This Day in Minnesota History

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Today's Date: November 16

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1854

The preparatory (or high school) department of what is now Hamline University opens for business in Red Wing. Named for Leonidas L. Hamline, a Methodist bishop, the school suspends operations in 1869 and reopens in St. Paul in 1880, but its original founding date makes it the oldest college in the state.

1881

Faribault hangs its first street signs.

1883

The steamer Manistee sinks in Lake Superior. It had left Duluth on November 10, but a gale had driven it into port at Bayfield. Captain John McKay tries to force passage on this night, and twenty-three of the sailors aboard are never seen again. A lifeboat carrying three survivors washes ashore a few days later.

1939

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Pierce Butler dies in Washington, D.C. Born near Northfield, Minnesota, on March 17, 1866, Butler was a conservative judge who opposed many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs. Butler was the final justice to pass the bar exam after studying with an attorney rather than attending a law school. He served as lawyer for Ramsey County and as regent for the University of Minnesota before President Warren G. Harding appointed him to the high court in 1922.

2009

The first commuter rail train in Minnesota carries passengers from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. The Northstar Rail Line cost $320 million and is funded by the federal and state governments, the regional rail authorities for Anoka, Hennepin, and Sherburne counties, the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Twins.