Split Rock Lighthouse opened in the summer of 1910 to guide bulk ore ships sailing near Lake Superior's rocky coast. By 1940, its picturesque North Shore setting had made it one of the most visited lighthouses in the United States.
On October 5, 1869, water seeped and then gushed into a tunnel underneath St. Anthony Falls creating an enormous whirlpool. The falls were nearly destroyed. It was years before the area was fully stabilized and the falls were again safe from collapse.
St. Joseph’s Academy traces its origins to 1851, when the first Sisters of St. Joseph opened a school for girls in a log cabin on the banks of the Mississippi. One hundred and twenty years later, the final St. Joseph’s Academy High School closed its doors. Today, its buildings on Marshall and Western Avenues are on the National Register of Historic Places and still in use.
The St. Olaf Christmas Festival is an annual music celebration that began in 1912 and has been performed regularly since then by St. Olaf College students. Widely broadcast and telecast, it is regarded as one of the premier choral events in the world.
At its centennial in 2012, the St. Paul Curling Club was the largest curling club in the United States, with over 1200 members. Club members have competed in national and international competitions, including the Olympics. Despite ebb and flow in its popularity over the years, the club has long been a place to play and promote the sport of curling in the Twin Cities.
When Czech and Slovak immigrants moved to Minnesota in the late nineteenth century, they carried with them the idea of a Sokol—a social, cultural, and gymnastics society that combined physical and mental education. The St. Paul Sokol has served as a community center for more than one hundred years.
The St Paul Union Depot Company was incorporated in 1879 by the railroads serving St. Paul. The company was created for the purpose of building and operating a single, jointly owned railroad passenger terminal. The first depot opened in 1881. It was destroyed by fire in 1884 and then rebuilt. The depot received an addition in a 1900-1901 remodeling project.
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.
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.
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.