A Queen Anne Masterpiece in Canby

John Grant Lund was a feisty showman and self-made millionaire known locally as the real estate king of Canby. As one of southwestern Minnesota’s first land speculators, he was known to meet incoming trains filled with prospective settlers at the depot. Accompanied by a full band, Lund would take center stage in a vest decorated

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Tenney: The Evolution of a Ghost Town

For several years, Tenney held the distinction of being Minnesota’s smallest town. The 2010 census showed that Tenney boasted two families, and an average age of close to 57 years old. The total population was five. When the numbers dwindled to just three residents, it became nearly impossible to keep the town alive. Tenney was on

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EACO Flour Mill Fire in Waseca

This photo from 1900 shows Loon Lake and the town of Waseca in the distance. On the left are the newly reconstructed buildings of the Everett, Aughenbaugh and Company (EACO) flour mill. The original EACO mill burned to the ground in 1896. Here is a historical account of the events of August 25, 1896: At about twenty minutes after

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Laura Baker's School in Northfield

Laura Belle Baker was born in Chariton, Iowa on April 10, 1859. Her parents were liberal and civic-minded farmers who stressed the importance of education, tolerance, and empathy to their children. Shortly after graduating from grammar school, Baker began teaching. She would spend the next eighty-three years successfully educating boys

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Waverly's Moderne Village Hall

The original village hall in Waverly was built in 1893. The two-story, brick and stone building sat on the corner of Third Street and Elm Avenue. Built in the Romanesque style, the town hall featured a large corner tower that looked out over the small village. It was the home to the city’s government offices, fire department, and jail. The

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James J. Hill's North Oaks Farm

James J. Hill was the preeminent transportation pioneer in the American Northwest. He arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota on a steamboat in 1856 and planned on becoming a trapper and trader. Instead, he found work with a steamboat company. During the Civil War, Hill learned the business of buying, selling, and transporting goods. Through

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Lilac Way: Showcase of the Belt Line

Although it’s difficult to tell now, Highway 100 in the west metro was once one of the most beautiful and serene roads in the nation. The roadway was conceived just after the start of the Great Depression as a joint venture between the National Recovery Work Relief Program (which would later become the Works Progress Administration) and the

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Minnesota's First Vocational School

In February 1915, students poured into the first vocational school in the state. Located in the mining town of Eveleth, this school was the first education building in Minnesota to be devoted entirely to industrial subjects. The Prairie School style building was constructed of gray Menominee brick and terra cotta. The exterior featured an intricate

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Upper Post of Fort Snelling: Post Movie Theater

Fort Snelling was renowned for its recreational opportunities for servicemen and their families. One of the most popular activities for families was to go to the post theatre. The original theatre was nothing fancy--a wooden structure with hardwood floors and 12’ ceilings. It was built around the turn of the century but greatly altered in the mid-1920s. The entire theatre was just over 3,000 square-feet and seated up to 438 people. It stood near the post school and guardhouse, near where Building 66 is today.

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Wilder Public Baths

It's hard to imagine a time when taking a bath or shower in your own home wasn’t possible, but the convenience of showering on a regular basis is a modern luxury. One hundred years ago, many working-class homes in St. Paul lacked bathing facilities. People living in rooming houses and along the Mississippi flats didn’t even have running

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Minnesota's Northwest Angle

At a glance, nothing peculiar stands out about Minnesota on a map. It’s when you take a longer look that you’ll notice it. Along the northern border there is a small piece of land that looks like it should be part of Manitoba, Canada marked as territory of Minnesota, and the United States. However, this piece of land is not physically connected to

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Colonel Colvill of the First Minnesota

William Colvill — does that name ring a bell? Unless you're a Civil War history buff, this name probably doesn’t mean anything to you yet. Perhaps he’s been forgotten because he was a good, simple man — hard-working and generous. He held fast to what he believed was right and stood up against wrongdoing. Perhaps it’s only natural for his name

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The Minneapolis Industrial Exposition

Minneapolis’ most prominent citizens were shocked when they learned that the Minnesota State Fair chose to take up permanent residence in St. Paul. Shortly after the official announcement was made, Minneapolitans sprang into action. Their plan was to create a fair in Minneapolis to rival the one in St. Paul. In 1885, an idea was born to create an

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