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.
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.
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.
Frances Andrews worked as an advocate for social justice, education, and conservation in the early twentieth century. She called for preservation of the forests and lakes that became the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and experimented with land restoration in northwestern Wisconsin. Her legacy includes an endowment that continues to support social and environmental causes in the 2010s.
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.
For many Americans, the name Betty Crocker evokes an image of domestic perfection. From the often-reissued Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook to the iconic red spoon logo that bears her signature, Betty Crocker is one of the most recognized names in cooking. It comes as a surprise to some that “America’s First Lady of Food” is, in fact, fictional.
Bonanza farms—large, commercial farming enterprises that grew thousands of acres of wheat—flourished in northwestern Minnesota and the Dakotas from the 1870s to 1920. Geology, the Homestead Act of 1862, railroads, modern machinery, and revolutionary new flour-milling methods all contributed to the bonanza farm boom.
Bongards' Creameries began as a small local creamery, helping farmers to process their milk. Since its beginning in 1908, it has grown to include satellite factories in Perham and Humboldt, Tennessee. It has also increased its range of products to include cheese and whey. In the twenty-first century, Bongards' Creameries is among the largest cheese-making plants in the world.
During his five decades in Minnesota, Joseph R. Brown was a significant figure in territorial and state politics. Although he never held high office, he exercised great influence on how the region developed. His ability to produce legislative results earned him the nickname, “Jo the Juggler.”
Early generations of Minnesotans lived with the ever-present danger of fire. Many city histories tell of blazes that destroyed whole sections of their communities, but in most cases arson was not the cause. The Red Wing Mills complex, however, was almost certainly burned deliberately by an unknown arsonist.
Before Minneapolis and St. Paul upgraded their street railway systems from plodding horse cars to modern electric trolleys, both cities flirted with the use of cable cars. Costly to build, only two lines operated in St. Paul before both cities converted to electric streetcar systems.
Founded in the late 1960s, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (CDT) is the United States' largest professional dinner theatre company. It is also the main tourist attraction for Carver County and a gem for musical theater enthusiasts. Home to many national and world premiere performances, CDT focuses on musical theatre and comedy shows as its mainstays.
The Chaska brick industry flourished from 1857 until 1950. First called "Chaska brick" in an 1894 Chaska Herald article, this distinctive brick is known for its unique "creamy" color, high clay content, and quality. Chaska brick remains closely tied to the history of the city it came from.
Since 1952, the Citizens League has had a major impact on public policies in Minnesota. A group of civic leaders had the idea of inviting leaders from different parts of the community to the table to solve big policy issues. This meant bringing together lawmakers, union leaders, heads of Minnesota companies, and experts from universities and industries. As a group, these experts and leaders would study an issue and then write a research paper they could all agree on. Then they would do the political work required to make their conclusions a reality.
St. Cloud was an ideal place to settle if you were a quarryman looking to make a living in the 1880s. The area was rich with a multitude of colors of granite. All that was needed was the right skill set. It was an opportunity just waiting for the likes of the experienced, Scottish-born quarryman Henry N. Alexander who at age nine began learning the craft from his stonemason father near Aberdeen, Scotland. Henry came to the United States in 1880 and established a family granite dynasty that today is the largest granite producing company in the United States.
St. Paul's Commerce Building was originally built to house the Commercial Club of St. Paul and the offices of the St. Paul Association of Commerce. Years later, it reflects the economic strength and civic influence of St. Paul's business organizations at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Commerce Building is typical of buildings designed to house commercial and civic groups as well as private tenants.
The history of Coney Island as a resort begins when Josephine Hassenstab sold the 31.85-acre island to Lambert Naegele in March, 1884, for $5,200. While Waconia already had several hotels such as the North Star, Lake House, and the Sherman House, the Coney Island Hotel and its resort became the most popular of all of Waconia's hotels and contributed to the town's status as a favorite summer resort.
Chester Adgate Congdon accrued a fortune working as a lawyer for the Oliver Mining Company, and through investments in the Mesabi Iron Range. He also served as a Minnesota State Representative from 1909 to 1913.
Between 1913 and 1914 the Coon Rapids hydroelectric dam was constructed with the intent to provide power to Anoka County. The dam was shut down in 1966 after becoming too expensive to operate. It later became part of Minnesota’s environmental control program.
The Cuyuna Iron Range is a former North American iron-mining district about ninety miles west of Duluth in central Minnesota. Iron mining in the district, the furthest south and west of Minnesota’s iron ranges, began in 1907. During World War I and World War II, the district mined manganese-rich iron ores to harden the steel used in wartime production. After mining peaked in 1953, the district began to focus on non-iron-mining activities in order to remain economically viable.
Sired by a champion pacer and born in 1896, Dan Patch was bred to be a racehorse. At first glance, though, his chances didn't look too good. He had long legs, knobby knees, and worst of all, a sweet disposition—not considered an asset in the hypercompetitive world of harness racing.
Dayton’s began as a single store at Seventh Street and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis in 1902. When the last Dayton family member retired from leadership in 1983, the company had stores nationwide and profits of over $240 million. It became Target Corporation in 2000.
While working at Minneapolis's Washburn mills in the late 1870s, William de la Barre became an internationally known hydroelectricity expert and a key player in the development of water power at St. Anthony Falls.
Donaldson’s, also known as William Donaldson and Company and L. S. Donaldson’s, was a Minneapolis department store located on Nicollet Avenue and Sixth Street. Started by two immigrant brothers, the company grew to be one of the major retail chains in the Twin Cities, rivaling Dayton’s for much of the twentieth century.