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.
The Father Louis Hennepin Bridge was built in 1855 to take advantage of the transport possibilities provided by the Mississippi River above St. Anthony Falls. It was the first bridge built to span the Mississippi river, and made crossing its length above the Falls much easier. The rushing rapids helped to create industry on the river and spurred a population boom that made Minneapolis the most populated city in Minnesota.
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.
Minnesota Territory experienced a boom period starting in 1855. Industry flourished region-wide and companies amassed incredible wealth. The Financial Panic of 1857 brought the good times to a halt and interrupted the growth of the fledgling state.
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.
In April 1965, the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers crested at record levels, flooding cities and towns across the Upper Midwest. The disaster was especially evident in Chaska and Carver, where the Minnesota River reached its highest-recorded local level on April 12. While much of the two communities was severely damaged, residents pulled together to save the new Carver County courthouse.
Fort Ripley was a nineteenth century army outpost located on the upper Mississippi River in north-central Minnesota. It was situated near government agencies for the Ho-Chunk and Ojibwe. By its very presence, however, the fort spurred immigration into the area by whites.
During the Civil War era, Fort Snelling served as an induction and training center for nearly twenty-five thousand soldiers. Many of them fought in the Civil War. Around fourteen hundred of the troops raised at the fort served in the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862. After that war, a concentration camp for Dakota non-combatants was established near the fort. Following the Civil War, the fort supported U.S. military expeditions against American Indians and the garrisoning of western posts.
The U.S. Army built Fort Snelling between 1820 and 1825 to protect American interests in the fur trade. It tasked the fort’s troops with deterring advances by the British in Canada, enforcing boundaries between the region’s American Indian nations, and preventing Euro-American immigrants from intruding on American Indian land. In these early years and until its temporary closure in 1858, Fort Snelling was a place where diverse people interacted and shaped the future state of Minnesota.
From 1615 until 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.
Clontarf, a railroad town in Swift County, was established by Bishop John Ireland of St. Paul in 1877 as a Catholic colony on the prairie. Early arrivals named Clontarf for the site of the eleventh-century victory of the Irish king Brian Boru over Viking invaders.
The Fournier House was designed by architect Lawrence A. Fournier and built in 1910. The house blends early Prairie School-style elements with a more dominant Arts and Crafts style. It is also one of the first homes built in North Minneapolis.
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.
The stone barn built by German immigrant Frank Schott in 1923 is a prime example of innovative Midwestern architecture. The barn, located just southwest of Chokio, stands out above the fields near the Stevens and Big Stone County lines. Many feel it serves as a reminder of the determination and skills of the immigrants who did their own building throughout the Midwest. Though the barn’s wooden roof collapsed in 1993, its stone walls remain standing in the early twenty-first century.
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.