Jefferson Highway

The Jefferson Highway, established in 1915 and named for President Thomas Jefferson, was a product of the early twentieth century’s Good Roads movement. Its route followed existing roads that extended from Winnipeg to New Orleans. In this way it passed through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana on variant routes. Like other named routes, the highway faded from public awareness after the advent of the federal numbering system in 1926.

State of Minnesota et al. v. Philip Morris et al.

The State of Minnesota and the health insurance federation Blue Cross and Blue Shield brought a lawsuit against tobacco companies in 1994. The suit—State of Minnesota et al. v. Philip Morris et al.—ended the companies’ chain of legal victories and turned the tide in anti-tobacco efforts throughout the nation.


In the fall of 1925, a series of six signs advertising Burma-Shave, a new brushless shaving cream, appeared for the first time along highway 65 from Minneapolis to Albert Lea and on highway 61 to Red Wing. The signs began an advertising phenomenon using clever rhyming jingles that lasted into the 1960s, including: “Your shaving brush / has had its day, / so why not / shave the modern way / with Burma-Shave?”


In 1937, the George A. Hormel Company, a meat-packing business in Austin, Minnesota, introduced SPAM luncheon meat to use up an excess of pork shoulder in their inventory. In the eighty years since its introduction, SPAM has fed millions of people and is available in more than forty countries and in over fifteen varieties and sizes.

Miss Miyazaki Japanese Friendship Doll

Concerned by the anti-Japanese atmosphere in the United States in the 1920s, Dr. Sidney Gulick established the Committee on World Friendship Among Children and began sending friendship dolls to Japan. Japan reciprocated by sending friendship dolls to the US in 1927, with Minnesota receiving a doll known as "Miss Miyazaki."

Minnesota Centennial Showboat

University of Minnesota professor Frank M. "Doc" Whiting brought a unique type of theater entertainment to the Twin Cities with the opening of the Minnesota Centennial Showboat in 1958. For more than fifty years the showboat presented a variety of student theater productions, from melodrama to Shakespeare, in a floating venue on the Mississippi River.

Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, University of Minnesota

Founded in 1971, the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota is the first of its kind in the Midwest. Rooted in social justice, the department is committed scholastically and pedagogically to centering Chicana/o and Latina/o histories and experiences.

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.


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