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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  September 20, 2014 9:47pm-10:01pm EDT

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and those things at a later date. thank you for your wonderful participation, and i will see you on monday. eveningus each saturday at 8:00 and midnight for classroom lectures from across the country on different topics and eras of american history. lectures are also available as podcasts. or downloadbsite from itunes. eastern, the4:00 warren commission which investigated the november 22 assessing nation of president innedy released its report november of 1964, if years ago. a two-hourwill show
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cbs special report from 1964 that details the findings of the one commission. coanchored by walter cronkite and dan rather, it includes interviews with lee harvey oswald's wife and mother as well as eyewitnesses to the assassination. 22bs special report november and reports sunday at 4:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span3. all weekend long, american history tv is joining our cable partners to showcase the history of st. paul, minnesota. to learn more about the cities on our tour, visit www.c-span.org/localcontent. we continue with our look at the history of st. paul. this minnesota state capitol is the third capitol building built in st. paul. the first was built in downtown even whenn the 1850's
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labor still a territory. they expanded that space. the 1881, it was a brick and wood building that was no longer serving the purposes of minnesota very well. the fire burned to the ground. there was a second capital built in the same location. it was a functional space but not meeting the needs of expanding state government of minnesota. the ventilation was not very good. even a few years after that had been built and occupied, there was discussion among the legislature to say we need to find a building that is permanent and going to accommodate the needs of the public as well as our growing state government. there was a commission put together, a board of capital commissioners in the 1890's. they chose an architect to build this third and present-day state capitol. they had a groundbreaking in
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1896 and it opened to the public the first week of january 1905 it was open for the legislative session. if you were to walk into the building of that time, this was a state-of-the-art building. it had its own power plant next door. you had working elevators. you had the convenience of indoor plumbing as well, so this was a spectacular public building for the people of minnesota. ohio,ilbert was born in but as a youngster moved here with his family to st. paul. he claimed st. paul as his home. in 1895 was selected as the architect for the state capital building. there is a lot of interesting stories behind him being selected. he was a qualified architect for one thing. his plans were what they were looking for. every architect in the competition had to submit a drawing of the building.
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some of the requirements the board wanted was to have a , the mg with a big dome the matter center of the state capitol would be the dome. some of the features he was able to add to that was appealing to them. there were some questions pray people questioned his connection to the vice president of the board of commissioners. he lived next door to his mother, cass gilbert's mother. they were friends, so there was a good relationship between cass gilbert and the vice president of the commission. some people questioned, did he get it because he was already well-known by one of the commissioners? i think by his own merit he qualified as probably the best architect for the project. as you walk into the state capitol, it really is a magnificent piece of architecture and decoration. everything fits together so well.
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it is kind of like his first masterpiece, one of the great buildings of his career is the minnesota capitol. we walk up to the front or drive-by, you will see the white marble. this is georgia marble. minnesota does not have marble. at was early controversy about what stone he would use for capital construction. be emblematic of italy. he was looking at a new marble being quarried in georgia. some say there was animosity after the civil war, 40 years removed from the civil war, so why are you buying marble from georgia? i don't know if that is necessarily the case. he was trying to re-create the italian renaissance building. the other option he could have pursued was to have granite from st. paul, that was an up-and-coming industry in the state. there was a lot of desire for him to use that as the stone
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because they would hire people peoplee quarries and from minnesota to shape the stone as you put it on the cladding of the building. he fought hard to keep the white georgia marble for the exterior and won out eventually. the board had a vote. after several votes, they were persuaded to use the white georgia marble. there was a compromise. they have the ground floor and steps made of st. paul granite, so there's still a lot of minnesota stone. the interior stone is from southern minnesota. there are other types of stone from minnesota incorporated into the decoration. the other part of using the white georgia marble was the company where the general contractors for the building. they went down and least the quarry where the marble was located. they eliminated the middleman.
