Working as a lumberjack in northern Minnesota was a difficult job with poor living conditions. Many loggers blew off steam by drinking, gambling, or visiting brothels. "Sky pilots," or visiting ministers, tried to save the men's souls and put them on the road to holiness rather than vice.
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.
Mickey Crimmons and Bert Mattson opened Mickey's Diner, located at 36 West Seventh Street in downtown St. Paul, in 1939. Such diners had gained popularity early in the twentieth century as inexpensive, often all-night, eateries. Built to resemble a rail car, Mickey's was particularly notable for its unique look. Its unusual architecture made it a local landmark, and earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, commonly known as the Soo Line from a phonetic spelling of Sault, helped Minnesota farmers and millers prosper by hauling grain directly from Minneapolis to eastern markets.
In 1854 legislators in St. Paul requested a grant from the federal government to create a rail line across Minnesota Territory. Public outcry led to scandal and the repeal of the territory's first land grant bill.
Built in 1929 at Forty-Sixth East Fourth Street, the Minnesota Building represents a turning point in the economic history of downtown St. Paul and the architectural history of the entire Twin Cities area.
When James C. Burbank began his transportation business in 1851, it was a one-man operation. By 1859, Burbank's Minnesota Stage Company controlled all the major stagecoach lines in the state. In the years before railroads linked Minnesota communities, the Minnesota Stage Company played a crucial role in shaping the commercial and social life of the young state.
During the late 1800s, dairy farmers in Minnesota and other states faced what they considered a serious and immediate threat to their livelihoods: the growing popularity of a butter substitute called oleomargarine. For nearly a century, the dairy industry and its legislative allies waged a series of campaigns to prohibit or limit the manufacture and sale of margarine. No state retained its anti-margarine laws longer than Minnesota.
The Headwaters Dams were built between 1881 and 1912 in the Mississippi headwaters. The dams served to regulate river flow and assist navigation until 1938, when they were relegated to a flood control role.
When George D. Munsing came to Minnesota in 1886 to produce a new line of woolen union suits, he founded an underwear empire. While selling everything from long johns to girdles, the Minnesota company urged generations of consumers, "don't say Underwear, say Munsingwear."
Writers of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution took a little more than one hundred words to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. It fell to Minnesota Congressman Andrew Volstead to write the regulations and rules for enforcement. The twelve-thousand-word Volstead Act remained in effect for thirteen years, from 1920 until Prohibition was repealed in December 1933.
George Nelson spent nearly twenty years as a clerk in the fur trade, working for the XY, North West, and Hudson's Bay Companies. He kept extensive journals that offer a valuable picture of life in the fur trade and the culture of the American Indians he met during his travels.
With its lavishly illustrated seed catalogs and store displays, Northrup, King and Company became a household name at the turn of the twentieth century. The company sold hardy, Northern-grown garden seed before expanding into Northern field seed and plant hybrids.
A few months before aviator Charles Lindbergh made his record-breaking transatlantic flight, Northwest Airways, Inc. began carrying airmail between the Twin Cities and Chicago. As Northwest Airlines, Inc., the company became a major international carrier before financial troubles forced its merger with Delta Air Lines, Inc. in 2008.
In the 1880s, several members of the Lewis H. Merritt family discovered hematite on the Mesabi Range. This led to industrial development in northeastern Minnesota and the growth of the Lake Superior iron industry.
Home to many historically significant people and places, Carver County's possibly best-known are recording artist Prince and his Paisley Park Studios. Located in what were Chanhassen cornfields, the site was a key location in Minnesota's music industry. In its heyday, it drew artists and musicians from around the world. Though no longer in business, it still draws the eye of travelers along Highway 5 in Chanhassen.
Charles Alfred Pillsbury was one of Minnesota's most prominent millers. His Minneapolis company, Charles A. Pillsbury and Co., was among the largest milling firms in the world during the last decades of the nineteenth century.
In forty-six years as a Minnesotan, John Sargent Pillsbury helped establish what eventually became one of the world's largest flour-milling businesses, served three terms as governor, and contributed—generously and often anonymously—to numerous causes he deemed worthy.
Thanks to the limestone bluffs and hills that surrounded Red Wing, the town became a Minnesota lime-making and stone quarrying center from 1870 to 1910. Those forty years are sometimes known as the city’s “Stone Age.”
Joseph Rolette was a fur trader and politician during Minnesota's territorial period. A colorful character in his time, Rolette is remembered for the drastic action he took to prevent removal of Minnesota's capital to St. Peter.
In 1904, immigrant baker Arvid Peterson gave a Swedish-styled cracker a modern American name and introduced the country to Ry-Krisp. For decades, Minneapolis was the one and only location where the product was made.