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With its Romanesque turrets and towers, stained glass skylight, and five-story atrium, the Landmark Center looks more like a charming castle than a multi-use arts and cultural center, historic site, and meeting place in St. Paul’s Rice Park area.
An integral part of the Twin Cities’ arts and entertainment community, Landmark Center is home to 14 arts-related organizations, and The Schubert Club’s Museum of Musical Instruments, Gilman Ordway Manuscript Collection, Gallery of Wood Art, Landmark Center Archives, Ramsey County Historical Society Gallery, the “Uncle Sam Worked Here” exhibit, Landmarket Gift Shop, Downtown Information Center, and Anita’s Cafe.
Originally built in 1902 as the Federal Court House and Post Office, the building was saved by the wrecking ball in the 1970s, restored to its original grandeur, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can attend monthly cultural events and performances, free concerts, or take part in tours covering the architectural and historical aspects of the site. An entertaining Gangster Tour, led by a costumed guide, takes visitors back to the city’s Prohibition era when many infamous gangsters (unwillingly) found their way to the Federal Court House. Told with humor, accuracy, and enthusiasm, the guides tell about the life and times of people like “Ma” Barker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, John Dillinger, and more. Many of the gangsters were held in the third floor Detention Room, tried in Courtroom 317, or faced J. Edgar Hoover’s G-men on the front steps.