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Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis

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.

Battle of Birch Coulee, September 2–3, 1862

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.

Battle of Shakopee, 1858

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.

Battle of Wood Lake, September 23, 1862

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.

Beargrease, John (1858–1910)

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.

Beltrami Island Project

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.

Beltrami, Giacomo Costantino (1779–1855)

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.

Bender, Charles Albert (1884–1954)

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.

Bet Shalom Congregation, Minnetonka

Bet Shalom Congregation has offered worship services affiliated with Reform Judaism since 1981. Originally based in St. Louis Park, the congregation moved to Hopkins in 1985 and to Minnetonka in 2003.

Beth El Synagogue, St. Louis Park

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, Mendota Heights

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.

Betty Crocker

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.

Bicycling Craze in Minnesota, 1890s

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.

Biederman, Charles Joseph (1906–2004)

Charles Joseph Biederman of Red Wing, an influential and non-conformist American Modernist painter, sculptor and art theorist, made a lasting mark in American and international art circles.

Black Suffrage in Minnesota, 1868

From their state's admission to the Union until the mid-1860s, a majority of Minnesotans advocated the abolition of slavery in the South. Black suffrage, however, did not enjoy the same support. Minnesota's black citizens paid taxes, fought in wars, and fostered their communities. But they could not vote, hold political office, or serve on juries. This continued until 1868 when an amendment to the state's constitution approved suffrage for all non-white men.

Bloomer, Samuel (1835–1917)

Samuel Bloomer served in Company B of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. He was the regiment's color sergeant, and after the war was deeply involved in civic life and the Grand Army of the Republic.

Bonga, George (c.1802–1874)

Fur trader and translator George Bonga was one of the first black men born in what later became Minnesota. His mother was Ojibwe, as were both of his wives. Through these relationships, Bonga was part of the mixed racial and cultural groups that connected trading companies and American Indians. He frequently guided white immigrants and traders through the region. Comfortable in many worlds, Bonga often worked as an advocate for the Ojibwe in their dealings with trading companies and the government.

Bongards' Creameries

Bongards' Creameries began as a small local creamery, helping farmers to process their milk. Since its beginning in 1908, it has grown to include satellite factories in Perham and Humboldt, Tennessee. It has also increased its range of products to include cheese and whey. In the twenty-first century, Bongards' Creameries is among the largest cheese-making plants in the world.

Boynton, Ruth Evelyn (1896 - 1977)

Ruth Boynton was a physician, researcher, and administrator who spent almost her entire career at the University of Minnesota (U of M). She worked in public health and student health services. At that time there were few women in any of these fields. She was Director of the University Student Health Service from 1936 to 1961. It was renamed the Boynton Health Service in her honor in 1975.

Brackett's Battalion

Recruited in the fall of 1861, Brackett's Battalion served longer than any other Minnesota unit during the Civil War. After campaigning in the Western Theater, the Battalion participated in the Northwestern Indian Expeditions of 1864 and 1865.

Bruns and Finkle Grain Elevator, Moorhead

In 1878, Red River Valley businessmen Henry A. Bruns and Henry G. Finkle built the first steam-powered grain elevator in the United States. In its first harvest season, the grain elevator handled almost 250,000 bushels of wheat from more than 5,000 wagons.

Buffington, Leroy Sunderland (1847–1931)

Sometimes known as the "Father of the Skyscraper," Leroy Sunderland Buffington was a prolific architect who had a lasting impact on the built environment of Minneapolis. In the 1880s, Buffington was nationally known. His architectural office employed more than thirty draftsmen, making it the largest in the region.

Burning of Red Wing Mills, March 4, 1883

Early generations of Minnesotans lived with the ever-present danger of fire. Many city histories tell of blazes that destroyed whole sections of their communities, but in most cases arson was not the cause. The Red Wing Mills complex, however, was almost certainly burned deliberately by an unknown arsonist.

B’nai Israel Synagogue, Rochester

Small Jewish communities arose at the turn of the twentieth century in several southern Minnesota market towns. In each, Jews gathered for religious purposes. But it was only in Rochester that a formal synagogue, B’nai Israel, was established. The founding of Mayo Clinic in 1905 created a need for a local congregation that could serve Jewish patients. After almost a century of holding worship services in former residences, B’nai Israel built its first synagogue building in 2008.

C. Walton Lillehei and the Origins of Open-Heart Surgery

Dr. C. Walton Lillehei was a world-famous professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota and an innovator in the field of open-heart surgery. He participated in the world's first successful open-heart operation, developed techniques and devices that made open-heart surgery more successful, and pioneered the use of pacemakers and artificial heart valves.

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