Nelson, Rensselaer (1826–1904)

From statehood in May 1858 until May 1896, Minnesota had one resident federal district court judge. His name was Rensselaer Russell Nelson.

Gág, Anton (1858–1908)

Anton Gág, the father of Wanda Gág, carved out a career as a painter of portraits, landscapes, and historical subjects. He also decorated homes, ran a photography studio, and designed murals for churches and other buildings. The Minnesota State Capitol displayed his most famous painting, “The Attack on New Ulm during the Sioux Outbreak, Aug. 19-23, 1862,” from 1923 to 2014.

Densford, Katharine J. (1890–1978)

Katharine Densford was a pragmatic leader of American nursing as it gained political and academic recognition in the 1940s and 50s. She is remembered as a stateswoman whose leadership of Minnesota’s flagship school of nursing at the University of Minnesota provided the model for nursing education throughout the state and nation.

Hausler, Charles A. (1889–1971)

Over his long career, the architect Charles A. Hausler had a major impact on the built environment of St. Paul. As the first person to hold the office of city architect, he designed many public buildings, including the three branch libraries funded by Andrew Carnegie. He also designed churches, commercial buildings, and homes in a variety of styles, including Classical Revival, Prairie School, and Art Deco.

Kolthoff, Izaak Maurits (1894–1993)

Izaak Maurits Kolthoff was a professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Minnesota from 1927 to 1962. He published over a thousand papers, wrote more than a dozen books, and created and edited the first comprehensive treatise of analytical chemistry. He also played a key part in the development of synthetic rubber during and after World War II. He is known as the “father of modern analytical chemistry.”

LeDuc, William Gates (1823–1917)

William Gates LeDuc played a variety of parts in Minnesota’s transition from territory to statehood. A “jack of all trades” who never found great success in one endeavor, he counted former presidents, governors, generals, and supreme court justices among his friends by the time of his death in 1917.

Strohfus, Elizabeth (Betty) Wall (1919–2016)

Elizabeth (Betty) Wall Strohfus fell in love with flying airplanes in the 1940s and became a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II. She fought for WASP veteran recognition in the 1970s, and from the 1990s until her death, she traveled across the country to tell her story and inspire others.

Zierke, Carl “Dutch Charley” (1828–1865)

In the late 1850s, Carl Zierke, arrived in Cottonwood County with his wife and three stepchildren. Known to some as “Dutch Charley,” Zierke witnessed key events in the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862. His memory is preserved in two Cottonwood County place names: Dutch Charley Creek and South Dutch Charley Park.

Prince (1958–2016)

Prince was a Minnesota-based singer, songwriter, musician, studio engineer, actor, director, dancer, and music legend. Over his nearly forty-year career, he sold more than100 million albums; he also won seven Grammys and an Oscar. He was the main creator of the “Minneapolis Sound,” a blending of rhythm and blues, funk, rock, pop, punk, and new wave that defined the music of the 1980s.

Molter, Dorothy (1907–1986)

Pennsylvania native Dorothy Molter spent over fifty years in Northern Minnesota, where she helped to run the Isle of Pines resort and provided nursing care for those in need. From the 1950s through the mid-1980s, she made batches of homemade root beer at her cabin on Knife Lake that drew thousands of tourists, anglers, and canoeists each summer and earned her the nickname “the Root Beer Lady.”


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