MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  On March 1, 1881 the state’s first capitol building burned to the ground.

It happened on an evening when legislators were in session.

Thankfully, no one was hurt.  Around 300 people escaped, but the building was a total loss.

Credit: Minnesota Historical Society and Alfred Palmquist & Company

Incredibly, some legislators and nearby residents were able to save many artifacts and important documents from the basement before the state capitol burned to the ground.

And in the ruins, a capitol engineer later found a key loop with sixteen keys that used to belong to the building.

Credit: Minnesota Historical Society

A second building was put up on the same site in 1883 but was later replaced by the state capitol we have today.