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they cut it and moved it into workshops behind the capital construction area where craftsmen and stonecutters could shape the stone as needed, so you were still hiring those labor workers and special skilled craftsmen to build this building. that was a good remedy to a solution where there might have been some controversy about what stone he would use as cladding for the exterior. one thing you'll see is the dome. that is based on st. peter's in the vatican. if you look at that dome and this you will see the same columns, you will see some of the same architectural detail in this space. you will see large columns inside the building. big granite columns, italian marble columns, you will see symmetry, which is an important part of keeping the architectural tradition together in these spaces. along with that you will see
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beautiful and swing on the ceilings and large paintings. it is in the basement of the capitol. it was something cass gilbert wanted to have to have the european influence with the different types of stone from europe, africa, and all over the world to be brought here for decoration. he wanted it to be a space that would be emblematic of what a german public all would be. they would have their political discussions upstairs. in the basement, they would have a restaurant. that would be a place they could come after the work was done and have fellowship and friendship and talk and discuss things in a more informal situation. there are sayings that are mainly german drinking slogans. that was fine until we were fighting germany and was a lot
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of anti-german sentiment in the state. there were a lot of people trying to prohibit the sale of oklahoma -- alcohol. with the german influence and drinking slogans, it was painted over. it was whitewashed. over time, there were efforts to bring back some of the original stencils. that got covered up as well. that was restored in 1999 and opened again to the public in 2000. as part of the process, our conservatives discovered 22 layers of white paint over the original ceiling. that was a big part of revealing the important space in the state capitol. 1980's a governor in the who wanted this building to start looking back to what it was originally. that started a slow process of restoring the house and senate
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chambers. we also did the seller and parts of the supreme court chambers brought back with the original carpets and walls. the next phase of work is to complete the entire restoration and repair project. these other projects were leading up to the bigger project. it is one of those things that evolved from small projects to the bigger project today. when this building open to the public, i think people were amazed. that is one word you often read about. they often lost their breath walking into the rotunda because it is a 142 foot inner ceiling where you look up and see this wide chandelier. i think there were a lot of oohs people were amazed by the beauty of the architecture. they had seen the outside built for nine years. when you walk in, the color schemes were perfect. it is a space where people can
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feel welcome because you have easy access to the different chambers. you are part of this building. you are part of the government. that was the intent. critics all over the united states marveled at it as well. one thing in st. paul people were living with was the idea we were still on the frontier. we were at the turn of the 19 century and people were still thinking we lived in log cabins and did not have much of modern conveniences. for the people is to making those judgments to see favorable and artists and architects commenting about the greatness of the building made st. paul, a notch culturally. it was a center of culture for st. paul and minnesota. i think people were proud to say we have arrived. you can't call as a backwoods frontier city anymore. anything yourivals
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can build in new york or philadelphia. that was nice for the people of the state to say we have a marvelous building that will stand the test of time. throughout the weekend, american history tv is featuring st. paul, minnesota. our staff recently traveled there to learn about its rich history. learn more about st. paul and other stops at www.c-span.org /localcontent. you are watching american history tv all weekend on c-span3. wesunday at 6:00 eastern, mark the 50th anniversary of the war and commission report on the assassination of president john f. kennedy. the investigative journalist discusses lingering controversies surrounding the report. we examine phone calls, documents, and artifacts considered by the commission. that is on "american artifacts,"
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a weekly program that takes viewers into archives, museums, and historic sites around the >> next on the civil war, stephen davis discusses the fall of atlanta. he highlights the authors who had the greatest impact on the campaign. confederates and union leaders. on september 2, 1854, bringing the campaign to a close. event took place in atlanta. >> it is my privilege to introduce dr. davis. i'm not sure that anybody knows more about the atlanta campaign than he does. he's been a proud civil war buff, since he was in the fourth grade. he earned his undergraduate degree in history at emory, his master's degree at the university of north carolina and

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