When the St. Paul City Hall-Ramsey County Courthouse was dedicated in late 1932, no one foresaw that it would become renowned as an architectural masterpiece. Yet that it is what it is today: an art deco classic.
There were in fact two dedication ceremonies. The first, on November 21, 1932, was sponsored by the county bar association, and attended by the bench and bar. Frank B. Kellogg, a member of the International Court of Justice, led off the ceremony. Most speakers who followed were nostalgic, recalling lawyers and judges of an earlier era---"the great men, big men, capable men, men of standing in the community...the great men of the yesterday," as one put it. The second ceremony on December 19 opened the building to the public. Thousands traipsed through it. The proceedings concluded with an address by William DeWitt Mitchell, Attorney General of the United States. He had a blunt message for the citizens of St. Paul: organized crime would not disappear with the end of prohibition. Local communities must assume the responsibility to combat "the rackets" and they could expect little assistance from the federal government, given the restrictions imposed by the constitution. However, not wanting to "bring a discordant note into this happy occasion" he reported that based on his confidential sources organized crime has not yet gained a substantial foothold" in the city, which had made progress "during the present year in the suppression of crime in all varieties."
A transcript of the speeches at the first ceremony was prepared by a court reporter, and can be found at the Historical Society. General Mitchell's complete address was reprinted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on December 20th.