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.
The product of multiple mergers between some of the Minneapolis area's oldest congregations, B'nai Emet Synagogue held worship services at its St. Louis Park location from 1972 until 2011. The synagogue enjoyed a moment in the spotlight as a shooting location for a 2009 Coen Brothers film before joining with Minnetonka's Adath Jeshurun Congregation in 2011.
Bagone-giizhig, known in English as Hole-in-the-Day the Younger, was a charismatic and influential leader who played a key role in relations between the Ojibwe and the U.S. government in Minnesota. Yet he won as many enemies as friends due to his actions during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and his claim to be the leader of all Ojibwe. In 1868, Bagone-giizhig was assassinated by a group of other Ojibwe from Leech Lake. For many years the real reason for this killing remained a mystery.
When Jack Baker and Michael McConnell became the first same-sex couple in the United States to apply for a marriage license, in 1970, Hennepin County clerk Gerald R. Nelson rejected their application. They then sued Nelson, claiming a constitutional right to marry in what would become a landmark Supreme Court Case.
Often, the first structure built by Finnish immigrants to Minnesota was a sauna. That was the case with the Barberg-Selvälä-Salmonson sauna in Cokato—the oldest savusauna, or smoke sauna, still existing in Minnesota and likely in the United States.
Roughly ten thousand years ago, raging glacial meltwaters created the broad valley of the Upper Mississippi River that we know today. They also helped form one of the river’s most famous and significant landmarks: Barn Bluff.
The Basilica of Saint Mary was first known as the Pro-Cathedral of Minneapolis. It cost one million dollars to build and held its first Mass in 1914. In 1926, the Catholic Church made it the first basilica in the United States.
The Battle of Birch Coulee, fought between September 2 and 3, 1862, was the worst defeat the United States suffered and the Dakotas' most successful engagement during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Over thirty hours, approximately two hundred Dakota soldiers pinned down a Union force of 150 newly recruited U.S. volunteers, militia, and civilians from the area, holding them until Henry Sibley's main army arrived.
The last in a long series of violent conflicts between Dakota and Ojibwe people took place on the banks of the Minnesota River north of the village of the Dakota leader Shakpedan (Little Six) on May 27, 1858. Dozens of Ojibwe and Dakota warriors engaged in fighting that claimed lives on both sides but produced no clear victor.
On September 23, 1862, United States troops, led by Colonel Henry Sibley, defeated Taoyateduta (Little Crow IV)'s Dakota force at the Battle of Wood Lake. The battle marked the end of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
The US Congress ordered the beginning of mail service from Superior to Grand Portage, Minnesota, in 1855, but service was spotty. John Beargrease and his brothers came to the rescue. They began covering a regular mail route between Two Harbors and Grand Marais in 1879.
The Beltrami Island Project was a pioneering land program of the New Deal enacted across hundreds of thousands of acres in northern Minnesota. Federal and state governments worked side by side to move residents off of poor farmland as well as to restore forest across areas of the cutover region.
Born in 1779 in the Lombardy region of Italy, Giacomo Costantino Beltrami achieved fame and fortune at a young age. When political pressure and personal loss spurred him to leave home, he set out to explore the world. Today he is best known for an account of his travels through present-day Minnesota, and for his claim to have found the source of the Mississippi River.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame credits Charles Albert Bender with inventing the slider, a curveball with extra speed. Like his patented pitch, Bender's life course was a circuitous one, beginning on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.
Elmer Benson was elected in 1936 as Minnesota’s second Farmer-Labor Party governor with over 58 percent of the vote. He was defeated only two years later by an even larger margin. An outspoken champion of Minnesota’s workers and family farmers, Benson lacked the political gifts of his charismatic predecessor, Floyd B. Olson. However, many of his proposals—at first considered radical—became law in the decades that followed.
Minnesota Congressman John T. Bernard fought throughout his life for working people against strong opposition. His outspoken and uncompromising views led him, on his second day in office, to cast the single “no” vote in Congress against the Spanish arms embargo. Bernard’s vote proved farsighted as the Spanish Civil War became, in many ways, a “dress rehearsal” for World War II.
Founded in 1922, Beth El was the last synagogue to be formed on the North Side of Minneapolis. It was the only one to affiliate with Judaism's Conservative movement. In the 1960s, Beth El, like other North Side synagogues (all of them Orthodox), moved to St. Louis Park.
Beth Jacob Congregation is a Conservative synagogue located in Mendota Heights. It was formed in 1985 when Sons of Jacob, St. Paul's second-oldest synagogue, merged with a group of young worshipers who came together in 1984.
For many Americans, the name Betty Crocker evokes an image of domestic perfection. From the often-reissued Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook to the iconic red spoon logo that bears her signature, Betty Crocker is one of the most recognized names in cooking. It comes as a surprise to some that “America’s First Lady of Food” is, in fact, fictional.
In the 1890s, after bicycles became more comfortable and affordable, bicycling swept the nation, Minnesota included. Minnesotans who embraced bicycling at this time helped lay the groundwork for a number of lasting changes in American society, from shorter skirts to better roads.