Beargrease, John (1858–1910)

The US Congress ordered the beginning of mail service from Superior to Grand Portage, Minnesota, in 1855, but service was spotty. John Beargrease and his brothers came to the rescue. They began covering a regular mail route between Two Harbors and Grand Marais in 1879.

Bicycling Craze in Minnesota, 1890s

In the 1890s, after bicycles became more comfortable and affordable, bicycling swept the nation, Minnesota included. Minnesotans who embraced bicycling at this time helped lay the groundwork for a number of lasting changes in American society, from shorter skirts to better roads.

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.

Duluth Incline Railway

In December 1891, the Duluth Street Railway Company opened an Incline railway on the right-of-way of Seventh Avenue West. The company had received a charter from the state in 1881 to build a streetcar line for Duluth, and this railway was part of the larger system. The hillside was too steep for a regular rail line, and cable powered lines were often used in similar situations.

Duluth Ship Canal Opening, 1871

The opening of the Duluth Ship Canal in 1871 was a historical turning point for the city of Duluth and the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior.

Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Depot, Endion

Admired for its jewel-like character, the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range depot at Endion was constructed in 1899. The depot was designed by notable Duluth architect I. Vernon Hill, and it is one of the last small passenger depots of its kind.

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.

Hesper

Launched in 1890, Hesper was a bulk freighter with a forward pilot-house, designed to haul loads like grain and iron ore across the Great Lakes. With masts and a steam engine, Hesper was a hybrid that reflected the transition from wind-powered vessels to mechanically propelled ships.

Lowry, Thomas (1843–1909)

Thomas Lowry was one of the most influential and admired men in Minneapolis at the time of his death in 1909. Streetcars, railroads, libraries, and many other endeavors benefited from his involvement.

Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (Soo Line)

The Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, commonly known as the Soo Line from a phonetic spelling of Sault, helped Minnesota farmers and millers prosper by hauling grain directly from Minneapolis to eastern markets.

Minnesota Stage Company

When James C. Burbank began his transportation business in 1851, it was a one-man operation. By 1859, Burbank's Minnesota Stage Company controlled all the major stagecoach lines in the state. In the years before railroads linked Minnesota, the Minnesota Stage Company played a crucial role in shaping the commercial and social life of the young state.

Motorettes

Before World War II, operating streetcars was considered a man’s job. A 1916 Twin City Rapid Transit (TCRT) report shows sixty-eight female employees out of a workforce of 4,300, and those few were telephone operators and clerical office workers.

Pelican Valley Navigation Company

Flowing out of Detroit Lake to the southwest, short segments of the Pelican River connect a string of five large lakes and two small ones. From 1889 to 1918, steamboats, launches, and a system of locks and channels connected this chain of lakes, which stretches twelve miles southwest from the town of Detroit Lakes.

Pietenpol Airplanes

When Bernard Pietenpol started to build airplanes in his Cherry Grove workshop, he'd never actually piloted one. He only learned to fly once he had built his first plane. Nevertheless, Pietenpol's popular designs for lightweight, easy-to-construct airplanes made him the "father of the homebuilt aircraft movement."

Sell, Elmer, 1901–1965 and Sell Airfield

Carver County made its mark on aviation history thanks to local aviation pioneer Elmer Sell. Owner of the first airplane in Carver County, Sell founded Sell Airfield and had a flying career spanning four decades.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse opened in the summer of 1910 to guide bulk ore ships sailing near Lake Superior's rocky coast. By 1940, its picturesque North Shore setting had made it one of the most visited lighthouses in the United States.

St. Paul's Original High Bridge

When St. Paul's High Bridge opened in 1889, only one bridge in the United States surpassed it in height and length. Built of wrought iron and designed for wagons, the High Bridge served mainly cars and trucks. It was demolished in 1985 after ninety-six years of service.

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

Built over the course of twenty-two months in 1882 and 1883, the Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is a feat of engineering and a reminder of the importance of rail traffic in the late nineteenth century.

The Yeovil Colony

In 1873, George Rodgers led immigrants from southwest England to establish the Yeovil Colony in the Red River Valley on land purchased from the Northern Pacific Railroad. Despite high hopes, the settlement of New Yeovil crumbled soon after it began.