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.
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.
Before burning to the ground in 2011, the Swany White Flour Mill was the last remaining 19th century mill in use in Minnesota. Located in Freeport, the mill produced white flour, mixes, and other grain products for more than a century. It was a local landmark and was a frequent stop for people interested in the history of milling and bread baking.
The Universal Laboratories building played a key role during World War II by ensuring that the United States had an adequate domestic supply of the essential crude drug ergot. As war threatened to cut off imported supplies of crude ergot, Universal Laboratories developed an effective collecting and processing operation in Dassel.
Thomas Barlow (T.B.) Walker worked his way through school and into Minnesota's lumber industry, where he became unusually successful. He later helped found two of Minneapolis's significant cultural organizations, the Public Library System and the Walker Art Center.
For thirty years, William Bleedorn was one of only a few cow bell manufacturers in the United States. Between 1863 and 1885, his foundry in Carver County produced thousands of bells that were used by farmers across the country.