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Rock Island Excursion, 1854

On February 22, 1854, the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad completed the first rail line to connect the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean. To promote that feat the company contacted notable East Coast citizens and journalists and invited them to ride their train to Rock Island. From there, the visitors took a steamboat trip up the Mississippi, stopping at St. Paul. The journalists, pleased with what they saw, wrote of the beauty and splendor of a region that many in the East thought was little more than a wilderness.

"Half-Breed Tract" and Scrip

The 1830 Treaty of Prairie du Chien set aside 320,000 acres of potentially valuable land west of Lake Pepin for "half-breed" members of the Dakota nation. The move set off a series of events that would enrich a number of early Minnesotans, none of Indian heritage.

Ada Village Hall

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.

Adas Israel Congregation, Duluth

Adas Israel Congregation was founded in 1885. Members met in a house on St. Croix Avenue in what is now the Canal Park area of Duluth. It incorporated in 1899. The families that formed the congregation were Lithuanian immigrants.

Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Minnetonka

Known for being the oldest Conservative congregation west of Chicago, Adath Jeshurun has been a mainstay of the Twin Cities Jewish community for well over a century. Though rooted in South Minneapolis, the congregation moved to Minnetonka in 1995 to accommodate its growing membership.

African American Students at Gustavus Adolphus College,1963–1982

Founded by Swedish Americans in St. Peter in 1862, Gustavus Adolphus College attracted a mostly white student body for much of its history. In the 1960s, the college took steps to diversify its campus by recruiting and retaining African American students from the South. This effort made Gustavus unique among Midwestern liberal arts colleges.

Amblard, Emile (1840–1914)

Emile Julien Amblard, known as the "Duke of Clearwater Lake," became one of Coney Island's leading residents. He bought his first piece of land there in 1893. The western edge of the island and a building in Waconia would become his passion for the next twenty-one years.

American Crystal Sugar Factory, Chaska

The city of Chaska is home to a factory that has survived decades of change in the Minnesota sugar industry. Since 1934 it has been part of the American Crystal Sugar Company, one of the leading sugar producers in the United States.

American Fur Company Fishing on Lake Superior, 1835–1841

In 1834, the American Fur Company established a commercial fishing operation on Lake Superior to supplement the company's profits. The financial panic of 1837 doomed the operation and the company declared bankruptcy in 1842. Commercial fisherman did not have a significant presence on Lake Superior again until the Duluth fishing boom in the 1870s.

American Jewish World Newspaper

Founded in 1912 by Rabbi Samuel Deinard as part of an effort to unify the German and Eastern European Jews of Minnesota, the American Jewish World newspaper celebrated its centennial in 2012.

Anderson, Alexander P. (1862–1943)

In December 1901, botanist Alexander Pierce Anderson created puffed rice while experimenting with starch crystals in his laboratory. Although he did not yet realize the significance of his discovery, Anderson's new breakfast food would make him a nationally known figure and the face of a Quaker Oats advertising campaign for almost a decade.

Anderson, Helen Eugenie Moore (1909–1997)

Eugenie Moore Anderson emerged as a trailblazer for American women in international diplomacy during the post-World War II era. In 1949 she became the first American woman to hold the rank of ambassador.

Andrews Sisters

The Andrews Sisters hold a singular place among the many famous Minnesota-born musical talents who have made it big. Rising to fame in the swing era of the late 1930s, they developed their successful close-harmony formula early on. Patty, the blond mezzo-soprano, sang lead; Maxene, the brunette, sang soprano; and LaVerne, the redhead, sang contralto. The trio recorded more than six hundred songs, sold over ninety million records, earned fifteen gold records, and had a dozen number-one hits. Forty-six of their tunes made it to the Billboard Top Ten chart—more than either Elvis Presley or The Beatles.

Artificial Limb Industry in Minneapolis

The milling, logging, farming, and railroad industries that made Minneapolis a prosperous town in the late nineteenth century also cost many men their limbs, if not their lives. Minneapolis entrepreneurs, many of them amputees themselves, built on the local need and made the city one of the leading producers of artificial limbs in the United States.

Ayer, Elizabeth Taylor (1803–1898)

Elizabeth Taylor Ayer's life spanned nearly the entire nineteenth century. In an era when women rarely had professional careers, her work as a teaching missionary gave her more status and independence than most women enjoyed.

B'nai Abraham Congregation, Minneapolis

B'nai Abraham Congregation grew out of the Romanian Jewish community that developed in South Minneapolis in the 1880s. The congregation prospered until the neighborhood's Jewish population shrank after World War II. A move to St. Louis Park in the early 1950s rejuvenated membership, and B'nai Abraham merged with Mikro-Tifereth in 1972, creating a new congregation: B'nai Emet.

B'nai Abraham Synagogue, Virginia

Dedicated in 1909, the red brick synagogue of Virginia's B'nai Abraham congregation was called the most beautiful religious building on the Iron Range. In the early twentieth century, the synagogue was the heart of Virginia's Jewish community. A declining congregation forced the synagogue to close its doors in the mid-1990s. However, community support and renovations have made B'nai Abraham a center of Virginia's cultural life once again.

B'nai Emet Synagogue, St. Louis Park

The product of multiple mergers between some of the Minneapolis area's oldest congregations, B'nai Emet Synagogue held worship services at its St. Louis Park location from 1972 until 2011. The synagogue enjoyed a moment in the spotlight as a shooting location for a 2009 Coen Brothers film before joining with Minnetonka's Adath Jeshurun Congregation in 2011.

Bagone-giizhig (Hole-in-the-Day the Younger), 1825–1868

Bagone-giizhig, known in English as Hole-in-the-Day the Younger, was a charismatic and influential chief who played a key role in relations between the Ojibwe and the U.S. government in Minnesota. Yet he won as many enemies as friends due to his actions during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and his claim to be the leader of all Ojibwe. In 1868, Bagone-giizhig was assassinated by a group of other Ojibwe from Leech Lake. For many years the real reason for this killing remained a mystery.

Barberg-Selvälä-Salmonson Sauna, Cokato

Often, the first structure built by Finnish immigrants to Minnesota was a sauna. That was the case with the Barberg-Selvälä-Salmonson sauna in Cokato—the oldest savusauna, or smoke sauna, still existing in Minnesota and likely in the United States.

Barn Bluff

Roughly 10,000 years ago raging glacial meltwaters created the broad valley of the Upper Mississippi River that we know today. They also helped form one of the river’s most famous and significant landmarks, Barn Bluff.

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis

The Basilica of Saint Mary was first known as the Pro-Cathedral of Minneapolis. It cost one million dollars to build and held its first Mass in 1914. In 1926, the Catholic Church made it the first basilica in the United States.

Battle of Birch Coulee, September 2–3, 1862

The Battle of Birch Coulee, fought between September 2 and 3, 1862, was the worst defeat the United States suffered and the Dakotas' most successful engagement during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Over thirty hours, approximately two hundred Dakota soldiers pinned down a Union force of 150 newly recruited U.S. volunteers, militia, and civilians from the area, holding them until Henry Sibley's main army arrived.

Battle of Shakopee, 1858

The last in a long series of violent conflicts between Dakota and Ojibwe people took place on the banks of the Minnesota River north of the village of the Dakota leader Shakpedan (Little Six) on May 27, 1858. Dozens of Ojibwe and Dakota warriors engaged in fighting that claimed lives on both sides but produced no clear victor.

Battle of Wood Lake, September 23, 1862

On September 23, 1862, United States troops, led by Colonel Henry Sibley, defeated Taoyateduta (Little Crow IV)'s Dakota force at the Battle of Wood Lake. The battle marked the end of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

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