Jewish Immigrants in Brook Park

The village of Brook Park supported a small but vital Jewish community for a brief period in the mid-1890s. That community dispersed after the Great Hinckley Fire destroyed the village on September 1, 1894, just months after many of the immigrants had arrived.

Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Polk County

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is a service-oriented fraternal organization. Started in England in the 1700s, it spread to the US in the early 1800s and to Minnesota in 1849. In Polk County, though Crookston Lodge No. 73 disbanded in the 1910s, members of Fisher Lodge No. 87 met regularly for over a hundred years.

4-H Clubs, West Polk County

Since their origin in 1902, 4-H clubs have helped American youth explore various professional fields—many related to farming—while mastering practical skills. In Minnesota’s West Polk County, 4-H branches formed in the late 1920s to train and inspire the next generation of local farmers.

Métis in Minnesota

In the Minnesota region during the eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries, métis, or mixed-ancestry, people often acted as bridges between white and American Indian communities. The Métis cultural community of Pembina formed out of fur trade dynamics and influenced Minnesota during its territorial birth.

Ecolab, Inc.

Ecolab, Inc., is a public company that provides hygiene, water, and energy products and services. It was founded in 1923 as Economics Laboratory in St. Paul. By 2017, it employed 38,000 workers in over 170 countries, served customers in more than 1.3 million locations, and reported annual sales of $13 billion. It counted among its employees 1,600 scientists and held 6,300 patents.

Migrant Workers

Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, migrant workers, mainly from Mexico, have played a vital role in Minnesota’s economy, often working in low-wage farming and food-processing industries.

West Polk County Farm Bureau

In the late 1800s, as diversified farms began to replace large bonanza farms in Minnesota and across the U.S., Polk County farmers realized they needed help. National groups with local branches, like the Farm Bureau, formed to help farmers organize and improve their representation in laws and education. Farmers in the western part of Polk County—a particularly fertile area due to the Red River Valley’s rich topsoil—came to rely on their farm organizations as they adapted to the rising cost of transporting produce to city markets.

Business and Professional Women’s Club, Crookston, 1960–1975

Crookston’s Business and Professional Women’s club (BPWC), started in 1921, was more politically active in the 1960s and 1970s than in its early years. BPWC members made sure to cast their votes for causes important to women, including equal pay for equal work and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW), Crookston, 1921–1960

The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW/USA) was started in 1919 to improve job conditions and raise pay rates for working women. At the first meeting of the foundation’s Crookston chapter in 1921, over 100 women gathered. In its early years, the club donated volunteer time and money to local causes, including the Camp Fire Girls, Crookston’s Drum and Bugle Corps, and milk and medical aid for needy school children.

Dorcas Circle, Carson Mennonite Brethren Church

The Dorcas Circle, organized in Cottonwood County's Carson Township in 1936 and later known as the Women’s Mission Society (WMS), served as the backbone of the Carson Mennonite Brethren Church’s strong missions program. Working in supportive capacities, members of the circle impacted church and community life without taking on pastoral roles.

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