Mennonite Migration to Cottonwood County

Believing that war and violence are inconsistent with Jesus’s teachings to love one’s enemies, a group of people from Molotschna Colony, Russia—Mennonites of Dutch descent—searched for a permanent home in the early 1870s. They found such a place, where they could follow their faith without persecution, in Minnesota’s Cottonwood County.

Origins of the University of Minnesota Extension Service

The Agricultural Extension Service of the United States (AES) began as an educational component of land-grant universities. In Minnesota as in other states, the federally funded and organized services of AES provide practical agricultural training to people outside of a university setting.

State Capitol Fire, 1881

As Minnesota state legislators met on the evening of March 1, 1881, two days before the end of their twenty-second session, two pages alerted them to a fire in the building. Quick action by lawmakers and nearby residents saved important documents, furnishings, and historical collections. The fire took no lives but destroyed Minnesota's first capitol building.

Construction of the Stockwood Fill, 1906–1909

Construction of the Stockwood Fill in Clay County between 1906 and 1909 taught Northern Pacific Railway engineers a bitter lesson about building big on northwestern Minnesota’s former-lake-bottom soil.

NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt display, Minneapolis

Begun in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco in 1987, the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt grew into a nationwide community art project memorializing those who had been killed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Lovers, families, and friends of people who had died sewed quilt panels; others created them for individuals they had never met. In 1988, the quilt embarked on a national twenty-city tour and arrived at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis on July 16.

Trial of Joseph Israel / Lucy Ann Lobdell

Joseph Israel Lobdell, also known as La-Roi and Lucy Ann Lobdell, spent two years in Minnesota in the late 1850s. In 1858, a Meeker County attorney charged him with "impersonating a man," claiming that such an action was a crime. The judge trying the case disagreed, ruling that Lobdell (who had been assigned a female sex at birth) had committed no offense by dressing in men’s clothes.

Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest

In 1949, the Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis celebrated its eightieth anniversary. To promote Pillsbury’s Best Family Flour, it created the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest, later named the Bake-Off, to discover the country’s best amateur bakers and recipes. The winning recipes were placed in Pillsbury flour bags as an incentive for consumers to purchase one of Pillsbury’s premier products.

Founding of Hanover

In 1891, homesteaders in Hanover realized their dream of officially incorporating their farming community. It had been thirty-six years since Jacob Vollbrecht, a German immigrant, first arrived by canoe from St. Anthony Falls (later Minneapolis) after coming to the area from New Orleans. Jacob staked his land claim in Minnesota Territory and made the area his home. He and his brother William, who followed in the next year, are credited with founding the village of Vollbrecht Mills, later renamed Hanover.

Murray County Fair

The first Murray County Fair was held in 1880. From 1884 through 1898 there were rival fairs, one in Currie and one in Slayton. Each claimed to be the official county fair, but both were discontinued at the turn of the century. In 1912 the Murray County Fair returned and has been held annually (with two exceptions) since that year.

Smith Act Trial

In 1941, Minneapolis leftists from the Socialist Workers Party and Teamsters union local 544 were accused of conspiracy to overthrow the government under the Alien Registration Act. Twenty-eight were indicted; eighteen were convicted and sentenced to prison.


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