When St. Paul's High Bridge opened in 1889, only one bridge in the United States surpassed it in height and length. Built of wrought iron and designed for wagons, the High Bridge served mainly cars and trucks. It was demolished in 1985 after ninety-six years of service.
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.
Founded in 1888, St. Peter Claver Church was the first African American Catholic Church in Minnesota. The parish was created by St. Paul’s African American Catholic community and an Archbishop who vowed to “blot out the color line.”
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.
Susie Williamson Stageberg is known as the "Mother of the Farmer-Labor Party." The Red Wing activist spent a lifetime fighting for unpopular political and social causes. She strongly opposed the merger of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor Parties in the 1940s.
During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Minnesota faced public health issues such as poor sanitation and disease epidemics. To address these issues, Minnesota established a state board of health in 1872. It was the third such board in the United States.
Minnesota's first experiment in juvenile justice, the State Reform School, operated in St. Paul from 1868 to 1891. During that time, over 1250 inmates, almost all of them boys, were committed to the institution, mostly for petty crimes and "incorrigibility." The school moved to a new facility in Red Wing in 1891.
Built over the course of twenty-two months in 1882 and 1883, the Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is a feat of engineering and a reminder of the importance of rail traffic in the late nineteenth century.
Strauss Ice Skates were made by hand at Strauss Skate Shop in St. Paul for almost 100 years. They were popular with professional and amateur skaters in the United States and other countries because of their consistent high quality, which was achieved through a secret hardening process.
Two young men from Cleveland, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, created the character of Superman in the 1930s. But it was Curt Swan, a Minnesota artist, who defined Superman's look in comic books of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
By the 1970s, Red Wing's famed Main Street scarcely resembled its 1870s glory days. But Red Wing was revitalized in the following decades by the vision and initiative of the Red Wing Shoe Company's William D. Sweasy.
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.
Jane Grey Swisshelm only lived in Minnesota for six years, but during that time she left a lasting mark on the state. While in St. Cloud, she founded a newspaper which she used to advocate for women's rights, argue for the abolition of slavery, build up the Republican Party, challenge the authority of the Democratic machine there, and promote violence against the Dakota.
In 1904, Red Wing became home to T.B. Sheldon Memorial Auditorium, one of the first municipal theaters in the United States. It has shown live performances or movies for more than a century, in spite of financial trouble, lawsuits, and fluctuations in audience interest.
Tatankamani (Walking Buffalo) was a leader of the Mdewakanton Dakota in the upper Mississippi Valley. White settlers who met him as they advanced into the region in the early nineteenth century came to know him and his village as Red Wing.
Two of Duluth's oldest Jewish congregations—Temple Emanuel and Tifereth Israel—had little in common after they were founded in the 1890s. While Temple Emanuel was affiliated with Reform Judaism, Tifereth Israel conducted worship services in the Orthodox tradition. Tifereth Israel's 1945 shift to Conservative Judaism, however, coupled with the decline of Duluth's Jewish population, led the two congregations to unite in 1969 as Temple Israel.
Minneapolis's oldest synagogue, Temple Israel (originally named Shaarai Tov), was founded in 1878. By 2012, over two thousand member families belonged to the temple, making it one of the largest Jewish congregations in the United States.
By 1910, some of St. Paul's Eastern European Jews had moved from their original immigrant neighborhoods in Lowertown and the West Side to the Cathedral Hill district. A group of Orthodox men met that year to discuss creating a new congregation there. It would conserve traditional Jewish practices, but modernize them to appeal to the next generation.
By the summer of 1862, it was clear that the Civil War would not be over quickly. In July and August, President Lincoln called for several hundred thousand additional men to enlist for the Union cause. In response, the Tenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment formed between August and November of that year.
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.
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.
An unusually close election in 1962 led to a recount in the race between Minnesota Governor Elmer L. Andersen and his challenger, Lieutenant Governor Karl F. Rolvaag. The outcome remained in doubt for more than four months as thousands of ballots were recounted all across the state.
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 1870's.
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.