This Day in Minnesota History

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Today's Date: August 21

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The Reverend William T. Boutwell leaves La Pointe, Wisconsin, to begin his mission to the Pillager Ojibwe at Leech Lake.


A group of abolitionists in Minneapolis persuade Judge Charles E. Vanderburgh to issue a writ of habeas corpus or an order to bring to court Eliza Winston, a slave of a visiting southern family. Vanderburgh then declares her to be free, as she is living in a free state. Her freedom provides a boost to the antislavery cause at the same time that it discourages Southerners from traveling to Minnesota, much to the dismay of the state's tourism industry.


A tornado sweeps through Dodge County, killing five, and then lands in Rochester, killing thirty-one. Mother Alfred Moes and the Sisters of St. Francis convert their school into an emergency hospital, with Dr. William Mayo supervising. Realizing the need for a permanent hospital in the city, Moes establishes St. Mary's Hospital on October 1, 1889. This facility would evolve into the Mayo Clinic.


A tornado strikes the city of Rochester and Olmstead County, killing thirty-eight people in fifteen minutes. The force of the winds is enough to drive a picket through a spruce tree and to pick up boxcars full of flour and then gently set them back down on the track.


The Beatles perform at Metropolitan Stadium to an estimated crowd of 4,000 teenagers, mostly girls, turning the event into what one writer described as "Shrieksville, U.S.A." With the continued popularity of Beatles's recordings long after their breakup in 1970, the irony of early panning is shown in sharp relief by a Pioneer Press comment on the performance: "The Twin Cities was visited Saturday by some strange citizens from another world. They wore long hair and wide grins and were easily identified as Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. They were the Beatles--alleged musicians."


Robert Blaeser, co-founder of the Native American Bar Association, is sworn in as the Twin Cities' first judge of American Indian descent.