How Women Have Shaped the State

Weaving the Web of Minnesota Society

Expert Essay: Rhoda R. Gilman, a founding member of Women Historians of the Midwest and a former candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, considers the influence of women in Minnesota: the Willmar 8, the Schubert Club, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, and much more.

West Hotel, Minneapolis

In 1884, the young city of Minneapolis got its first world-class hotel, the West Hotel. It was a match for the growing aspirations of the city, which until then had been served primarily by the Nicollet House, founded in 1857, before Minnesota was a state.

Western Appeal

The Western Appeal was one of the most successful African American newspapers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the height of its popularity, it was published in six separate editions in cities across the United States, including St. Paul.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls (1867–1957)

Laura Ingalls Wilder was sixty-five when she published Little House in the Big Woods, a novel for young readers inspired by her childhood in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Her book, and the others that followed, made her an icon of children's literature. The Little House series offered generations of children a glimpse into life on the nineteenth-century American prairie and immortalized a sod house on the banks of Minnesota's Plum Creek.

Wildwood Amusement Park

On the shores of White Bear Lake, Wildwood Amusement Park offered a dance pavilion, swimming, fishing, boating, picnic areas, amusement park rides, and carnival games. For only the cost of the streetcar fare, Twin Cities' residents could spend summer days at this park owned and operated by the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Corporation.

Wilkin, Alexander (1819–1864)

Alexander Wilkin was a St. Paul lawyer and businessman who served as secretary of Minnesota Territory. He was the highest ranking officer from Minnesota killed during the Civil War.

Wilkins, Roy (1901–1981)

Roy Wilkins, who spent his formative years in the Twin Cities, led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1949 to 1977. During those years, the NAACP helped achieve the greatest civil rights advancements in U.S. history. Wilkins favored new laws and legal challenges as the best ways for blacks to gain civil rights.

Winona Masonic Temple

Built in 1909, the Winona Masonic Temple with its large public ballroom and other meeting rooms was an important center of social and civic activity in the city. It continues to serve Winona in the twenty-first century.

Wonderland Amusement Park

Only open for seven seasons, Wonderland Amusement Park brought thrills and sights from Coney Island to Minneapolis. With a roller coaster, fun house, shoot-the-chutes, miniature railroads for kids, a 120-foot lighted tower, and a display of premature babies in incubators, Wonderland drew crowds from all over Minnesota.

WPA Federal Writers' Project in Minnesota, 1935–1943

During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration created the Federal Writers' Project to employ writers who could not find work. These writers created guidebooks and ethnic history resources that are still used today.

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