Cass and Chisago Counties are created. Cass is named for Lewis Cass, governor of Michigan Territory, who explored the upper Mississippi in 1820 and negotiated several Indian treaties. Chisago is named for the lake, a contraction of the Ojibwe name for the lake, Ke-chi-sago, meaning "large and lovely."
At the Washington Navy Yard, Susan L. Mann christens the steam frigate Minnesota with a bottle of Minnesota water. On April 6 of the previous year, Congress had authorized construction of this ship and, coincidentally, the frigate Merrimac , which, rebuilt as a Confederate ironclad and renamed the Virginia, would attack the Minnesota during the Civil War.
The territorial legislature incorporates the St. Peter Company, which is authorized to engage in milling and waterpower work and to develop real estate. The company's stockholders hope to move the state capital to St. Peter, but their efforts are thwarted (see February 27). James J. Hill would purchase the company's charter in 1901, hoping that its real estate powers would prove useful to the Great Northern Railway.
Minneapolis is approved for a town government by the territorial legislature. It would become a city ten years later. The legislature also forms three counties: Lake County, named for Lake Superior; McLeod County, named for Martin McLeod, a fur trader and member of the territorial legislature; and Pine County, named for the extensive pine forests of the region or perhaps for the Pine River and Pine Lakes.
The first issue of Ignatius Donnelly's newspaper, the Emigrant Aid Journal , is published in Philadelphia. This publication encourages recent immigrants to move to Nininger, a town Donnelly had founded on the Mississippi River downstream from St. Paul. Although 1,000 people live there at its peak, the town would eventually fail. Incidentally, the editor of the Emigrant Aid Journal is A. W. MacDonald, who would later edit Scientific American .
Wendelin Grimm moves to Carver County. Grimm begins experimenting with what he called Ewiger Klee, or "everlasting clover," in the next year, developing a winter-hardy strain of alfalfa. Fed to cows, this alfalfa would be critical to the dairy boom in the Upper Midwest. Local schoolteacher Arthur Lyman describes Grimm alfalfa in a speech to the State Agricultural Society on January 12, 1904; with this publicity it soon becomes a major American crop and the leading variety of alfalfa until the 1940s. A monument to Grimm was erected on his old farm in Laketown Township in 1924.
The steamboat Anson Northup begins working on the Red River. In an effort to cash in on the lucrative Red River valley trade and to improve connections with Fort Garry (now Winnipeg), St. Paul businessmen offered a $2,000 prize to the first boat to deliver a cargo to Fort Garry. Mr. Anson Northup traveled with his Mississippi steamer North Star up the Crow Wing River as far as possible. Then he dissembled the 90-by-24-foot boat and began the overland trip with sixty-four horses and a crew of sixty men.
Black residents of Minnesota hold a grand convention in St. Paul's Ingersoll Hall "to celebrate the Emancipation of 4,000,000 slaves, and to express...gratitude for the bestowal of the elective franchise to the colored people of this State."
On an unusually balmy day, the steamer Aunt Betsy carries a load of passengers from St. Paul to Fort Snelling. Crowds line the Jackson Street landing, the bluffs, and the Wabasha Street Bridge to watch, and the passengers carry palm-leaf fans to stave off the heat.
An act of Congress places Fort Ripley Military Reservation in the public domain, making the land available for settlement. The fort, located on the Mississippi River below the mouth of the Crow Wing River, had been established in 1849 and was abandoned by the army in 1878.
The first state capitol building burns. Three hundred people escape safely, but the building, including the law library, is a total loss. Luckily, most of the Minnesota Historical Society's artifacts are rescued from the basement. A second capitol is built on the same site, a square block bounded by Wabasha, Cedar, Exchange, and Tenth Streets, but is later replaced by the present capitol.
St. Paul's first Winter Carnival opens, hosting competitions in curling, skating, and ice polo and boasting the first ice palace in the United States. Built in Central Park, the palace is 140 feet long, 120 feet wide, and 100 feet high. The Winter Carnival suggests that those Minnesotans who do not enjoy complaining about their winter may actually enjoy the season.
The Northwestern Publishing Company is incorporated in St. Paul as a general job order printing office, with the subsidiary enterprise of publishing the Western Appeal (which would became The Appeal in 1889), a weekly African American newspaper that had first appeared in 1885. Editor John Quincy Adams later calls it "A National Afro-American Newspaper" and intends it to be a bold and active paper printing articles that an oppressed people want to read.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.