Fireplace of States

Originally a feature of the 1934 Paul Bunyan House, the Fireplace of States is a symbolic hearth and art project made to represent the cooperation of American states, national parks, and Canadian provinces. When the Paul Bunyan House was torn down in 1995, the fireplace was moved to a new Tourist Information Center on Lake Bemidji.

Maple Sugaring and the Ojibwe

Ojibwe people have made maple sugar, a traditional dietary staple, for centuries. It is easily accessible in the woodlands of Minnesota and can be stored for months without spoiling. While the technology used in the process has changed over the years, Ojibwe people continue to harvest maple sugar in the present day.

Winnipeg Liquor Conspiracy

National Prohibition went into effect January 17, 1920. On March 23—sixty-six days into Prohibition—federal liquor agents arrested Oscar Martinson, sheriff of Hennepin County. Next came William M. Nash, Hennepin County Attorney, indicted April 6, arrested May 13. Martinson pleaded guilty. Nash was acquitted, but Governor J. A. A. Burnquist removed him from office. Nash and Martinson were the highest-ranking Minnesota law enforcement officials prosecuted under Prohibition.

Harmony Area Schools

Harmony’s first school, nicknamed the Little Red Schoolhouse, was a one-room structure built in 1864 in the village of Greenfield Prairie, a mile south of where Harmony would later be incorporated. The modest school, built by some of the area’s earliest immigrants, provided the foundation for what would become a thriving independent school district, a source of great pride, and a sign of prosperity for those living in and around Harmony for almost a century.

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.


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