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This Day in Minnesota History

January 12, 1983

The first WeFest takes place in Detroit Lakes, featuring performers Alabama, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. The biggest country music and camping festival in the nation, it attracts tens of thousands of country music enthusiasts annually.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 12, 1984

Harmon Killebrew is the first Twin inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He blasted 573 home runs over the course of his career.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 12, 1988

Famed restaurateur Gim Joe Huie dies in Duluth. Born in Guangdong province, China, in 1892, Huie first came to the city in 1909 and made it his American home while returning to the land of his birth for extended stays until the Communist government established control there in the late 1940s. In 1951 he opened Joe Huie's Cafe, on Lake Avenue in Duluth, which for twenty-two years offered authentic Asian food at reasonable prices in a companionable atmosphere.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 12, 1997

Marcelina Anaya Vasquez, founder in 1970 of the Migrant Tutorial program, dies. Working in St. Paul's west side, Vasquez trained bilingual tutors to assist migrant children with their English reading and writing skills. The St. Paul school district had taken over her successful program in 1978.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 12, 2000

Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz dies in California. That summer, in St. Paul, his childhood home, 101 individually decorated, five-foot-tall statues of Snoopy are displayed in a celebration of Schulz's life. Later in the year, two auctions of Snoopy statues (including some from the celebration and some made specially for auction) are held with the announcement that the money raised will be used as memorial funds to create a bronze sculpture of Schulz characters for downtown St. Paul, as well as to benefit the College of Visual Arts in St.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1787

Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance. Authored by Thomas Jefferson, it set up the rules of government for the Northwest Territory of the United States, which included present-day Minnesota east of the Mississippi River. Slavery was outlawed, the land was to be surveyed into townships, and each township was to set aside land for a school. In addition, the ordinance stated that "the utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians, their land and property."

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1820

John H. Stevens is born in Brompton Falls, Quebec. A farmer, merchant, editor, and legislator, he would build the first house on the west bank of St. Anthony Falls in 1849.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1824

General Winfield Scott arrives to inspect Fort St. Anthony. Impressed with what he sees, he suggests that the fort be renamed for Colonel Josiah Snelling, supervisor of its construction.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1832

Ozawindib (Yellow Head), an Ojibwe guide, shows Henry Rowe Schoolcraft that Lake Itasca is indeed the source of the Mississippi River. Schoolcraft would name the lake from the Latin words Veritas Caput (True Head), using the last syllable of veritas and the first of caput . The Ojibwe name for the lake is Omushkos , meaning "Elk Lake."

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1833

Charles M. Loring is born in Portland, Maine. As Minneapolis park commissioner from 1883 to 1890, he would be a principal player in the development of the city's system of parks, public grounds, and children's playgrounds. He would be the driving force behind creation of Victory Memorial Drive; Loring Community School is named for him. Central Park would be renamed Loring Park, also in his honor.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1838

Captain Frederick Marryat, author of numerous sea tales, most memorably "Mr. Midshipman Easy," visits Fort Snelling while on a trip to investigate American democracy. The next year he publishes Diary in America, which contains several chapters on his Minnesota experiences.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1849

Minnesota Territory's first court session is held in Stillwater. Reportedly, only one man on the jury wore boots. All the rest had moccasins.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1849

The army officially occupies Fort Gaines, later renamed Fort Ripley. The post had been built to monitor the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk), recently transferred from Iowa, and to maintain peace between Ojibwe and Dakota bands.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1857

The state constitution is ratified by popular vote. In the accompanying gubernatorial election, Henry H. Sibley beats Alexander Ramsey by a slim margin of 240 votes out of 35,340 cast.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1857

Isanti County is created, named for a Dakota band that lived in the region in the seventeenth century.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1858

The survey for a road from St. Cloud to Breckenridge begins, following the East Plains trail of the Red River oxcarts. Today that road is Highway 52.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1858

Kanabec County is formed out of Pine County. Kanabec is an Ojibwe word for "snake," and the Snake River flows through the county.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1862

The Third Minnesota Regiment suffers one of the great embarrassments of the Civil War when it surrenders to a smaller Confederate force led by Nathan Bedford Forrest, who convinced the Minnesotans that his force was much larger than theirs. The men would be paroled and eventually return to action, fighting well under new officers.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1881

Faribault begins requiring dog licenses.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1882

The Northwestern Telephone exchange begins operating in Faribault, with forty customers.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1886

A four-mile logjam closes the St. Croix River at Taylors Falls. The jam is so spectacular that excursion trains travel from Duluth to see it.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1890

The steamer Sea Wing , carrying a large party and towing a barge, capsizes in a sudden storm on Lake Pepin. Twenty-five individuals manage to clamber back on the boat, but, a few hours later, the boat turns turtle again, throwing the survivors back in the water. By the time the boat and the barge are driven ashore, ninety-eight individuals had drowned. Surprisingly, no one on the barge was hurt.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1891

Floyd B. Olson is born in Minneapolis. He would be the first Farmer-Labor governor, serving from 1931 until his death on August 22, 1936. He is remembered for implementing New Deal policies and for his skilled negotiating during the 1933 Hormel strike in Austin and the 1934 teamsters' strike in Minneapolis.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1893

Celebrating Minnesota Day at the World's Fair in Chicago, twenty thousand of the state's residents view exhibits of the state's resources and hear the First Minnesota Regiment's band.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 13, 1893

The biggest fire in Minneapolis history burns twenty-three square blocks of the city and more than 150 buildings, leaving 1,500 people without shelter.

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