MN90: Minnesota's Most Controversial Piece of Land

The one million acres of land and water bordering Minnesota and Canada called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, or BWCA, began to be set aside for preservation purposes in 1902. MN90 producer Marisa Helms recounts some of its history.

MN90: A 19th Century Grasshopper Disaster

During the 1870s, grasshopper plagues made life miserable for Minnesota's farmers. The insects traveled in swarms so large they darkened the sky, destroying crops and farmers’ livelihoods along the way. Learn more about the government response to the crisis and the lasting damage that was left behind.

Grasshopper Plagues, 1873–1877

On June 12, 1873, farmers in southwestern Minnesota saw what looked like a snowstorm coming towards their fields from the west. What seemed to be snowflakes were in fact grasshoppers. In a matter of hours, knee-high fields of grass and wheat were eaten to the ground by hungry hoppers.

Interstate 94 construction at Dale Street and St. Anthony

Interstate 94 construction at Dale Street and St. Anthony

Interstate 94 construction at Dale Street and St. Anthony, c.1966. Construction of I-94 in St. Paul displaced African American residents.

Tailings delta, Silver Bay

Tailings delta, Silver Bay

The large delta created by taconite tailings at Silver Bay (seen here in 1963) led to the closing of the Reserve Mining Company's plant in 1980.

View of Hinckley main street the morning after the fire

View of Hinckley main street the morning after the fire

View of Hinckley's main street in 1894, the morning after a fire destroyed the town.

Duck hunters returning after hunting on Heron Lake

Duck hunters returning after hunting on Heron Lake

Duck hunters returning after hunting on Heron Lake, c.1887. Heron Lake, in southern Minnesota, attracted many market hunters by the turn of the twentieth century.

Falls of Saint Anthony

Falls of Saint Anthony

Falls of St. Anthony, c.1865. Photographer: Joel Emmons Whitney. Water power provided the energy for the saw and flour mills that put Minneapolis on the map.

Visitors at Mississippi River headwaters, Itasca State Park

Visitors at Mississippi River headwaters, Itasca State Park

The dam at the Mississippi headwaters as tourist destination, c.1960.

St. Anthony Falls Tunnel Collapse, October 5, 1869

On October 5, 1869, water seeped and then gushed into a tunnel underneath St. Anthony Falls creating an enormous whirlpool. The falls were nearly destroyed. It was years before the area was fully stabilized and the falls were again safe from collapse.

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