Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature
Skip Navigation Links > >

Library News

With the Minnesota State Capitol closed for renovation, the Minnesota Legislature is scheduled to meet in special session in the next week or two in modest, temporary chambers in two State Office Building hearing rooms.  Territorial legislatures met in a variety of locations but the Minnesota House and Senate have met in one of the three Minnesota capitols since the first one was built in 1853.

We were able to find one notable exception!  On March 1, 1881, the first State Capitol caught fire during an evening session in one of the final days of the 1881 legislative session.  The House and Senate quickly adjourned when the fire was discovered.  The Capitol was "totally destroyed" according to a story in the Minneapolis Tribune the next morning.  The Tribune states that "steps were taken promptly during the evening by the mayor and lieutenant-governor and speaker for the legislature to resume its session this morning in the new market building."  By 11 am the next morning, the Legislature was meeting in Market House a few blocks away at 7th and Wabasha.  The 1881 Legislature also met at Market House later that year for a special session. 

Although the hearing rooms in the State Office Building will be modest compared to the elegant House and Senate chambers in the beautiful 1905 Capitol, current legislators will not need to "take measures for the proper covering of the floor of the Hall with some thing other than saw dust" as they did during the 1881 special session at Market House!

Capitol renovation has booted the House out of its chamber during a previous special session.  The House met in the Senate chamber during the 1989 special session.