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The Rock Island Excursion of 1854

On February 22, 1854, the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad completed the first rail line to connect the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean. To promote that feat the company contacted notable East Coast citizens and journalists and invited them to ride their train to Rock Island. From there, the visitors took a steamboat trip up the Mississippi, stopping at St. Paul. The journalists, pleased with what they saw, wrote of the beauty and splendor of a region that many in the East thought was little more than a wilderness.

MN90: The Lighthouse Keeper's Mistake

Split Rock Lighthouse has been a fixture of Northern Minnesota for generations. But few know the story behind its shaky beginning. What happens when an overeager new lighthouse keeper jumps the gun?

MN90: The Lure of the Lighthouse

For decades, the majority of functioning lighthouses have operated mechanically, without a resident lighthouse keeper to keep things going. Yet tourists still flock to sites like Split Rock to ponder the lighthouse keeper’s lifestyle. What is it about a lighthouse that keeps us wondering?

MN90: The Citizens League

What makes Minnesota unique? The lakes, the weather...and the Minnesota Citizen's League. For over 60 years, the Minnesota Citizens League has helped tackle some of the toughest problems in the state. MN90 producer Allison Herrera tells us more about this influential organization.

Black and white photograph of bronze capstan from the Hesper

Bronze capstan from the Hesper

Bronze capstan from the wreck of the Hesper.

Black and white photograph of the the Hesper at Manitowoc, c.1900

The Hesper at Manitowoc, c.1900

Starboard bow view in river at Manitowoc, c.1900

Black and white photograph of the Hesper, c.1900.

The Hesper, c.1900

Starboard bow view of the Hesper in St. Mary's River, c.1900.

Map of Split Rock Station

Map of Split Rock Station

Map of the Split Rock Lighthouse historic site c.2010.

Black and white photograph of Split Rock Lighthouse by Eugene Debs Becker taken in August of 1959.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Photograph of Split Rock Lighthouse by Eugene Debs Becker taken in August of 1959.

Black and white photograph of Assistant keeper Tom Hassing standing next to diesel air compressors at Split Rock Lighthouse c.1945.

Tom Hassing at Split Rock Lighthouse

Assistant keeper Tom Hassing stands next to diesel air compressors at Split Rock Lighthouse c.1945.

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