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This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1893

Workers nail the final spike in the 818 miles of track stretching from Pacific Junction, Montana, to Everett, Washington, completing the Great Northern Railroad and connecting St. Paul to the Pacific Ocean.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1894

A forest fire kills 413 people and burns 160,000 acres of timberland around Hinckley. Railroad engineer James Root saves more than 100 people by loading them onto train cars and driving through the blaze. The devastation of this fire convinces many of the importance of forest conservation.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1896

Three-quarters of Red Lake Indian Reservation land--the region north and east of Thirteen Towns (Badger, Brandsvold, Chester, Columbia, Eden, Fosston, Hill River, King, Knute, Lessor, Queen, Rosebud, and Sletten) in Polk County--is opened to white settlement.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1899

The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions , authored by Thorstein Veblen, is published. A graduate of Carleton College, Veblen earns recognition as a dynamic economist and social theorist, and his book remains influential today.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1908

At the urging of Dr. Richard O. Beard, the Board of Regents for the University of Minnesota authorizes a nursing curriculum, the first college-associated school of nursing in the country. The school opens March 1, 1909, with Bertha Erdmann as director.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1918

Residents of Hibbing begin moving its buildings so that the iron ore deposit located beneath the town can be mined.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1921

Patrick Des Jarlait is born on the Red Lake Reservation. He would paint colorful, stylized images of Ojibwe traditional life.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1922

A nationwide walkout by railroad shop craft and other employees includes 8,000 workers in the Twin Cities. The strike ends in defeat for the workers, with scab labor permanently replacing many of them, but the new Farmer-Labor Party's assistance during the strike encourages the workers' support of the party in later elections, making the Farmer-Labor Party, rather than the Democratic Party, the principal opposition party in Minnesota for many years.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1923

Twin City Savings and Loan Association is chartered, a $7 million institution that would assist thousands of area families in becoming homeowners.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1924

Six hundred women attend a Women's Safe Driver Automobile School at the YWCA, sponsored by the St. Paul Pioneer Press , the St. Paul Association Safety Division, and the Dunwoody Institute.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1926

Sauk Centre's Sinclair Lewis declines the Pulitzer Prize for the novel Arrowsmith , saying that awards inhibit creativity and make writers lazy. He would, however, feel differently a few years later.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1927

Harper and Brothers publishes the first English edition of Ole E. Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth , a novel of Norwegian settlement on the Great Plains. Rolvaag, a professor at St. Olaf College, wrote the original text in Norwegian.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1929

The first celebration of Kolacky Day in Montgomery occurs. A kolacky is a Czechoslovakian pastry filled with fruit. At first the festival was only a day long, but in 1975 the celebration was scheduled for late July and extended into Kolacky Days, complete with music, dancing, art displays, and a parade.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1931

The Interstate Bridge in Stillwater opens, replacing a wooden one built in 1876.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1933

Prompted by Governor Floyd B. Olson, the legislature passes an emergency law stopping farm foreclosure sales. The Great Depression and the dust bowl had hurt farmers throughout the nation, and they had responded to foreclosures by organizing the Farmers' Holiday, which attempted to stop the sale of farm products until prices rose. Willmar's John Bosch, who revered the nonviolent ideas of Mohandas Gandhi, led the state's Farmers' Holiday Movement.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1933

Wendell R. Anderson is born in St. Paul. A member of the silver medal-winning 1956 U.S. Olympic ice hockey team, a lawyer, and a former legislator (in both House and Senate), he would serve as governor from 1971 to 1976. After helping to establish a firmer control on state finances through the "Minnesota Miracle" fiscal reforms of 1971, Anderson would end his career as an elected official by appointing himself to fill Walter F. Mondale's U.S. Senate seat following Mondale's election as vice president of the United States in November 1976.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1941

Workers begin dismantling the Duluth and Northeastern Railroad, the last logging line to operate in Minnesota.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1941

Against a background of war in Europe and bitter pro- and anti-union activity in the Twin Cities, eighteen members of the Socialist Workers Party are found guilty in Minneapolis on a count of conspiring to undermine the loyalty of U.S. military forces and of publishing material advocating the overthrow of the government. Vincent R. Dunne, a leader in Teamsters Local 544, and the other defendants are, however, found not guilty on a count of seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government by force. Five more defendants, also party members, are acquitted on both counts.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1946

Author Tim O'Brien is born in Austin. His novel of the Vietnam War, Going After Cacciato, would win the National Book Award in 1979.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1969

The Coast Guard closes Split Rock Lighthouse after fifty-nine years of service. It becomes a state park the following year.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1974

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota opens. The facility treats injured birds of prey and helps to rehabilitate them for release into the wild.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1976

The first issue of the Circle newsletter is published by the Minneapolis American Indian Center. Containing stories about the lives and values of American Indians in the metro area, the newsletter would become a newspaper in March 1980 with a grant from the Dayton Hudson Foundation.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1976

St. Paul's Frank Boyd Park is dedicated to a "fighter for his class, his race, and his union." Born in Kansas, Boyd moved to Minnesota in 1904 and joined the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union in 1925, rising to secretary-treasurer in the organization. Active in DFL politics, he was one of the first two African Americans to cast votes in the Electoral College, in 1944. He died on May 2, 1962.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1979

Adventurer Gerry Spiess departs from Chesapeake Bay in his ten-foot sailboat Yankee Girl , built in his White Bear Lake garage in 1977. After a solo voyage across the Atlantic, Spiess arrives in Falmouth, England, on July 24, 1979.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 1, 1982

Clement Haupers dies in St. Paul, in the same Ramsey Hill house in which he was born in 1900. Known for developing the Minnesota State Fair art show into a major exhibition of local work, he also led the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project in Minnesota. Throughout his career, Haupers insisted that artists should support themselves without government grants. In this vein, when asked to give art students a lecture on how to survive financially, Haupers's response was "Sure, that'll be $150."

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