Stone worker

Stone workers and stonemasons have created buildings, monuments, roads, and many othe types of structures since before the existence of civilization. Examples of stone work and stonemasonry can be found world wide. It utilizes a number of different types of stone and methods for creating foundations, walls, and covernings on buildings. Modern stonemasons learn their craft by serving an apprenticeship and they learn how to measure, cut, and install stone materials by using both hand tools and pneumatic power tools. The Minnesota State Captiol building was largely built by stone workers who used steam powered saws and polishing machines, and hand tools. 

There are numerous photographs on this website that show stonemasons, stone materials, and the tools that were used in the Capitol construction. For other information about stonemasonry and stonework see:

Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers, Local 1 of Minnesota and North Dakota at:

Wikipedia "Stonemsonry,"

Stone Quarries and Beyond at:

Albert Swanson-Albert Swanson, a 20-year-old mold caster from Sweden, was killed in a strange accident.  A St. Paul Globe headline summarized, “Passing Wagon Drives Over Rope Used to Hoist Material, and Scaffolding, on Which Men Stood, Falls.”  Swanson and fellow worker Frank Thiery both plunged forty feet.  Swanson collided with timbers and died before hitting the ground.  But Thiery landed in a pile of sand and miraculously got away with only a broken leg. He checked himself out of the hospital and went home that night.

Michael Strom


Michael Strom was an active member of the Journeymen Stone Cutters' Association dating back as far as 1890 when he was elected recording secretary of the local Branch. He was born in Illinois of German parents in 1865 and moved to Minnesota in about 1885. In 1899 he helped build an elaborate float for Labor Day parade which featured marble from the Capitol. Strom and his wife, Sophia, raised a large family in St. Paul. He died here in 1918 and is buried in Elmhurst Cemetery, St.

John McMurtry


1905 St. Paul City Directory and Census. John H.McMurtry was an African-American born in Georgia in 1866. He was experienced in working with marble and moved his wife and large family to St. Paul during the Capitol construction.
Fellow Capitol construction worker, Ernest Jones and his family was also living at this address in 1905.

Judge Jarrett


 Judge Jarrett (1880-1965) was one of the African Americans from Georgia recruited by the Butlers to work on the marble in St. Paul. He arrived in 1902 and his name is found in the payroll records of 1904-5. His mother and sister and her family also moved to St. Paul. At the time of the 1905 Census, Jarrett was living at 886 Park with fellow Capitol worker Issac Suddeth. After the completion of the Capitol, Jarrett went on to work in the quarries at Kasota and then for the Northern Pacific Railroad.  Jarrett is listed in the 1902-1904 St. Paul City Directory and 1905 Payroll.

Alfred Magnuson


On June 25, 1900 Alfred Magnuson, also a stone mason and nephew of Nils Nelson, became the fourth death on the job when he fell while setting roof trusses over the Senate chamber.  He was brought to the hospital but died four days laterat the age of 23.[1]  Magnuson, the son of Nil’s older brother Magnus Jeppsson, was unmarried and he had only been in the country four years.  He was five years old when Nils struck out for America back in 1882 so he may have had some memory of his uncle and read some “America letters” from him.  His family moved around within th

William H. Jones

William Harry Jones and his son Arthur, both born in Wales, 1855 and 1887 respectively, lived in Minneapolis but came over to St. Paul to work as stonecutters on the Capitol. The family had been stonecutters for generations and William’s father had supervised stonecutting at Buckingham Palace. A third member of the family, Allen Jones, William’s brother, also worked at the Capitol as a stonecutter. William was an active union member and served as delegate from Minneapolis to the union’s 1890 convention.

Thomas Belair

French Canadian stone cutter Thomas Belair (Bellaire) was born in Canada in 1853 and came to the U.S. in 1866. He died in St. Paul in April of 1910. This is approximately where 131 Robertson would have been located. Note regarding Thomas Belair's residence: 131 Robertson Street in Saint Paul no longer exists. We believe that he lived in the vicinity of 76 River Park Plaza, Saint Paul, Minnnesota instead.

John Colquhoun

John Colquhoun was born in Scotland in 1875 and emigrated in 1888. He was active in the Minneapolis Journeymen Stone Cutters and served as president of the branch in 1902 and again in 1905. Colquhoun and his wife raised a large family in this house in Minneapolis as he worked as a stone cutter. He died here in 1915.

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