Historical Societies of Carver County

Carver County's history is documented in the records of its cities, city agencies, and government center. Schools, school districts, churches, and civic groups have archives as well. Four historical societies call Carver County home. These are the Chanhassen Historical Society, the Chaska Historical Society, the Watertown Area Historical Society, and the Willkommen Heritage and Preservation Society of Norwood Young America.

Black and white image of an artist's rendering of Jonathan Village, late 1960s or early 1970s.

"Jonathan Village"

An artist's rendering of Jonathan Village, late 1960s or early 1970s.

The Planned Community of Jonathan

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of rapid suburban growth. City planners in these decades were frustrated with the growing problems of pollution, traffic, and creating new neighborhoods as cities spread. One solution to this idea was the "new town" movement. Designed as planned communities, these "towns" tried to organize the design and growth of the town in advance to better deal with urban sprawl. The community of Jonathan, located within the existing city of Chaska, was built along these concepts.

Black and white photograph of monument to millers killed in the Washburn A Mill explosion in 1878, Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis.

Millers' Monument (millers killed in Washburn A Mill explosion in 1878), Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis

Monument to millers killed in the Washburn A Mill explosion in 1878, Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis.

Black and white photograph of the rebuilt Washburn A Mill, 1971.

Washburn A Mill, Minneapolis

The rebuilt Washburn A Mill, 1971.

Black and white photograph of riverfront flour mills before the 1878 explosion.

Pillsbury A Mill, elevator, and surrounding buildings, flour mill row before the Washburn A Mill explosion in 1878, left to right: Washburn A Mill, Crown Mill, Empire Mill, Pillsbury B Mill, Excelsior Mill, paper mill, and Northwestern Mill

Riverfront flour mills before the 1878 explosion. Left to right: Washburn A Mill, Crown Mill, Empire Mill, Pillsbury B Mill, Excelsior Mill, paper mill, and Northwestern Mill, c.1877.

Black and white photograph of the ruins of the Pettit, Zenith, and Galaxy Mills after Washburn A Mill explosion on the Mississippi Riverfront, 1878.

Ruins of Pettit, Zenith, and Galaxy Mills after Washburn A Mill explosion, Minneapolis

Ruins of the Pettit, Zenith, and Galaxy Mills after Washburn A Mill explosion on the Mississippi Riverfront, 1878.

Black and white image of the Washburn A Mill explosion, 1878.

Explosion at Washburn A Mill, Minneapolis

Image of Washburn A Mill explosion, 1878.

The 1878 Washburn A Mill Explosion

On the evening of May 2, 1878, the Washburn A Mill exploded in a fireball, hurling debris hundreds of feet into the air. In a matter of seconds, a series of thunderous explosions—heard ten miles away in St. Paul—destroyed what had been Minneapolis' largest industrial building, and the largest mill in the world, along with several adjacent flour mills. It was the worst disaster of its type in the city's history, prompting major safety upgrades in future mill developments.

Black and white photograph of Foshay Tower and IDS Center, Minneapolis, 1975.

Foshay Tower and IDS Center, Minneapolis

The Philip Johnson-designed IDS Center, seen behind the Foshay, supplanted the Foshay Tower as Minneapolis's tallest building when it opened in 1972.

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