Otto C. Manke
Otto Manke-The Man on the Top of the Minnesota Capitol Building
While there is an official cornerstone at the Minnesota State Capitol, workers also left their own time capsules to mark their work on the building. At the base of the gold-leafed finial ball and copper roof atop the dome on Spetmeber 19, 2012, 223 feet above the ground, restoration workmen discovered a mysterious and tantalizing message. While in the process of removing the roof and finial, Casey Kelley noticed that one of the copper cleats holdong the tiles in place had “O.C. Manke August 10, 1902” inscribed on the surface. O.C. Manke turned out to be Otto C. Manke (1870-1949), a roofer, sheet metal worker, and cornice maker who lived in Saint Paul with his family. The son of immigrants who fled their homeland of Pomerania, then part of Prussia, Manke lived at 613 Virginia Street in Saint Paul. As an employee of Capitol vendor Scribner Libbey, Manke worked on the roofing and skylights on the Capitol. He was active in the Amalgamated Sheet Metal Workers Union, Local 42 and was elected to serve as the union treasurer in 1901.
Later, Manke worked on the Saint Paul Cathedral and eventually opened his own roofing company in Saint Paul. Otto Manke passed away in 1949 at the age of 78.
The copper cleat with Otto Manke’s name was given to the Minnesota Historical Society.
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