The city of Waconia, in Carver County, Minnesota, has a long and rich history. Located just thirty miles southwest of the Twin Cities on the south shore of Lake Waconia, it has long been a tourist destination.
During the extended Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, many Minnesotans prepared for the terrifying possibility of nuclear war by participating in a variety of civil defense efforts. The civil defense strategies employed in Minnesota changed significantly as the perceived military threat evolved.
On the night of July 19, 1967, racial tension in North Minneapolis erupted along Plymouth Avenue in a series of acts of arson, assaults, and vandalism. The violence, which lasted for three nights, is often linked with other race-related demonstrations in cities across the nation during 1967’s “long hot summer.”
In 1890, the Danish American community in Clarks Grove established one of the first cooperative creameries in Minnesota. It became a model for the Minnesota dairy industry. Ten years later, there were more than 550 cooperative creameries in the state.
Horace W. S. Cleveland was a pioneer landscape architect. His greatest achievement was designing a system of parks and parkways in Minneapolis. He advocated preserving spaces for parks in the rapidly growing cities of the American West. Cleveland was especially influential in preserving the banks of the Mississippi River gorge in St. Paul and Minneapolis as parkland.
The worst natural disaster in Minnesota history—over 450 dead, fifteen hundred square miles consumed, towns and villages burned flat—unfolded at a frightening pace, lasting less than fifteen hours from beginning to end. The fire began around midday on Saturday, October 12, 1918. By 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, all was over but the smoldering, the suffering, and the recovery.
St. Cloud was an ideal place to settle if you were a quarryman looking to make a living in the 1880s. The area was rich with a multitude of colors of granite. All that was needed was the right skill set. It was an opportunity just waiting for the likes of the experienced, Scottish-born quarryman Henry N. Alexander who at age nine began learning the craft from his stonemason father near Aberdeen, Scotland. Henry came to the United States in 1880 and established a family granite dynasty that today is the largest granite producing company in the United States.
The fate of the Union army hung in the balance on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Confederate soldiers punched a hole in its defenses and only the men of the First Minnesota Infantry, led by Colonel William Colvill, stood in their way.
St. Paul's Commerce Building was originally built to house the Commercial Club of St. Paul and the offices of the St. Paul Association of Commerce. Years later, it reflects the economic strength and civic influence of St. Paul's business organizations at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Commerce Building is typical of buildings designed to house commercial and civic groups as well as private tenants.
The history of Coney Island as a resort begins when Josephine Hassenstab sold the 31.85-acre island to Lambert Naegele in March, 1884, for $5,200. While Waconia already had several hotels such as the North Star, Lake House, and the Sherman House, the Coney Island Hotel and its resort became the most popular of all of Waconia's hotels and contributed to the town's status as a favorite summer resort.
Chester Adgate Congdon accrued a fortune working as a lawyer for the Oliver Mining Company, and through investments in the Mesabi Iron Range. He also served as a Minnesota State Representative from 1909 to 1913.
Marvel Cooke was a pioneering African American female journalist and political activist. Cooke's groundbreaking career was spent in a world where she was often the only female African American. Talking about her work for the white-owned newspaper the Compass, she told biographer Kay Mills in 1988, ''there were no black workers there and no women."
Between 1913 and 1914 the Coon Rapids hydroelectric dam was constructed with the intent to provide power to Anoka County. The dam was shut down in 1966 after becoming too expensive to operate. It later became part of Minnesota’s environmental control program.
In June 1922, the Minneapolis Public Library book wagon made its first trip from Minneapolis to Excelsior, a small village on Lake Minnetonka. Riding aboard the book wagon was Gratia Countryman, the library system's visionary director.
The Itasca forest during the late nineteenth century contained towering pines and numerous lakes. Individuals like surveyor Jacob Brower became captivated by the region and the wildlife that inhabited it. They recognized that the economic potential of northern Minnesota would change its landscape. Their effort to preserve Lake Itasca led them to contend with the lumber industry, public interests, and the politics that weaved between them.
In 1910 there were over sixty orphanages and homes for the aged operated by and for African Americans in the United States. Minnesota had one of them: St. Paul's Crispus Attucks Home. The home was named for the African American patriot killed in the Boston Massacre of 1770. It served the community for six decades, beginning in 1906 during the Jim Crow era and ending in 1966 at the peak of the civil rights movement.
Crown College of Minnesota is unique in being the only bible college in Minnesota. The mission of this type of college is to provide a biblically based education for Christian leadership. Teaching is focused on training lay people for Christian service. Crown is one of only four colleges in the United States affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.
The Cuyuna Iron Range is a former North American iron-mining district about ninety miles west of Duluth in central Minnesota. Iron mining in the district, the furthest south and west of Minnesota’s iron ranges, began in 1907. During World War I and World War II, the district mined manganese-rich iron ores to harden the steel used in wartime production. After mining peaked in 1953, the district began to focus on non-iron-mining activities in order to remain economically viable.
Sired by a champion pacer and born in 1896, Dan Patch was bred to be a racehorse. At first glance, though, his chances didn't look too good. He had long legs, knobby knees, and worst of all, a sweet disposition—not considered an asset in the hypercompetitive world of harness racing.
Part of a Danish settlement near Tyler, the Danebod church and folk school have been a center of Danish-American life for over a century. Danebod is a Danish word meaning "one who mends or saves the Danes." The Danebod community is home to programs that preserve, teach, and celebrate Danish-American culture on the Minnesota prairie.
Dayton’s began as a single store at Seventh Street and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis in 1902. When the last Dayton family member retired from leadership in 1983, the company had stores nationwide and profits of over $240 million. It became Target Corporation in 2000.
While working at Minneapolis's Washburn mills in the late 1870s, William de la Barre became an internationally known hydroelectricity expert and a key player in the development of water power at St. Anthony Falls.