Minnesota State Fair, 1917

Since its founding in 1859, the Minnesota State Fair had been an essential yearly tradition in the agricultural state. However, after the United States entered World War I in 1917, the fair took on an entirely new significance. Organizers reframed the event as a “Food Training Camp” that showed Minnesotans how to produce and conserve resources vital to the Allied war effort.

Murder of Carol Thompson

The March 1963 murder of St. Paul wife and mother Carol Thompson shocked the Twin Cities as few local crimes have. Despite community fears of a homicidal maniac, investigators soon focused on T. Eugene "Cotton" Thompson, the victim’s husband, as their prime suspect. Three and a half months after the murder, Thompson was arrested and charged in connection with his wife’s death. In December 1963 he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Founding of Clontarf

Clontarf, a railroad town in Swift County, was established by Bishop John Ireland of St. Paul in 1877 as a Catholic colony on the prairie. Early arrivals named Clontarf for the site of the eleventh-century victory of the Irish king Brian Boru over Viking invaders.

Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

On July 27, 1972, two armed, masked men walked into the Orono home of Virginia Lewis Piper and walked out with the forty-nine-year-old woman handcuffed and blindfolded. The next day, her husband, Harry C. Piper Jr., a prominent Twin Cities investment banker, personally delivered a $1 million ransom to the unidentified kidnappers. Four decades later, no one has served a day of prison time for the crime. Except for about four thousand dollars in scattered twenty-dollar bills, the Pipers’ million-dollar ransom has not been recovered.

Miracle on Ice

The Miracle on Ice is the name given to the American men’s ice hockey victory over the heavily favored Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The team drew heavily on Minnesotan talent, including twelve players and coach Herb Brooks. Coming amid American setbacks in the Cold War, their unlikely win inspired and united the country.

Minneapolis Teamsters’ Strike, 1934

“No trucks shall be moved! By nobody!” was the rallying cry of Minneapolis Teamsters Local 574 as they struck in the summer of 1934. Their demands were clear: a fair wage, union recognition, and the trucking firms’ recognition of inside workers as part of the union. Despite the violent reaction of the authorities, the 574 won on all these points.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1891

Floyd B. Olson is born in Minneapolis. He would be the first Farmer-Labor governor, serving from 1931 until his death on August 22, 1936. He is remembered for implementing New Deal policies and for his skilled negotiating during the 1933 Hormel strike in Austin and the 1934 teamsters' strike in Minneapolis.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1833

Charles M. Loring is born in Portland, Maine. As Minneapolis park commissioner from 1883 to 1890, he would be a principal player in the development of the city's system of parks, public grounds, and children's playgrounds. He would be the driving force behind creation of Victory Memorial Drive; Loring Community School is named for him. Central Park would be renamed Loring Park, also in his honor.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 11, 1865

Little Six and Medicine Bottle, leaders in the US-Dakota War of 1862, are executed at Fort Snelling. In December of 1863 they had been captured in Canada by Major Edwin A. C. Hatch, who had no authority to retain them, and returned to the United States for trial.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 9, 1862

In the aftermath of the US‒Dakota War, a mob of settler colonists attacks a group of Dakota captives in New Ulm. The troops guarding the captives manage to restore order. Five days later, in Henderson, settler colonists attack Dakota captives being marched to Fort Snelling. They kill one Dakota infant before soldiers disperse the crowd.


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