On February 22, 1854, the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad completed the first rail line to connect the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean. To promote that feat the company contacted notable East Coast citizens and journalists and invited them to ride their train to Rock Island. From there, the visitors took a steamboat trip up the Mississippi, stopping at St. Paul. The journalists, pleased with what they saw, wrote of the beauty and splendor of a region that many in the East thought was little more than a wilderness.
The 1830 Treaty of Prairie du Chien set aside 320,000 acres of potentially valuable land west of Lake Pepin for "half-breed" members of the Dakota nation. The move set off a series of events that would enrich a number of early Minnesotans, none of Indian heritage.
The Ada Village Hall served as the center for local government in Ada for over a century. It was an important public meeting hall and social facility through the 1970s. Architecturally, the building is an excellent example of the combined city hall and fire hall buildings that were constructed in Minnesota during the early 1900s.
Adas Israel Congregation was founded in 1885. Members met in a house on St. Croix Avenue in what is now the Canal Park area of Duluth. It incorporated in 1899. The families that formed the congregation were Lithuanian immigrants.
Known for being the oldest Conservative congregation west of Chicago, Adath Jeshurun has been a mainstay of the Twin Cities Jewish community for well over a century. Though rooted in South Minneapolis, the congregation moved to Minnetonka in 1995 to accommodate its growing membership.
Founded by Swedish Americans in St. Peter in 1862, Gustavus Adolphus College attracted a mostly white student body for much of its history. In the 1960s, the college took steps to diversify its campus by recruiting and retaining African American students from the South. This effort made Gustavus unique among Midwestern liberal arts colleges.
Emile Julien Amblard, known as the "Duke of Clearwater Lake," became one of Coney Island's leading residents. He bought his first piece of land there in 1893. The western edge of the island and a building in Waconia would become his passion for the next twenty-one years.
The city of Chaska is home to a factory that has survived decades of change in the Minnesota sugar industry. Since 1934 it has been part of the American Crystal Sugar Company, one of the leading sugar producers in the United States.
In 1834, the American Fur Company established a commercial fishing operation on Lake Superior to supplement the company's profits. The financial panic of 1837 doomed the operation and the company declared bankruptcy in 1842. Commercial fisherman did not have a significant presence on Lake Superior again until the Duluth fishing boom in the 1870s.
American Indian boarding schools, which operated in Minnesota and across the United States beginning in the late nineteenth century, represent a dark chapter in U.S. history. Also called industrial schools, these institutions prepared boys for manual labor and farming and girls for domestic work. The boarding school, whether on or off a reservation, carried out the government's mission to restructure Indians' minds and personalities by severing children’s physical, cultural, and spiritual connections to their tribes.
In December 1901, botanist Alexander Pierce Anderson created puffed rice while experimenting with starch crystals in his laboratory. Although he did not yet realize the significance of his discovery, Anderson's new breakfast food would make him a nationally known figure and the face of a Quaker Oats advertising campaign for almost a decade.
Eugenie Moore Anderson emerged as a trailblazer for American women in international diplomacy during the post-World War II era. In 1949 she became the first American woman to hold the rank of ambassador.
The Andrews Sisters hold a singular place among the many famous Minnesota-born musical talents who have made it big. Rising to fame in the swing era of the late 1930s, they developed their successful close-harmony formula early on. Patty, the blond mezzo-soprano, sang lead; Maxene, the brunette, sang soprano; and LaVerne, the redhead, sang contralto. The trio recorded more than six hundred songs, sold over ninety million records, earned fifteen gold records, and had a dozen number-one hits. Forty-six of their tunes made it to the Billboard Top Ten chart—more than either Elvis Presley or The Beatles.
When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Germans were the single largest ethnic group in Minnesota. Nativism during this period was a “patriotic” attitude that saw recent immigrants—particularly those of German descent— as potentially traitorous. Many felt that because German Americans shared their heritage with the Kaiser and the German Empire, they would side with the enemy power. That many German Americans advocated neutrality until the U.S. declared war was further proof of disloyalty to nativists.
Maud Hart Lovelace is born in Mankato. She is remembered as author of the Betsy-Tacy books, a series of stories for young readers set in early twentieth-century Mankato. In 1979, the Mankato Friends of the Library Association established the Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award for children's books.
The milling, logging, farming, and railroad industries that made Minneapolis a prosperous town in the late nineteenth century also cost many men their limbs, if not their lives. Minneapolis entrepreneurs, many of them amputees themselves, built on the local need and made the city one of the leading producers of artificial limbs in the United States.
President Barack Obama starts a three day bus tour with a town-hall meeting in Cannon Falls. After the meeting his motorcade travels down Highway 52 through Zumbro, Rochester, Chatfield, Fountain, Preston, and Harmony on it's way to the Seed Exchange in Decorah, Iowa.
Flash flooding kills seven and causes $67 million in damages in Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona counties. People are evacuated from Rushford, Stockton, Houston, Elba, Minnesota City, and portions of Winona.
Elizabeth Taylor Ayer's life spanned nearly the entire nineteenth century. In an era when women rarely had professional careers, her work as a teaching missionary gave her more status and independence than most women enjoyed.
B'nai Abraham Congregation grew out of the Romanian Jewish community that developed in South Minneapolis in the 1880s. The congregation prospered until the neighborhood's Jewish population shrank after World War II. A move to St. Louis Park in the early 1950s rejuvenated membership, and B'nai Abraham merged with Mikro-Tifereth in 1972, creating a new congregation: B'nai Emet.
Dedicated in 1909, the red brick synagogue of Virginia's B'nai Abraham congregation was called the most beautiful religious building on the Iron Range. In the early twentieth century, the synagogue was the heart of Virginia's Jewish community. A declining congregation forced the synagogue to close its doors in the mid-1990s. However, community support and renovations have made B'nai Abraham a center of Virginia's cultural life once again.