The first white settlers came to what is now Blue Earth County in 1852, and discovered an abundance of rich land, streams, rivers, and lakes for survival in southern Minnesota. Showcasing photographs from the area's first 70 years, the Blue Earth County Historical Society has compiled over 200 images of the lifestyles and advancements of its earliest settlers.
The pioneers of Blue Earth County recognized the potential for success at the bend in the Minnesota River, and forged a vibrant community out of the big woods and prairies of southern Minnesota. Pictured here are the fruits of those settlers' labors, seen in vintage images from the townships of Blue Earth County, including life on the farms and in the towns.
Just north of Minneapolis and along the Mississippi River stretch the fertile prairies that attracted French Canadians and New Englanders in 1852. Originally called Brooklyn Township, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center grew as settlers cultivated farms and marketed their produce. One-room schoolhouses evolved into the largest and finest schools in Minnesota while fast-growing industry and commuting replaced the small family farms. The story of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, as told through pictures, old-timer memories, and yellowed newspapers, reveals the lives of loggers, potato farmers, war heroes, and everyday people who found their dreams and quietly raised their families. Over the years, neighborhoods and fashions change as the people continue to take pride in their community s rich history."
Located on the shore of Lake Superior near the Iron Range of Minnesota and, for much of its history, the site of vast steel, lumber, and shipping industries, Duluth has been home to people who worked tirelessly in the rail yards, grain elevators, and harbor. Here, for the first time, By the Ore Docks presents a compelling, full-length history of the people who built this port city and struggled for both the growth of the city and the rights of their fellow workers.In By the Ore Docks, Richard Hudelson and Carl Ross trace seventy years in the lives of Duluth's multi-ethnic working class--Scandinavians, Finns, Italians, Poles, Irish, Jews, and African Americans--and chronicle, along with the events of the times, the city's vibrant neighborhoods, religious traditions, and communities. But they also tell the dramatic story of how a populist worker's coalition challenged the "legitimate American" business interests of the city, including the major corporation U.S. Steel. From the Knights of Labor in the 1880s to the Industrial Workers of the World, the AFL and CIO, and the Democratic Farmer-Labor party, radical organizations and their immigrant visionaries put Duluth on the national map as a center in the fight for worker's rights--a struggle inflamed by major strikes in the copper and iron mines. By the Ore Docks is at once an important history of Duluth and a story of its working people, common laborers as well as union activists like Ernie Pearson, journalist Irene Paull, and Communist party gubernatorial candidate Sam Davis. Hudelson and Ross reveal tension between Duluth's ethnic groups, while also highlighting the ability of the people to overcome those differences and shape the legacy of the city's unsettled and remarkable past. Richard Hudelson is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. He is the author of, among other works, Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century and The Rise and Fall of Communism. Carl Ross (1913-2004) was a labor activist and the author of The Finn Factor in American Labor, Culture, and Society. He was director of the Twentieth-Century Radicalism in Minnesota Project of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Lake Minnetonka is renowned for its natural beauty as well as the prominent people it has attracted to its shores as a historic site of grand hotels, steamboats, and wealthy visitors from around the world, and as the home of the legendary Excelsior Amusement Park. But did you know that early European settlers to the region faced conditions so dire that they named an outlet of the lake "Purgatory Creek"? Or that a ginseng boom brought slaves to Wayzata to harvest the plant's roots? Many know that Frank Lloyd Wright designed famous homes around the lake, but few are aware he was also arrested there for living with his mistress and sent to the Hennepin County jail for "white slavery."
By the Waters of Minnetonka uncovers remarkable and hidden facts about the lake and those who have lived on its shores, from the region's original Dakota inhabitants to the present. Nineteenth-century plantation owners made Minnetonka into a summer vacation playground for the wealthy, and Prohibition-era battles led teetotalers to hoax Minneapolis newspapers about bloody clashes between preachers and saloon owners.
Eric Dregni, who grew up in Minnetonka, sheds light on intriguing, if at times unsettling, aspects of the lake's history, challenging myths and revisiting elements of the past that have been forgotten or glossed over. He also relates--and sometimes pokes fun at--the opulent, glamorous, and sometimes raucous moments that have made Lake Minnetonka an icon of splendid resort living in Minnesota.