Oakland Cemetery, St. Paul

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.

Orville P. and Sarah Chubb House

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, Minneapolis

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.

Rochester Cyclone, 1883

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.

How Cities and Towns Have Shaped the State

St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Minnesota's Urban Origins

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.

St. Peter Armory

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.

St. Peter Tornado, 1998

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.

Swede Hollow

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.

The 1878 Washburn A Mill Explosion

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.

The Boom Town of Nininger

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 Financial Panic of 1857

Minnesota Territory experienced a boom period starting in 1855. Industry flourished region-wide and companies amassed incredible wealth. The Financial Panic of 1857 brought the good times to a halt and interrupted the growth of the fledgling state.

The Marlborough Apartment Hotel Fire, January 3, 1940

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.

The Minneapolis Skyways

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 Planned Community of Jonathan

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.

The Relocation of Hibbing, 1919–1921

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.

The Waconia Cyclone, August 20, 1904

On August 20, 1904, a large cyclone hit the City of Waconia, changing the face of the city forever.

The Yeovil Colony

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.

Winona Masonic Temple

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.

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