On January 3, 1940, the Marlborough Apartment Hotel in Minneapolis burst into flames after an explosion in its basement. The deadliest fire the city had ever seen would claim nineteen lives and destroy a three-story building housing more than one hundred twenty people.
In 1962, a local real estate developer named Leslie Park and architect Ed Baker built a covered walkway over Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Park's structure would later be known as a skyway. It was the first link in a system that later spread throughout much of the city's downtown.
The fifty-three-foot-high Minnehaha Falls was purchased by Minneapolis in 1889. It was the centerpiece of a new state park. The falls remain one of the state's most popular attractions for both residents and visitors. Their name is derived from the Dakota words mni for "water" and gaga for "falling" or "curling"—literally "water fall."
Nininger, a small town built quickly in 1856 and abandoned only a few years later, was located twenty-five miles south of St. Paul near present-day Hastings. The story of its rise and fall is typical of many of the boom towns that sprang up in places like Minnesota Territory during the mid-nineteenth century. It shows both the high hopes of the area’s newcomers and the despair they felt when their communities failed.
The O'Connor layover agreement was instituted by John O'Connor shortly after his promotion from St. Paul Detective to Chief of Police on June 1, 1900. It allowed criminals to stay in the city under three conditions: that they checked-in with police upon their arrival; agreed to pay bribes to city officials; and committed no major crimes in the city of St. Paul. This arrangement lasted for almost forty years, ending when rampant corruption forced crusading local citizens and the federal government to step in.
Founded in 1853, Oakland is Minnesota’s oldest public cemetery and a gathering place, in death, of people from the full range of St. Paul history, from the city's founders to recent immigrants. It is also a place of beauty.
Built in 1867, the Chubb House is the oldest residence standing in Fairmont, and the only of the town's houses known to have been built with brick from Fairmont's first brickyard. It was the home of prominent homesteader Orville Chubb, who was the community's first physician. The house is an example of a property associated with the early Yankee American development of southern Minnesota town sites.
Parade Stadium was Minneapolis's first public football stadium. The Minneapolis park board built the 16,560-seat stadium at The Parade, a park just west of downtown, in 1951. It was meant for high school, amateur, and small-college games. The stadium was also used for summertime Aquatennial festivities for nearly forty years.
The 1960s and 1970s were a time of rapid suburban growth. City planners in these decades were frustrated with the growing problems of pollution, traffic, and creating new neighborhoods as cities spread. One solution to this idea was the "new town" movement. Designed as planned communities, these "towns" tried to organize the design and growth of the town in advance to better deal with urban sprawl. The community of Jonathan, located within the existing city of Chaska, was built along these concepts.
From 1919 to 1921, the people of Hibbing moved nearly two hundred structures, including several large buildings, two miles south to make way for a growing open pit mine. The Oliver Mining Company wanted the valuable iron ore underneath North Hibbing, and the company funded the use of horses, logs, farm tractors, a steam crawler (a tractor primarily used in the logging industry), steel cables, and human power to relocate the town.
A devastating cyclone hit Rochester on August 21, 1883. It killed dozens of people and injured many more, but emergency health services in the tornado's aftermath also led to the eventual creation of the Mayo Clinic.
Alice Gustava Smith, better known by her students and readers as Sister Maris Stella, taught English at the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) in St. Paul for nearly fifty years. During that time she also published books of verse that built her reputation as a skilled and spiritual poet.
Expert Essay: Professor of history Annette Atkins, author of Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out, argues that "the Cities" and Minnesota's other urban and rural centers have made the state more than flyover country.
The St. Peter Armory was the first state-owned armory built in Minnesota. Architecturally, the structure is an excellent example of Minnesota's so-called "early period” armories, all of which predate World War I. The building is also important because it served as a center of military and social affairs in St. Peter.
On March 29, 1998, a tornado swept through southern Minnesota, devastating the town of St. Peter. Residents had only about ten minutes to take shelter once they heard the warning sirens just after 5:00 p.m. Propelled by 150-mile-an-hour winds, the tornado cut a mile-wide swath through the town of 10,000, causing scores of injuries and one fatality when a young boy was swept out of his family's car. In terms of its severity, the St. Peter tornado ranks with other destructive storms including those that tore through the Twin Cities metro area in 1965 and again in 1981.
Nestled into a small valley between the mansions of Dayton's Bluff and St. Paul proper, Swede Hollow was a bustling community tucked away from the prying eyes of the city above. It lacked more than it offered; houses had no plumbing, electricity, or yards, and there were no roads or businesses. In spite of this, it provided a home to the poorest immigrants in St. Paul for nearly a century.
On the evening of May 2, 1878, the Washburn A Mill exploded in a fireball, hurling debris hundreds of feet into the air. In a matter of seconds, a series of thunderous explosions—heard ten miles away in St. Paul—destroyed what had been Minneapolis' largest industrial building, and the largest mill in the world, along with several adjacent flour mills. It was the worst disaster of its type in the city's history, prompting major safety upgrades in future mill developments.
From the 1850s to the 1960s, St. Paul’s West Side Flats was a poor, immigrant neighborhood, heavily Jewish and frequently flooded. In the early 1960s all residents were moved out to make way for an industrial park.
Built in 1909, the Winona Masonic Temple with its large public ballroom and other meeting rooms was an important center of social and civic activity in the city. It continues to serve Winona in the twenty-first century.
After the United States entered World War I in 1917, Minnesota women, like Americans across the nation, were called to contribute to the war effort. Though some went to Europe and served as nurses, drivers, and aid workers on the battlefields, many more participated on the home front. They took on new jobs, conserved vital resources, and joined volunteer organizations. At the same time, they struggled to come to terms with conflicting ideals of patriotism, loyalty, and what it meant to be an American.
In 1873, George Rodgers led immigrants from southwest England to establish the Yeovil Colony in the Red River Valley on land purchased from the Northern Pacific Railroad. Despite high hopes, the settlement of New Yeovil crumbled soon after it began.