Posts in Central Minnesota
Asle Sorbel's Ride

Two weeks after the James–Younger Gang raided Northfield the gang appeared at the farm of Ole Sorbel on Lake Linden near Hanska. Ole spoke to the men briefly and his wife, Guri, provided the men with bread and butter for breakfast. The gang told the family that they were hunting in the area, but 17-year-old Asle Sorbel didn’t believe them. He had a hunch they were

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The Minnesota Home School for Girls in Sauk Centre

The Minnesota Home School for Girls was established by the state legislature in 1907 as a residential facility that would provide for the care, training, and education of girls who had been declared delinquent and committed by the courts. A preliminary budget of $25,000 was allocated for the purchase of land and initial construction costs. The state required the site to be at least

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Mudbaden Sulphur Springs

In 1890, Ole Rosenthal and a friend were moving a cart across his property near the Minnesota River in Scott County when the cart got stuck in the mud. Believe it or not, both men were overjoyed when they noticed a strong sulfur smell coming from the mud that was being churned up as they tried to dislodge the cart. Stories about medical spas in Germany

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The Almelund Creamery

The first cooperative creamery opened in Almelund in 1896 and quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality products. One of the co-op organizers was  T.H. Haecker, a professor of dairying at the University of Minnesota and staunch advocate for farmer-owned cooperative creameries. In 1897, co-op member Emil Blomquist became state butter

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Almond White and the Motley Castle

Vermont-native Almond A. White came to Minnesota after the Civil War and settled in Brainerd for a short time before moving to Moorhead in the early 1870s. White and business partner Solomon Comstock founded a real estate business that would grow into one of the largest real estate firms in the great northwest. On the day of his graduation in 1864

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Spencer Brook: Nearly a Ghost Town

Settled in 1854 by Pennsylvania native Benjamin Spencer, Spencer Brook was one of the first communities in Isanti County. During the 1850s, Spencer Brook became a favorite spot for east coast Yankees seeking lumbering opportunities. The nearby Rum River provided the flowing waters needed to float logs downstream to the Twin Cities.

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The Pine Tree Lumber Company

Pine Tree Lumber Company was established in Little Falls in 1890. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota, the company was run by Charles Weyerhaeuser and Richard “Drew” Musser. Little Falls was chosen as the location for this new mill because of its proximity to the Mississippi River. The dam created a large boom area where

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West Riverside School Near Cambridge

Built in 1898, the West Riverside School was originally known as District #38 School. Isanti County once had 67 rural schools similar to this. Aside from teaching children, one of the important roles of rural schools was to teach immigrants the English language and prepare them for the American citizenship exam. Most were also an important community

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The Fire Relief Houses of Pine County

After a devastating forest fire obliterated the villages of Finlayson, Hinckley, Miller, Mission Creek, Pokegama, and Sandstone in Pine County on the afternoon of September 1, 1894, the state put forward an unprecedented humanitarian effort to attend to the needs of survivors. Hundreds of people were left homeless and without

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Abandoned Amusement Park Gallery

I’d often heard that this place was going to be dismantled and put up for sale, but I’d never had the chance to get in a photograph it until a cold fall day when I was driving from point A to point B. I’d also heard a lot of people were getting in and that police routinely patrolled the area, so I knew I’d have to be quick. I was so happy to see most of

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Lundring Service Station in Canby

As the popularity and accessibility of automobiles grew throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the problem of finding the right place to put filling and service stations became a concern for residents and city officials. Filling stations in the mid-1910s were merely curbside gas pumps connected to an underground tank. The pumps were designed to fill a

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Historic Ness Lutheran Church

The Ness Congregation was originally organized as the Norwegian Evangelical St. Johannes Congregation of Meeker and surrounding counties in 1861. The name was changed to Ness in October of that year. By 1864, the congregation had raised the $100.00 needed to purchase forty acres of land that had previously been set aside as a

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Hasty: A Minnesota Ghost Town

The town of Hasty in central Minnesota began with the construction of a new Great Northern Railway line. Tracks were laid in 1881, adjacent to land owned by Warren Hasty. This line connected Minneapolis to Osseo, Monticello, and Clearwater. Construction of a railroad depot for Hasty began in the fall of 1888 and opened with little fanfare in

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