Minneapolis City Hall

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A botched execution has caused a haunting.

Death hasn’t made his spirit any saner.



Tom and I visited Minneapolis on our road trip of 2007, and were quite impressed by this quite grand and impressive, beautiful Ortonville granite building, a showcase piece of the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, modeled after the design of Hobson Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse, in Pittsburgh, PA. It was designed by architects, Long and Kees, and was built between 1888 and 1909, replacing an older building. It cost about $3,554,000, which sounds like a lot, but it works out to be 28 cents per cubic foot. It was originally budgeted to cost $1.15 million, but the people of Minneapolis decided that they wanted the entire structure to be made of Ortonville granite blocks; and not just having the granite as a foundation, using bricks for the actual walls. (Perhaps they wanted a grand city hall like their twin city rival, Saint Paul, which has a granite, castle-like federal court building, now called The Lankmark Center.

It is a huge glorious structure, reminding one of a Florentine castle, complete with two towers. The tower with the large clock on its side is 345 feet tall, and also houses a 15 bell carillon which has long provided concerts for the public at large. The South Tower was once part of the jail system, acting as a place for men on trial.

There originally was a large courtyard in the middle of the building, but as time went on, a few buildings were built in this space to relieve crowding. The steep roof was originally terra cotta, which was covered in copper in the 1940s when the roof began to leak. This building also has a rotunda, which is the home of a large, 1906 sculpture, entitled “Father of the Waters”, which was created by an American who had lived in Florence, artist Larkin Goldsmith Mead.

Throughout the years, this mighty structure has been used for many purposes, being both the seat of city government and the Hennepin County Courthouse as well. City offices as well as the police, jail and court system were also located in this complex. It was never threatened by the wrecking ball, like Saint Paul’s Landmark Center, which housed federal courts. It has always been treasured by the people of Minneapolis, who made sure it was properly kept up. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Today, though it is jointly owned by the city and county, is now mostly has city government and agencies housed within its walls. (NOTE: A new, 24 story granite Hennepin County Government Center, located just across the plaza, houses the new county courthouse, located in one of its two towers. An underground tunnel connects Minneapolis City Hall with the Hennepin County Government Center.) Many city departments are located in the castle-like Minneapolis City Hall: Assessor’s Office, City Attorney, City Coordinator, City Clerk’s office CPED, Fire Department, Health and Family Support, The Police Department and Public Works.

The fourth and fifth floor of the MINNEAPOLIS CITY HALL, also is still used as a pre-trial detention facility – with holding cells for people who are waiting to be processed or who are held because they can’t make bail or were denied it; thus waiting for their trials in this lock up. It is called, The Hennepin County Adult Detention Center, the largest pre-trial detention facility in the State of Minnesota, averaging a population of 706 persons in custody per day.

The 5th floor has three housing areas, which house about 60-70 inmates each. The fifth floor also has common rooms, visiting areas, a staff dining room and a laundry room, right below the infamous attic, where the convicted were hung. There is also a locked stairway which leads to the to this attic and the towers of the building; the South Tower and the Clock Tower.



In 1898, the fifth floor was completed and housed the jail and the Chapel Court Room, a place of criminal trials. One man, John Moshik, was convicted of murdering another man in a robbery, and was given a death sentence, via the hangman’s rope. He was strung up in the execution room, but it wasn’t done right and it took him 3 minutes of slow strangulation before he expired. No more hangings took place here.


Spirit pf John Moshik

The entity of John Moshik has been heard and seen throughout the 5th floor for over 100 years now, in various places on the 5th floor.

The Chapel Courtroom was haunted by this entity for many years, until it was completely removed and reconstructed to be used for other purposes.

“Guests of the city”, who have stayed in the 5th floor jail cells, have complained to guards of an odd man, dressed only in boxer shorts, peering into their cells.

This same full formed entity has been seen by inmates, peering into the window of their common room, creeping them out, as he still is only in his boxer shorts.

His apparition has also been seen by guards, bailiffs, and other personnel as he walks the hallways.

Strange noises, and footsteps down the hallways of the fifth floor have been heard as well.

Shadows of a man have been seen in unexplainable places.




The restless entity of John Moshik is unable to let go of this world, perhaps because of his painful, slow death. It is said that he had mental issues, and being executed didn’t seem to make him any saner, so he seems to be trapped in this world.


Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse
350 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415
(612) 673-3000

The front of Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse is located in the heart of downtown, on South 5th Street, though the huge complex itself takes up an entire city block in all directions, extending to the sidewalks on S. 4th Avenue, S. 4th Street and S 3rd Avenue as well.




  • prairieghosts.com
  • wikipedia.org
  • geocities.com
  • pulsetc.com

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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