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.
Despite the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which guarantees women the right to equal pay, the problem was still common and sexism still casual in 1977 when trouble boiled over in Willmar. According to a story written by Asa Wilson in a 2006 edition of the Workday Minnesota newspaper, eight women — Doris Boshart, Sylvia Erickson, Jane Harguth, Teren Novotny, Shirley Solyntjes, Glennis Ter Wisscha, Sandi Treml and Irene Wallin – grew tired of making nearly $300 per week less than their male counterparts and were told by the bank’s president:
“We’re not all equal, you know.”
For nearly two years the Willmar 8 picketed in front of downtown Willmar, Minnesota’s Citizens National Bank. They never got their pay increases; the NCLB said it was an “economic” strike, so they never got strike-related compensation; and after the strike, seven of them never really got their jobs back.
Read the rest of the story here.
Andy Sturdevant: One of my favorite things to look for when walking around a city is the cornerstones on buildings, or foundation stones, or dedication stones, or whatever you want to call them. Those are the stones with the date the building was erected carved into them. To me, they always seem to say, “We built this in 1888. This is what 1888 was capable of. You get a good, long look at 1888, and you remember 1888.”
In 1904, immigrant baker Arvid Peterson gave a Swedish-styled cracker a modern American name and the country’s been eating Ry-Krisp ever since. Minneapolis has also been the one and only location where the product is made.
The current Ry-Krisp factory, built in 1922, happens to sit across the street from MinnPost towers. On days when we have the windows open we often smell the sweet, malty scents of toasting rye.
Images courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.
With an October 25, 1987 game seven win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Minnesota Twins brought the Twin Cities their first major sports championship and turned the cities into a one big, crazy, happy family.
Read more in Peter Schilling’s 'In ’87 the Twins turned the towns upside down'.
Image courtesy of the Minnesota Twins