This Day in Minnesota History

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Today's Date: February 12

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1895

Minnesota is the first state to declare Abraham Lincoln's birthday a legal holiday.

1939

More than 3,000 people (two-thirds of them children) escape death or serious injury when they rush out of the Amphitheatre in Duluth seconds before the steel-and-wood roof of the expansive sports arena collapses under the weight of snow during an intermission in the annual Duluth police department and Virginia (Minn.) fire department hockey game. The swift evacuation is credited to the fact that many spectators are in the front lobby at the time, as well as to the presence of most of the city's police officers and the calmness of organist Leland McEwen, who remains at his post playing soothing music until the last moment.

1988

Famed restaurateur Gim Joe Huie dies in Duluth. Born in Guangdong province, China, in 1892, Huie first came to the city in 1909 and made it his American home while returning to the land of his birth for extended stays until the Communist government established control there in the late 1940s. In 1951 he opened Joe Huie's Cafe, on Lake Avenue in Duluth, which for twenty-two years offered authentic Asian food at reasonable prices in a companionable atmosphere.

2000

Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz dies in California. That summer, in St. Paul, his childhood home, 101 individually decorated, five-foot-tall statues of Snoopy are displayed in a celebration of Schulz's life. Later in the year, two auctions of Snoopy statues (including some from the celebration and some made specially for auction) are held with the announcement that the money raised will be used as memorial funds to create a bronze sculpture of Schulz characters for downtown St. Paul, as well as to benefit the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul and provide scholarships at the Art Instruction Schools, a Minneapolis-based correspondence school where Schulz studied and taught. Snoopy statutes not placed for auction, it is also announced, will be returned to the local businesses and organizations that originally sponsored them.