture is similar to Edbrooke's Old Post Office Building in Washington D.C.

John Dillinger's girlfriend Evelyn Frechette, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, "Doc" Barker and other members of the Barker-Karpis gang were tried in the building when it served as a federal courthouse.[2][3]

Judges Walter Henry Sanborn and John B. Sanborn, Jr. kept their chambers here while they served on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun worked in the building as a law clerk to the younger Sanborn from 1932-33.

In the 1970s, a group of determined citizens saved the building from the wrecking ball and restored it to its previous grandeur. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and reopened to the public as Landmark Center in 1978.

After its comprehensive 1972–78 renovation, the center became home to many prominent Twin Cities arts organizations, now including:

  • American Association of Woodturners and the AAW Gallery of Wood Art
  • Ramsey County Historical Society Gallery and Research Center - changing exhibits and research area for local history topics
  • The Schubert Club Museum
  • Landmark Gallery - permanent and changing exhibits from its local history collection
  • "Uncle Sam Worked Here" - a permanent interactive exhibit about the activities that occurred in Landmark Center over its history, opened in 2007 [1]
  • Exhibition space for music, dance, theater, and public forums.[2]

The high school St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists also holds classes on the fifth floor of the Landmark Center.

Owned by Ramsey County, Landmark Center is managed by Minnesota Landmarks, a not-for-profit organization. Landmark Center also houses Anita's Cafe, Landmarket Gift Shop, and five gallery spaces. Landmark Center is located at 75 West Fifth Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota.


External links

  • Landmark Center - official website
  • Ramsey County Historical Society
  • Press article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press about the "Uncle Sam Worked Here" exhibit
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