On August 21, 1860, African American Eliza Winston was freed from her Mississippi slaveholder in a Minneapolis court. After being granted legal freedom, however, Winston was met with white mob violence and had to leave the area, perhaps fleeing to Canada. The event showed that although slavery was illegal in Minnesota, many white Minnesotans supported the practice when it economically benefited them.
In 1871 Minneapolis built the first public waterworks in Minnesota to pump water from the Mississippi River. The city's attempts to provide clean, safe water led to decades of efforts to improve and expand the waterworks.
The botched execution of William Williams was the last in Minnesota. After newspapers broke state law to report on the event, public opinion turned firmly against the death penalty, and it was repealed in 1911.
The Farmers' Alliance in Minnesota thrived from 1886 to 1892. During this time, the organization achieved the most progress toward its political goals in the state. These included greater regulation of the railroad industry as it impacted the wheat market, elimination of irregularities in the grading of wheat, and minimization or elimination of the middleman in the wheat trade.
The Farmers' Holiday Association was formed in 1932. The Midwestern organization successfully fought against farm foreclosures with novel strategies like penny auctions, but unsuccessfully lobbied Congress for a federal system that would pay farmers for their crops based on the cost of production.
In the 1880s, Minnesota farmers saw the need for education but resisted "book farming," or learning how to farm by reading instructional text. Farmers' institutes, lecture series that traveled to rural communities and taught practical farming skills, were popular alternatives in the 1880s through the 1920s.
One of the most colorful characters on the scene in early twentieth century Minnesota was Wilford Hamilton "Captain Billy" Fawcett. He was editor and publisher of a bawdy men's humor magazine called Captain Billy's Whiz Bang. He was also a veteran of two wars, an Olympic athlete, a world traveler, a big-game hunter, and a resort owner.
When the Fergus Falls State Hospital opened its doors on July 29, 1890, it became the first state institution in northern Minnesota for patients considered insane. The hospital had a sprawling campus and large stately buildings, built according to the influential asylum plan developed by Philadelphia physician Thomas Kirkbride in the 1850s.
The Fifth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment's Civil War service included participation in thirteen campaigns, five sieges and thirty-four battles, including duty on Minnesota's frontier during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. They were the last of the state's regiments to form in response to President Lincoln's first call for troops.
The First Battery of Minnesota Light Artillery played a critical role in the first major battle of the Civil War. The performance of its officers and men at Shiloh and elsewhere in the Western Theater gave rise to an enviable service record and added to the young state's prestige.
The First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment holds a special place in the history of Minnesota. It was the first body of troops raised by the state for Civil War service, and it was among first regiments of any state offered for national service.
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald is a cultural icon of the Roaring Twenties and Jazz Age. His work, although largely underappreciated during his lifetime, reflects the thoughts and feelings of his generation.
From 1615–1821, Lake Superior was known as "the Great Crossroads" of the western fur trade. The north shore of the lake harbored the major water routes to the western interior of North America. The British inherited the Lake Superior region from the French after the French and Indian War. In the later decades of the Eighteenth Century, the British North West Company controlled the Lake Superior Fur Trade. The North West Company was founded in 1779 by Scottish businessmen in Montreal.
Since 1929, the Foshay Tower has been a vital part of the Minneapolis skyline. When it was built, the thirty-two-story tower was the tallest building between Chicago and the West Coast. In the 1970s and 1980s, much taller skyscrapers were built, but the attractive Foshay Tower remained a crowning glory of Minnesota architecture.
In 1932, singer Bing Crosby had a major hit with his recording of E. Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney's song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Its lyrics could have been the story of Wilbur B. Foshay: "Once I built a tower up to the sun, brick and rivet and lime/ Once I built a tower, now it's done/ Brother, can you spare a dime?" Foshay built a fortune, built a tower in Minneapolis—and then lost it all in the stock market crash of 1929.
Artist Alexis Jean Fournier is well known in Minnesota for his atmospheric paintings of Minneapolis and St. Paul landscapes. Fournier is also renowned beyond Minnesota as an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement.
The Fourth Regiment of Minnesota Infantry witnessed much of the action in the Civil War's Western Theater. They were part of minor skirmishes as well as major battles, expeditions and campaigns. They were fortunate to avoid heavy casualties in some large battles they were in, but they proved themselves good fighters. The officers and men saw Vicksburg surrendered. They were in Battles around Chattanooga. They marched with Sherman to the sea and witnessed the surrender of a major Confederate Army. Years after the war, the Fourth served as the subject for a famous artist's painting.
When completed in 1867, the Spangenberg house was surrounded by an eighty-acre dairy farm, well outside the St. Paul city limits. Today, the house is surrounded not by fields and barns but by the paved streets and ample houses of the Highland Park neighborhood.
Expert Essay: Associate professor of history Michael J. Lansing, published in Environmental History as well as Ethics, Place, and Environment, highlights the many ways people have made use of Minnesota's flora and fauna over time and reviews the state's more recent efforts at conservation.
Wanda Gág (rhymes with "cog") was determined to be an artist, and ultimately she triumphed. Her talent steered her through family hardship and hesitant early artistic efforts until she created Millions of Cats, her beloved 1928 children's book. It has never been out of print.
Ghost towns convey a certain image, thanks to popular culture. Despite this portrayal, ghost towns are simply former towns, places settled and then abandoned for a variety of reasons. Every state in the United States has them and they are part of the history of a region, including Carver County.
The U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 was a turning point in Minnesota history. Joseph Godfrey, an escaped slave, joined the Dakota in their fight against white settlers that summer and fall. He was one of only two African Americans to do so.