The Gates of Stonebridge

In 1907, St. Paul businessman and inventor Oliver Crosby purchased twenty-eight acres of land on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in St. Paul. There, he built a twenty thousand square foot brick estate that he called Stonebridge. In his book Once There Were Castles, author Larry Millett claims that Stonebridge was “the greatest estate ever built in St. Paul.” The house was remarkable,...

Duluth’s Incline Railway

Last fall I was able to cross a few stops in Duluth’s west end off of my to-do list. I wanted to walk the path that once ran alongside the Incline Railway for several years, but it always got pushed down on my list because I haven’t spent a lot of them in this part of town. I decided to park along Skyline Parkway...

Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College

Earlier this week I visited the Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College in Bloomington. The garden is only two acres in size, but there is plenty of room for quiet contemplation. It was designed by Tokyo-based garden architect Takao Watanabe and dedicated in 1976. Visitors enter through a cedar gate and are greeted by the sound of a waterfall in the distance. The more...

Interstate Bridge in Duluth

Before the Interstate Bridge was built between Duluth and Superior in the late-1890s, the only way to get between the two cities was by ferry. Of course, ice often prevented the ferry from crossing in the winter. In 1894, the Duluth-Superior Bridge Company was incorporated with the purpose of building a bridge that connected Connors Point in Wisconsin to Rice’s Point in Minnesota. Disagreements...

Rainy Lake Gold Rush

When people think of the gold rush, they think of California, but Minnesota had its own gold rush. With stories of people striking it rich in California spreading east, even the slightest hint of gold elsewhere in the country would spark a new frenzy. When a vein of gold-laden quartz was found amid the forests and lakes of Minnesota – the hunt was on....

Upper Post of Fort Snelling: Dead House / Morgue

The yellow brick morgue was originally built in 1904. It was used to store bodies of deceased military personnel from the post during the months when the ground was too frozen to bury them. An addition to the morgue in 1933 more than doubled the square footage. The need for additional housing in 1938 caused the morgue to be revamped into living quarters for...

Abandoned Amusement Park Gallery

Stewart Creek Stone-Arch Bridge

“The Picturesque is seen in ideas of beauty manifested with something of rudeness, violence, or difficulty. The effect of the whole is spirited and pleasing, but parts are not balanced, proportions are not perfect, and details are rude. We feel at the first glance at a picturesque object, the idea of power exerted, rather than the idea of beauty which it involves.” — Andrew Jackson Downing, American...

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 tin can, which would then be taken home and stored...

Enter Marlon Brando

Founded in 1858, Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault was one of the oldest and most respected college preparatory boarding schools in the Midwest. Shattuck was known for its rigid military discipline, strong academics, and was used to dealing with students who had been expelled from other schools. Enter Marlon Brando. After being expelled from his local high school for reportedly riding a motorcycle through...

Upper Post of Fort Snelling: Post Library

Libraries like the one located at the Upper Post of Fort Snelling were established by the American Red Cross (ARC) in thirty-two cantonments and National Guard training camps during World War I. These special buildings were erected by the American Red Cross and each of the libraries was under the control of a trained librarian. The libraries were designed to be 40×120 feet in size, one-story high,...

Thomson Pioneer Cemetery Gallery

The Thomson Pioneer Cemetery is located within the boundary of Jay Cooke State Park near Carlton. This cemetery was the burial place for many pioneer families of the nearby village of Thomson. The majority of the graves date to the 1880s and 1890s and most of them are unmarked.

Forgotten Minnesota Turns Five

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Forgotten Minnesota website. The first article was posted on January 3, 2011—about two days after I decided to start a website. It all started as something to keep me busy after my job of ten years was made redundant. My goal was to write a short history of as many places as I could find throughout...

Oxford Mill Ruin

The Oxford Mill was located on the bank of the Little Cannon River near Cannon Falls. When the mill was built by C.N. Wilcox and John and Edward Archibald in 1878, it was part of the wheat boom sweeping through the state. Annual record yields of wheat generated the need to process the harvests, causing flour mills to spring up along every river and stream....

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 cemetery since the first interment there six years earlier. This...