Execution of William Williams

The botched execution of William Williams was the last in Minnesota. After newspapers broke state law to report on the event, public opinion turned firmly against the death penalty, and it was repealed in 1911.

State Board of Health Established, March 4, 1872

During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Minnesota faced public health issues such as poor sanitation and disease epidemics. To address these issues, Minnesota established a state board of health in 1872. It was the third such board in the United States.

Mesabi Iron Range Strike, 1907

Tired of ethnic discrimination as well as dangerous working conditions, low wages, and long work days, immigrant iron miners on the Mesabi Range in northeastern Minnesota went on strike on July 20, 1907. It was the first organized strike on the state's Iron Range.

Duluth Ship Canal Opening, 1871

The opening of the Duluth Ship Canal in 1871 was a historical turning point for the city of Duluth and the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior.

Grasshopper Plagues, 1873–1877

On June 12, 1873, farmers in southwestern Minnesota saw what looked like a snowstorm coming towards their fields from the west. What seemed to be snowflakes were in fact grasshoppers. In a matter of hours, knee-high fields of grass and wheat were eaten to the ground by hungry hoppers.

Sinking of the Hesper

Launched in 1890, Hesper was a bulk freighter with a forward pilot-house, designed to haul loads like grain and iron ore across the Great Lakes. With masts and a steam engine, Hesper was a hybrid that reflected the transition from wind-powered vessels to mechanically propelled ships.

Bicycling Craze, 1890s

In the 1890s, after bicycles became more comfortable and affordable, bicycling swept the nation, Minnesota included. Minnesotans who embraced bicycling at this time helped lay the groundwork for a number of lasting changes in American society, from shorter skirts to better roads.

St. Anthony Falls Tunnel Collapse, October 5, 1869

On October 5, 1869, water seeped and then gushed into a tunnel underneath St. Anthony Falls creating an enormous whirlpool. The falls were nearly destroyed. It was years before the area was fully stabilized and the falls were again safe from collapse.

Hydroelectricity in Minneapolis, September 5, 1882

Centralized hydroelectric power came on for the first time in the United States in downtown Minneapolis on September 5, 1882. Minnesota Brush Electric Company produced the power, beating a similar effort in Appleton, Wisconsin, by twenty-five days.

Republican National Convention, June 1892

Republicans from across the nation came to Minneapolis in June 1892 for secret meetings, public rallies and speeches, and their official national convention, which culminated in the nomination of then US President Benjamin Harrison as the party's presidential candidate.

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