Hamm's Bear

If you were a child in Minnesota during the 1950s and 1960s, one of your early memories may be watching a black-and-white cartoon bear in the Hamm’s Beer television commercials. The Hamm’s bear became one of several iconic characters linked to well-known Minnesota products and legends. The popular and award-winning Hamm's commercials, part of the Land of Sky Blue Waters advertising campaign, featured the clumsy and appealing bear, a catchy jingle, and a drumbeat.

Prairie Home Companion

Host Garrison Keillor pushed the boundaries of radio in the 1970s to develop A Prairie Home Companion, National Public Radio’s Saturday-night staple. The variety show’s features included Keillor’s Lake Wobegon monologue, fictional sponsors, music, and dramas.


The Washburn Crosby Company first developed Wheaties in the early 1920s and introduced the product to consumers in 1924. Over time, the breakfast cereal changed the milling industry even as it helped to transform American breakfasts.

Currie Line Railroad

Railroads played an important role in the development of Cottonwood County. The 38.6-mile railway called the Currie Line hastened the growth of agriculture and establishment of towns in the northern part of the county in only a decade.

Red River Steamboats

Beginning in 1859, steamboats on the Red River linked St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba (Fort Garry), for over fifty years. The boats are credited with helping Winnipeg grow quickly in the 1870s. Eventually, railways and motor vehicles replaced Red River steamboats, but the network that the steamboats strengthened still exists in the twenty-first century.

Somali Poetry in Minnesota

Somali poetry is a unique art form with an ancient history and a living legacy. Since 1991, it has connected Somali and Somali American refugees living in the United States with those who remain in their East African homeland. In the twenty-first century, Somali Minnesotans have kept their poetic traditions alive by forming arts groups, organizing public performances in the Twin Cities, and encouraging young people to become poets.

Hjemkomst (ship)

While recovering from a fall in 1971, Moorhead Junior High School guidance counselor Robert Asp read a book on Viking shipbuilding. This sparked the thought that he should build and sail his own Viking ship. After ten years of planning, building, and training, the ship named Hjemkomst sailed from Duluth, Minnesota, to Oslo, Norway.

Red River Carts

Red River carts were used by the Métis for bison hunts and for trade between the Red River Colony (present-day Winnipeg) and St. Paul in the early 1800s. By the mid-1800s, nearly continuous use of the carts had worn trails into the prairie grasses. These trails connected the hunting-farming culture of the Métis on the Red River with the growing industrial culture of St. Paul on the Mississippi River.

Minneapolis Flour-Milling Industry during World War I

The Minneapolis flour-milling industry peaked during World War I when twenty-five flour mills employing 2,000 to 2,500 workers played a leading role in the campaign to win the war with food. Minneapolis-produced flour helped to feed America, more than four million of its service personnel, and its allies.

Milwaukee Road in Minnesota

The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company, better known as the Milwaukee Road, was a large railroad network that operated in the state of Minnesota for nearly 130 years. It provided freight and passenger service to many communities, playing a vital economic role. In 2017, much of the Minnesota route survives as a part of the Canadian Pacific Railway.


Subscribe to RSS - Thing