When Alfred T. Andreas chose Minnesota as the subject for his new atlas, the state was only fifteen years old. Andreas's publication of An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Minnesota changed the way state atlases were written, illustrated, and distributed. The atlas also put the social and cultural landscape of early Minnesota literally on the map.
Buildings along the main streets of Minnesota's earliest communities were particularly vulnerable to fire. Even small blazes could grow quickly and incinerate wood-frame structures in densely packed business districts. The 1880s fires in Cannon Falls serve as an example.
Libraries have been a part of Carver County history since the county was started. The earliest library began in 1858, and many more followed. In the twenty-first century, there are five full libraries and three express library branches. Total circulation is over one million books per year and rising.
The city of Carver has a long and rich history as one of the earliest communities in Carver County. Located on the Minnesota River, it was often the first place immigrants to Carver County visited. From there, they spread out to other towns and farms.
Since 1952, the Citizens League has had a major impact on public policies in Minnesota. A group of civic leaders had the idea of inviting leaders from different parts of the community to the table to solve big policy issues. This meant bringing together lawmakers, union leaders, heads of Minnesota companies, and experts from universities and industries. As a group, these experts and leaders would study an issue and then write a research paper they could all agree on. Then they would do the political work required to make their conclusions a reality.
The city of Waconia, in Carver County, Minnesota, has a long and rich history. Located just thirty miles southwest of the Twin Cities on the north shore of Lake Waconia, it has long been a tourist destination.
Horace W. S. Cleveland was a pioneer landscape architect. His greatest achievement was designing a system of parks and parkways in Minneapolis. He advocated preserving spaces for parks in the rapidly growing cities of the American West. Cleveland was especially influential in preserving the banks of the Mississippi River gorge in St. Paul and Minneapolis as parkland.
In 1871 Minneapolis built the first public waterworks in Minnesota to pump water from the Mississippi River. The city's attempts to provide clean, safe water led to decades of efforts to improve and expand the waterworks.
Since 1929, the Foshay Tower has been a vital part of the Minneapolis skyline. When it was built, the thirty-two-story tower was the tallest building between Chicago and the West Coast. In the 1970s and 1980s, much taller skyscrapers were built, but the attractive Foshay Tower remained a crowning glory of Minnesota architecture.
Ghost towns convey a certain image, thanks to popular culture. Despite this portrayal, ghost towns are simply former towns, places settled and then abandoned for a variety of reasons. Every state in the United States has them and they are part of the history of a region, including Carver County.
Carver County's history is documented in the records of its cities, city agencies, and government center. Schools, school districts, churches, and civic groups have archives as well. Four historical societies call Carver County home. These are the Chanhassen Historical Society, the Chaska Historical Society, the Watertown Area Historical Society, and the Willkommen Heritage and Preservation Society of Norwood Young America.
From 1883-1915, Imdieke Brickyard in Meire Grove produced bricks using traditional European methods. Residents supported this business venture by purchasing materials to create structures that represented their German culture.
The R.W. Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet, MN was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed in 1958, it was the only building concept ever constructed from Wright's utopian vision of a model American community called Broadacre City.
Charles Morgridge Loring is known as the "Father of Minneapolis Parks." As the first president of the Minneapolis park board, he was the one most responsible for acquiring the city's lakes and their shorelines as parks. Loring Park near downtown Minneapolis is named for him.
The fifty-three-foot-high Minnehaha Falls was purchased by Minneapolis in 1889. It was the centerpiece of a new state park. The falls remain one of the state's most popular attractions for both residents and visitors. Their name is derived from the Dakota words mni for "water" and gaga for "falling" or "curling"—literally "water fall."
Parade Stadium was Minneapolis's first public football stadium. The Minneapolis park board built the 16,560-seat stadium at The Parade, a park just west of downtown, in 1951. It was meant for high school, amateur, and small-college games. The stadium was also used for summertime Aquatennial festivities for nearly forty years.
A devastating cyclone hit Rochester on August 21, 1883. It killed dozens of people and injured many more, but emergency health services in the tornado's aftermath also led to the eventual creation of the Mayo Clinic.
Expert Essay: Professor of history Annette Atkins, author of Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out, argues that "the Cities" and Minnesota's other urban and rural centers have made the state more than flyover country.
On March 29, 1998, a tornado swept through southern Minnesota, devastating the town of St. Peter. Residents had only about ten minutes to take shelter once they heard the warning sirens just after 5:00 p.m. Propelled by 150-mile-an-hour winds, the tornado cut a mile-wide swath through the town of 10,000, causing scores of injuries and one fatality when a young boy was swept out of his family's car. In terms of its severity, the St. Peter tornado ranks with other destructive storms including those that tore through the Twin Cities metro area in 1965 and again in 1981.
On the evening of May 2, 1878, the Washburn A Mill exploded in a fireball, hurling debris hundreds of feet into the air. In a matter of seconds, a series of thunderous explosions—heard ten miles away in St. Paul—destroyed what had been Minneapolis' largest industrial building, and the largest mill in the world, along with several adjacent flour mills. It was the worst disaster of its type in the city's history, prompting major safety upgrades in future mill developments.
Nininger, a small town built quickly in 1856 and abandoned only a few years later, was located twenty-five miles south of St. Paul near present-day Hastings. The story of its rise and fall is typical of many of the boom towns that sprang up in places like Minnesota Territory during the mid-nineteenth century. It shows both the high hopes of the area’s newcomers and the despair they felt when their communities failed.
On January 3, 1940, the Marlborough Apartment Hotel in Minneapolis burst into flames after an explosion in its basement. The deadliest fire the city had ever seen would claim nineteen lives and destroy a three-story building housing more than one hundred twenty people.