Minneapolis Flour-Milling Industry during World War I

The Minneapolis flour-milling industry peaked during World War I when twenty-five flour mills employing 2,000 to 2,500 workers played a leading role in the campaign to win the war with food. Minneapolis-produced flour helped to feed America, more than four million of its service personnel, and its allies.

Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway

The Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway (MN&S) was a Minnesota short-line railroad that operated between the cities of Crystal and Northfield from 1918 until 1982. It was a profitable bridge line, routing traffic past the crowded freight yards of the Twin Cities onto connecting railroads at Northfield.

Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (Soo Line)

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.

Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Land Grant Scandal, 1854

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.

Minnesota Building

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.

Minnesota Public School Fund

In 1854, the United States took the mineral-rich lands of northeastern Minnesota Territory from the Ojibwe Nation after the signing of the Treaty of La Pointe. Four years later, it granted to the new state of Minnesota sections 16 and 36 of every one of its townships, either to be held in trust or leased to support state schools. Close to three million acres were dedicated to a public school trust fund, and the iron ore and forest lands of the Ojibwe generated over 85 percent of its value. In 2017, it is worth over a billion dollars.

Minnesota Stage Company

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.

Minnesota’s Margarine Battles, 1885–1975

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.

Mississippi River Reservoir Dam System

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.

Morton gneiss

Morton gneiss (pronounced “nice”), named for the town in Renville County where it has been quarried, is one of the oldest stones on the planet: about 3.5 billion years old. It is known for its beauty as an ornamental stone in buildings and monuments.

Munsingwear

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."

National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act)

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.

Nelson, George (1786–1859)

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.

Northrup, King and Company

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.

Northwest Airlines

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.

Opening of the Mesabi Iron Range

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.

Paisley Park

Though Carver County is home to many historically significant people and places, its best-known are probably Prince and Paisley Park, his estate and arts production complex. Located in what was once a cornfield, the site is a key location in Minnesota's music history. In its heyday during the late 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, it drew artists and musicians from around the world to record, perform, and socialize.

Pan Motor Company

In 1918, the first Pan Automobile rolled off the assembly line in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It was the beginning of the short and controversial existence of the Pan Motor Company.

Pelican Valley Navigation Company

Flowing out of Detroit Lake to the southwest, short segments of the Pelican River connect a string of five large lakes and two small ones. From 1889 to 1918, steamboats, launches, and a system of locks and channels connected this chain of lakes, which stretches twelve miles southwest from the town of Detroit Lakes.

Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest

In 1949, the Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis celebrated its eightieth anniversary. To promote Pillsbury’s Best Family Flour, it created the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest, later named the Bake-Off, to discover the country’s best amateur bakers and recipes. The winning recipes were placed in Pillsbury flour bags as an incentive for consumers to purchase one of Pillsbury’s premier products.

Pillsbury, Charles Alfred (1842–1899)

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.

Pillsbury, John Sargent (1827–1901)

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.

Post-it Notes

Introduced to the public in 1980, the Post-it Note has become one of the Minnesota-based 3M Company’s most successful products.

Red Wing’s “Stone Age”

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.”

Rolette, Joseph (1820–1871)

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 the removal of Minnesota's capital to St. Peter.

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