August 16, 2006
Well known blogger Jason Kottke gives some major props to the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. He's absolutely right. Check out the museum if you get a chance.
May 21, 2006
I've always thought the Head House grain elevator just west of downtown St. Paul is actually one of the cooler buildings along the Mississippi River. It's a narrow concrete building that rises six stories. It was originally a grain elevator built between 1927 and 1931. It isn't exactly an architectural treasure (it's ugly), but it's still cool.
Current plans are to restore the Head House grain elevator and attached Sack House and turn the Sack House into a restaurant and the grain elevator into an interpretive center. A design contest was held to come up with plans for reuse, but funding hasn't come together yet and the grain eleavtor still sits. The St. Paul Riverfront Corporation offers history on the Head House:
The Head House (elevator) and Sack House complex was built between 1927 and 1931 as part of the Equity Cooperative Exchange. The buildings, perched on piers over the river, are rare remnants of Saint Paul’s early twentieth century port history. They are nationally significant as the remaining elements of the first successful grain terminal elevator owned and operated by a farm cooperative in America. At the height of operations, the facility boasted 90 grain silos, a small mill, the Head House for loading grain into barges and rail cars, and the Sack House for sacking milled flour.
The Action Squad offers an inside look at the grain elevator for anyone tempted to sneak in themselves but smart enough to avoid the danger. They also reprint a 2002 Pioneer Press article about saving the Head House.
August 30, 2005
While flipping through the book at Barnes & Noble I saw what had to be my favorite pic: A 1930s era picture of Lexington Field on the corner of University & Lexington in St. Paul, where currently a White Castle sits.
August 23, 2005
Who knew the Twin Cities still had street cars? There was all kinds of history in the local papers when the light rail line opened, but I didn't realize there were still street cars running.
The Minnesota Street Car Museum runs a line between Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. There's also one in Excelsior. It's not exactly convenient transportation, but it's some pretty cool history.
August 15, 2005
More than 140 years ago Union soldiers stationed at Fort Snelling carved their names into the bluff. Last December those carvings were uncovered, adding even more history to Fort Snelling.
The three soldiers who carved their names on April 1, 1864 were part of the 25,000 soldiers who called Fort Snelling home during the Civil War. Shortly after the carving the soliders went west to fight the Dakota and then returned to the south to fight in the Civil War.
June 23, 2005
A few weeks back I mentioned the Don Empson book, The Street Where You Live: A Guide to the Street Names of St. Paul, which tells the history of St. Paul street names. I went to the library and borrowed a copy and found some interesting stories.
June 6, 2005
Local historian Don Empson can tell you everything you probably didn't need to know about the name of your street. In the early 1970s his curiousity led him to write The Street Where You Live: A Guide to the Street Names of St. Paul, a book that's now out of print (though available at most libraries), though he's working on an update for 2006.
Lexington Parkway, for example, was named by an English-born developer in 1871 after his wife complained about the Anglicized names such as Avon, Oxford and Milton. So the developer went with Lexington to honor the Revolutionary War battle.
May 23, 2005
A Minnesota missionary family rescued from the Japanese-controlled Philippine islands in 1944 was part of a larger effort to secure lost Japanese war plans. The entire story is part of a documentary on the History Channel based on the book The Rescue.
The Lindholm family were Presbyterian missionaries in the Philippines and for two and a half years they and their four children lived in hiding in the mountains of the Philippines to avoid capture by the Japanese.