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How Environment Has Shaped the State

From Sustenance to Leisure on Minnesota Land

Expert Essay: Associate professor of history Michael J. Lansing, published in Environmental History as well as Ethics, Place, and Environment, highlights the many ways people have made use of Minnesota's flora and fauna over time and reviews the state's more recent efforts at conservation.

Painting of the prairie just beyond the north side of Fort Snelling, c.1847. Painting by Seth Eastman.

Prairie north of Fort Snelling

Prairie just beyond the north side of Fort Snelling, c.1847. Painting by Seth Eastman.

Black and white photograph of National Guardsmen searching for survivors in the wreckage of the Sea Wing, 1890. The men at left are standing in the Sea Wing’s attached barge, Jim Grant. The Lake City steamer Ethel Howard is in the background.

National Guardsmen searching for survivors in the wreckage of the Sea Wing

National Guardsmen searching for survivors in the wreckage of the Sea Wing, 1890. The men at left are standing in the Sea Wing’s attached barge, Jim Grant. The Lake City steamer Ethel Howard is in the background.

Black and white photograph of rescue workers searching for bodies in the wreckage of the Sea Wing, 1890.

Rescue workers at the wreckage of the Sea Wing, Lake Pepin

Rescue workers searching for bodies in the wreckage of the Sea Wing, 1890.

The Sea Wing Disaster

The July 13, 1890, capsizing of the steamer Sea Wing on Lake Pepin and the deaths of ninety-eight of its passengers horrified Minnesota and the nation. The accident ranks among the most deadly on America’s inland waterways.

Black and white photograph of Tennessee Street during flood, 1952.

Tennessee Street during flood

Tennessee Street during flood, 1952.

Black and white aerial view of West Side during flood, 1952.

Aerial view of West Side during flood

Aerial view of West Side during flood, 1952.

Black and white photograph looking north across the Flats during high water 1881. The raised street is Wabasha.

Looking north across the Flats during high water

Looking north across the Flats during high water 1881. The raised street is Wabasha.

Smith, Alice Gustava (Sister Maris Stella) (1899–1987)

Alice Gustava Smith, better known by her students and readers as Sister Maris Stella, taught English at the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) in St. Paul for nearly fifty years. During that time she also published books of verse that built her reputation as a skilled and spiritual poet.

Black and white photograph of a man with string of fish caught in Itasca Lake, c.1915.

Man with string of fish caught in Itasca Lake

Man with string of fish caught in Itasca Lake, c.1915.

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