SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

City Hall: 1905

City Hall: 1905

Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa 1905. "Courthouse and City Hall." Look at the time! 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Beyond the Bells

Longshanks is right - a wee slow elevator takes you up to the bells. Not recommended for the claustrophobic. You can walk if you wish; a tight, dusty, dim spiral staircase goes up to the chimes we well. But that's not as high as you can get: look at the full-size view, and find the tiny semi-circles at the peak of the tower. That's another floor, and they change the flag from those windows.

I've been up there. It was easier to get into East Germany in 1964 than to get into that space, but we did it - and to get down you have to walk backwards in the dark over a three-story void.

It's an amazing building. Just wish it wasn't puce.

Look out! It's santa!

That elegant tile roof was replaced not more than 5 decades later with some lame copper sheeting. When tiles cracked from the cold, they broke free and impaled pedstrians. Now you have to worry about giant icicles sliding off the copper all winter long.

And on another note, the "Father of the Waters" used to get all dragged out for Christmas. Frightfully so.

Peal out

The tower has a 15-bell carillon, and noontime concerts are still played. The bells also chime at the quarter hours. I don't know what the tower was used for, but a trip to the bell loft is unnerving. A tiny elevator and rickety stairs gets you to a beautiful view.


With such a beautiful tower as the crowning touch of this structure, I am curious if it included bells, if not for melodies, at least to mark the time. It appears there is some type of mechanism in the tower, but I can't make it out. Could any past or present residents of Minneapolis let us know if the tower chimed, and if so, does it still chime today? I am interested to know what was housed in the tower structure and if it is still in use. I certainly wouldn't pass up an opportunity to go exploring in this building from basement to pinnacle.

Clean and symmetrical

Have you ever seen such pristine sidewalks?? Or a better tribute to the stonemason?

Even the horses and carriages out front seem to be precisely arranged. Not so the bicycles, but considering they had neither kickstands nor bike racks, but I can bring myself to overlook this.

The rowhouses look like highly flammable Monopoly tokens.

I'm pretty sure this building was seen last year (pretty creepily in winter twilight) in "The First 48," a true-crime show on A&E.

Present day:

His Left Foot

The statue in the rotunda is "Father of Waters," sculpted by Larkin Goldsmith Mead. Legend says that rubbing his toe brings good luck. The left big toe is worn smooth.

A cathedral of governance!

It embodies in stone the sacredness of democracy in the public mind at the time.

Love the beautiful frame houses in the neighborhood too - and it's charming to see the row houses.


The view from the tallest tower on City Hall, in the direction of this camera location (on the top of the Metropolitan Building) is The state courts outgrew this Richardsonian building by the 1970s and moved a block south, and the jail moved a block east in 2001, but it remains the center of city governance.

The Jail

That's Hennepin county jail, it might still be there. The proper entrance to the building has a quaint statue of a god, Poseidon perhaps, reclining on a cot.

Looks the same

But boy has the neighborhood changed!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.