Founded in 1853, Oakland is Minnesota’s oldest public cemetery and a gathering place, in death, of people from the full range of St. Paul history, from the city's founders to recent immigrants. It is also a place of beauty.
Two Jewish homes for the poor and elderly operated in the Twin Cities area through most of the twentieth century. They merged in 1971, then merged again in 1995 with another agency devoted to eldercare to form Sholom Community Alliance. Sholom operates two campuses, one in St. Louis Park and the other in St. Paul.
Small Jewish communities arose at the turn of the twentieth century in several southern Minnesota market towns. In each, Jews gathered for religious purposes. But it was only in Rochester that a formal synagogue, B’nai Israel, was established. The founding of Mayo Clinic in 1905 created a need for a local congregation that could serve Jewish patients. After almost a century of holding worship services in former residences, B’nai Israel built its first synagogue building in 2008.
Francis H. Shoemaker’s 1931–1932 journey from a Leavenworth prison cell to a seat in the U.S. Congress ranks among Minnesota’s most bizarre political odysseys. But little about Shoemaker surprised those following the meteoric career of the radical newspaper editor from Red Wing.
Jane Williamson was a schoolteacher and anti-slavery activist in Ohio before coming to the Presbyterian Dakota Mission at Lac qui Parle in 1843. She spent the remaining fifty-two years of her life working with the Dakota people.
African Americans Dred Scott and Harriet Robinson Scott lived at Fort Snelling in the 1830s as enslaved people. Both the Northwest Ordinance (1787) and the Missouri Compromise (1820) prohibited slavery in the area, but slavery existed there even so. In the 1840s the Scotts sued for their freedom, arguing that having lived in “free territory” made them free. The 1857 Supreme Court decision that grew out of their suit moved the U.S. closer to civil war.
The Ada Village Hall served as the center for local government in Ada for over a century. It was an important public meeting hall and social facility through the 1970s. Architecturally, the building is an excellent example of the combined city hall and fire hall buildings that were constructed in Minnesota during the early 1900s.
The St. Peter Armory was the first state-owned armory built in Minnesota. Architecturally, the structure is an excellent example of Minnesota's so-called "early period” armories, all of which predate World War I. The building is also important because it served as a center of military and social affairs in St. Peter.