Polls are open in the race to win grant money for one metro-area historic place.

Let the lobbying begin.

Two days after voting commenced in the Partners in Preservation competition, sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, landmarks across the Twin Cities are urging people to visit the online ballot box. Once a day, in fact.

The total giveaway is $1 million, but contest rules indicate that only a portion of that will go to the site with the most votes. The rest will be divied up by a committee.

The American Swedish Institute, one of 25 places vying for the prize, went so far as to send reporters gift bags replete with Swedish Fish, flyers, a lawn sign, a Swedish-made candy bowl, and no less than two press releases.

They want people to "Vote for the castle!" a reference to the Turnblad Mansion in Phillips.

"We need your help!" screamed the Facebook page of the The Basilica of Saint Mary, another site hoping to land the money. "Please help The Basilica win a grant to receive funding to assist in the restoration of our beloved building!"

Since repeat voting may be key to the win, Harriet Tubman Center East in Maplewood has an FAQ for anyone confused about the protocol:

FAQ: I voted for Harriet Tubman Center East yesterday--may I vote again today?
Answer: YES. Vote today. Vote tomorrow. And the next day. And the next... you get the gist.

Additionally, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board sent an e-mail pitch for the Minehaha Park and Mill Ruins Park.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was one of the first to vote, but MPLS had no luck finding which site he chose. His spokesman, John Stiles, said he is part of the panel making final determinations about the money so it would be innapropriate to reveal how he voted.

Have you seen other sites urging supporters to vote? Let us know in the comments.

Here are all the sites competing for the prize:

  • American Swedish Institute
  • Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts
  • Basilica of Saint Mary
  • C.S.P.S. Sokol Hall
  • Chaska Athletic Park
  • Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill
  • Emerge Career and Technology Center
  • Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration
  • Fitzgerald Theater
  • Fort Snelling Upper Post, Building 67
  • Harriet Tubman Center East
  • Hennepin Center for the Arts
  • Historic Pilot Knob
  • James J. Hill House
  • Landmark Center
  • Mill Ruins Park
  • Minnehaha Park
  • Minnesota State Fair Grandstand
  • Minnesota Transportation Museum
  • Pilgrim Baptist Church
  • Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery
  • The Soap Factory
  • Washington County Historic Courthouse
  • Waterford Iron Bridge
  • Wayzata Depot