Carver County Fair, 1868–present

The Carver County Fair has a long and rich history, dating back to 1868. On July 20, the Carver County Agricultural Society formed in Chaska. Later that year, on October 10, this group held the first Carver County fair in Chaska, to display their crops and animals. An elected Board of Directors planned the fair. Despite later battles over location, the fair has been held almost every year since.

Carver County Historical Society

County resident O.D. Sell founded the Carver County Historical Society (CCHS) in 1940. The original task was to collect and preserve the history of Carver County and Minnesota. He had a large personal collection of objects relating to the county's history that he wanted to share with the public. This forms the core of the CCHS collection.

Carver County Library System

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.

Citizens League

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.

Countryman, Gratia Alta (1866–1953)

In June 1922, the Minneapolis Public Library book wagon made its first trip from Minneapolis to Excelsior, a small village on Lake Minnetonka. Riding aboard the book wagon was Gratia Countryman, the library system's visionary director.

Creating Hamline, Minnesota's First College

In 1854 a group of Methodist ministers founded Hamline University in Red Wing. It was the first college established in Minnesota Territory.

Crown College

Crown College of Minnesota is unique in being the only bible college in Minnesota. The mission of this type of college is to provide a biblically based education for Christian leadership. Teaching is focused on training lay people for Christian service. Crown is one of only four colleges in the United States affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.

Farmers' Institutes, 1880s–1920s

In the 1880s, Minnesota farmers saw the need for education but resisted "book farming," or learning how to farm by reading instructional text. Farmers' institutes, lecture series that traveled to rural communities and taught practical farming skills, were popular alternatives in the 1880s through the 1920s.

Goodsell Observatory, Northfield

The Goodsell Observatory and its predecessor, a smaller observatory that opened in 1878, helped keep trains running on time and brought national prominence to Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

Handicraft Guild

At the turn of the twentieth century, Minneapolis became a national center for the arts movement known as Arts and Crafts. The city's Handicraft Guild led the way. Founded by women, the Handicraft Guild made the arts in Minneapolis more democratic and populist by offering classes like pottery and metalwork to artists and teachers.

Historical Societies of 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.

Jewish Community Center of St. Paul

In 1930, the Jewish Community Center of St. Paul (JCC)—originally called the Jewish Education Center (JEC)—began the work it continues in the twenty-first century: providing for the educational, social, cultural, and recreational lives of Jewish youth and St. Paul families.

Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children

The Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children operated from 1886 to 1947. The campus is one of the most intact examples of a state cottage school standing in the United States, and is significant on a national level.

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato was founded as Minnesota's second normal school in 1868. It went through phases as a normal school, teachers college, college, and university. By 2011 it was one of Minnesota's largest and most comprehensive universities.

Myers, Ruth A. (1926–2001)

Ruth A. Myers was known as the “grandmother of American Indian Education in Minnesota.” A persistent voice for American Indian children and their families, Myers focused on education policy. She focused on learning opportunities for American Indian children. She also worked for curriculum and resource materials that reflected the American Indian history and culture for all Minnesota learners.

Nelson, Julia Bullard (1842–1914)

Following the death of her husband and their only child, Julia Bullard Nelson of Red Wing, Minnesota bravely headed south to Texas in 1869 to teach former slaves in U.S. government-backed Freedmen's Bureau schools. Nelson spent the summers of the 1870s and 1880s in Minnesota, where she emerged as a state and national leader in the movement for women's suffrage and the temperance campaign against alcohol use.

Pillsbury Hall, University of Minnesota

Designed by Leroy Buffington and Harvey Ellis in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, Pillsbury Hall at the University of Minnesota opened in 1889 and is part of the National Register-listed Old Campus Historic District.

Pillsbury, John Sargent (1827–1901)

In forty-six years as a Minnesotan, John Sargent Pillsbury helped establish what eventually became one of the world's largest flour-milling businesses, served three terms as governor, and contributed—generously and often anonymously—to numerous causes he deemed worthy.

Private Schools in Carver County

Early schools in Carver County were typical of those found in nineteenth century Minnesota. Schools were small then, and grew out of the community's desire to educate local children. They were often held in the same building as the church or town meeting hall, and had ties to both, so were not clearly public or private.

Public Schools in Carver County

Early schools in Minnesota were one-room schoolhouses. The first school in Carver County, built in 1855, was one of these. It became part of the first school district in Minnesota, Public School District #1 in Carver, which was formed in 1856.

Sanford, Maria (1836–1920)

One of the first female professors in the United States, Maria Sanford was an English professor at the University of Minnesota for nearly thirty years. Her exceptional teaching, notable public lectures, and active community leadership led many to call her "the best loved woman in Minnesota."

State Reform School, St. Paul

Minnesota's first experiment in juvenile justice, the State Reform School, operated in St. Paul from 1868 to 1891. During that time, over 1250 inmates, almost all of them boys, were committed to the institution, mostly for petty crimes and "incorrigibility." The school moved to a new facility in Red Wing in 1891.

The Origins of the School Safety Patrol, 1921

The school safety patrol was first implemented in 1921, one of the earliest in the country. Parents, principals, and politicians in St. Paul were at the forefront of its development. At that time, walking to and from school had become dangerous because there were more cars on the road and few safety guidelines. Children often took risks when crossing streets, and placing other children at intersections to direct traffic was a key innovation that reduced accidents.

Traveling Libraries

Before 1899, few Minnesotans had access to free public libraries. But in that year, the state legislature began funding a system of traveling libraries that were sent to underserved communities in all parts of the state for only the cost of shipping.

Walker, Thomas Barlow (T.B.), (1840–1928)

Thomas Barlow (T.B.) Walker worked his way through school and into Minnesota's lumber industry, where he became unusually successful. He later helped found two of Minneapolis's significant cultural organizations, the Public Library System and the Walker Art Center.