Black and white portrait of Susie Schmitt Hanson, c.1885.

Susie Hanson

Portrait of Susie Schmitt Hanson, seated in a dress with roses in her lap, c.1885.

Black and white photograph of Mrs. Schmitt and family, c.1895.

Mrs. John Schmitt and Family

Mrs. John Schmitt and family. Mrs. Schmitt sitting on chair in center with children all around her. Susie Schmitt Hansen, row 2, far right, c.1895.

Hanson, Susie Schmitt, (1860–1956)

A prime example of entrepreneurial spirit, Susie Schmitt Hanson was a pioneer for Minnesota women in business. As the owner of one of Waconia's longest-running businesses, she remains a prominent figure in the history of that town.

Photograph of an office of the Northwestern Express Company, the reorganized Minnesota Stage Company, in Deadwood, South Dakota, c.1880.

Northwestern Express Company

Photograph of an office of the Northwestern Express Company, the reorganized Minnesota Stage Company, in Deadwood, South Dakota, c.1880.

Portrait of James C. Burbank, a founding member of the Minnesota Stage Company, c.1872.

James C. Burbank

Portrait of James C. Burbank, a founding member of the Minnesota Stage Company, c.1872.

1865 table of Minnesota Stage Company destinations and travel distances.

Minnesota Stage Company document

1865 table of Minnesota Stage Company destinations and travel distances.

Photograph of a stagecoach bound from Alexandria to Melrose, 1876.

Minnesota stagecoach

Photograph of a stagecoach traveling from Alexandria to Melrose, 1876.

Minnesota Stage Company

When James C. Burbank began his transportation business in 1851, it was a one-man operation. By 1859, Burbank's Minnesota Stage Company controlled all the major stagecoach lines in the state. In the years before railroads linked Minnesota, the Minnesota Stage Company played a crucial role in shaping the commercial and social life of the young state.

Photograph of Chester A. Congdon in 1909.

Chester A. Congdon

Photograph of Chester A. Congdon in 1909.

Congdon, Chester A. (1853–1916)

Chester Adgate Congdon accrued a fortune working as a lawyer for the Oliver Mining Company, and through investments in the Mesabi Iron Range. He also served as a Minnesota State Representative from 1909 to 1913.

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