Nixon Lake is, of course, not named for Richard Nixon. It was named long before Richard Nixon was born half a country away in 1913; the online Minnesota Place Names directory states that it and its neighbor Cornell Lake were named “for early settlers” of Wright County sometime in the 1850s. Still, it’s impossible now to think of the name “Nixon” without thinking of the 37th President.
I am not a brook: meet Minnesota’s Nixon Lake by Andy Sturdevant
Of all of Ignatius Donnelly’s accomplishments, the one he’d most wanted to be remembered for was his greatest failure. From 1856 until about 1859, Nininger City, about 25 miles downriver from St. Paul, was poised to be a utopian beacon on the Mississippi River.
Andy Sturdevant: Nininger City, Ignatius Donnelly’s lost Atlantis on the Mississippi
David Enblom is an artist living in Lowertown St. Paul who was recently the subject of a retrospective show at the 262 Building that closed last weekend. One of the centerpieces of Enblom’s show was a series of hundreds of photographs of barns, all shot on digital camera within about 40 miles of the Twin Cities between 2002 and 2006.
Faribault Woolen Mills started as a small family-owned business in the nineteenth century and grew to become the largest and longest-surviving woolen mill in Minnesota.
Photo by Sarah (Rosenau) Korf
The oldest existing human-made structures in the Twin Cities are so much older than anything else that the rest of the constructed landscape around it, from the past 150 years, seems paltry. These ancient structures are the cities’ Hopewellian mounds, circular earthworks built thousands of years ago, found all across the continent. In Minnesota, there are 15,000 mounds. There are more than 1,100 in Hennepin County alone, with many more in Ramsey and Scott Counties, as well.
Andy Sturdevant: At Indian Mounds Park, the sense of continuity is striking
One of the reasons I’m compelled to return to cemeteries again and again is that they’re such great places to walk. What other part of a city is so focused on foot traffic, so amenable to pedestrians? Cemeteries are designed to be walked through, to be admired. They’re designed for you to linger for a while, to be alone with your thoughts.
Andy Sturdevant: Exploring the grand, lonely beauty of Sunset Memorial Cemetery
I joined the “Old Minneapolis” Facebook page sometime last year, and one of the things I’d see regularly was a series of street photographs, taken in the late 1960s and early ’70s by the same person. They were artful images of people and places, mostly around downtown Minneapolis. Each one had a small credit on the bottom left hand side of the photo: © Mike Evangelist.
Andy Sturdevant: Seeing 1960s-70s Minneapolis through Mike Evangelist’s eyes
On a sunny day over Labor Day weekend, I traveled down the narrow two-lane road, passing turnoffs for such bucolic-sounding streets as Pleasant Lane and Evergreen Court. On the left, I found the historic site and parked my car in a nearly empty half-circle dirt area next to a blue Chevrolet pickup truck with an American flag decal in the back window.
“I continue to be amazed by the number of younger people I meet who have never even heard of him, despite everything he did. We don’t have a single monument to him in the state, aside from the mansion [the James J. Hill House on Summit Avenue, run by the Minnesota Historical Society] and the railroad he built [known today as BNSF]. When you think of all the wealth that he created and multiplied in this state, it’s surprising that he’s been forgotten.”
-Larry Haeg, author of Harriman vs. Hill: Wall Street’s Great Railroad War (University of Minnesota Press), the first new book in 37 years about the man whose Great Northern Railroad linked Minnesota and Wisconsin to the West and helped facilitate the country’s westward expansion.
In its long history, the Minnesota State Fair has played host to momentous historical events. Theodore Roosevelt delivered his famous line “speak softly and carry a big stick” during a fair speech in 1901. Legendary racehorse Dan Patch set a new record for pacing the mile at the fair’s racetrack in 1906. In 1927, the fair made musical history when John Philip Sousa debuted one of his most famous compositions, “The Minnesota March.”
Learn more about “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” here.
Time Magazine’s Minnesota Cover Story and a Sampling of Parodies, 1973
The August 13, 1973, edition of Time magazine featured a 12-page cover story extolling the virtues of Minnesota. The article, titled “Minnesota: A State That Works,” turned Governor Wendell Anderson into a political rock star, gave the entire state an annoying superiority complex, and inspired quite a few spoofs—one of which is shown here in altered form.
Images via Time (original cover); Minnesota Historical Society (Downtowner and Pinup); and University of Minnesota Libraries, Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies (Baker)
What could have been a brutal, expansive slab of concrete is a neighborhood landmark and a nice place to visit. The sentimentalists beat out the pragmatists, which is as it should be. What’s a public-works project without a helping of sentimentality? Just another slop bucket of concrete and steel, that’s what.
Andy Sturdevant: Walking St. Paul’s High Bridge gives you the sensation of being airborne
Now, you are probably saying: We want light rail, not dinky streetcars. But there’s not as much difference between the two as you might think.