Sunday, January 11, 2009

Food - Thielen's Meats

Pierz, MN



In the central Minnesota town of Pierz, you will find Thielen's Meats, an old fashioned butcher shop and meat market. Thielen's originally opened in 1922 and has generated quite a following. People drive from miles around to sample their assortment of meats, sausages, and of course, their legendary bacon, which generated quite a stir when a 2002 New York Times article extolled its smoky, porky virtues.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Landmarks and History - Grand Marais Lighthouse

Grand Marais, MN



In the scenic town of Grand Marais, you will find this lighthouse overlooking the harbor on Lake Superior. The original wooden lighthouse was built here in 1885, but the current steel structure was built in 1922. The Cook County Historical Society also operates a museum out of the old lighthouse keeper's home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Landmarks and History – Ghost Towns of Carver County

Carver County, MN

Carver County is located in what is now essentially the southwestern corner of the Twin Cities metro area. The Carver Country Historical Society has a very nice web page dedicated to its sesquicentennial. In it, there is a scrapbook page featuring the “ghost towns” in Carver County. There are a number of interesting photographs of these villages that once were, as well as some reasons cited for their disappearances. Even though they no longer exist as viable towns, it is nice to see them recognized as a piece of Minnesota history.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Landmarks and History - Naniboujou Lodge

Grand Marais, MN



Just north of Grand Marais and a few miles south of Hovland on Minnesota Highway 61, you will find Naniboujou Lodge. Sitting on the shores of Lake Superior, this ornate, historic lodge has a history dating back to 1927. Originally starting out as a private club that featured such notable members as Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, today Naniboujou is open to the public for lodging and dining. Their wildly colorful dining room, decorated with Cree Indian designs, is also home to Minnesota's largest native rock fireplace, said to weigh in at around 200 tons.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Landmarks and History - District 6 Schoolhouse

New Sweden Township, MN



Located on Minnesota Highway 22 west of St. Peter, you will find this quaint one-room country schoolhouse that is still standing. It served the New Sweden Township District 6, which was founded in 1863. This schoolhouse was the third school building of the district, built in 1929. The school was closed in 1958 and the district dissolved in 1962. This building is now the New Sweden Town Hall.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Places - Excelsior

Excelsior, MN



Founded in 1853 by a group of New Yorkers, Excelsior maintains its small town feel while being surrounded by rapidly growing suburbs. Excelsior has a rich history as a popular Minnesota vacation destination, given its prime location on the south shore of Lake Minnetonka. It was was also home to the Excelsior Amusement Park from 1925 to 1973.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Landmarks and History – E. St. Julien Cox House

St. Peter, MN



At the corner of North Washington Avenue and Skaro Street in St. Peter, you will find this magnificent house, significant in that it is known as the only Gothic Italianate-style structure in Minnesota. Built in 1871, it belonged to St. Peter’s first mayor, Eugene Saint Julien Cox. Cox eventually became a State Senator and a district judge, and was known to be quite a charismatic politician. Today, the house has been fully restored and is operated as a museum by the Nicollet County Historical Society.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quirky Stuff - Corn Water Tower

Rochester, MN



Near the corner of US Highways 14 and 63 in Rochester, it is impossible to miss the water tower that resembles a giant ear of corn. It is on the property of the old Libby's vegetable packing plant (Libby's is a label now owned by Seneca Foods), and it is rumored to be the world's largest ear of corn.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Landmarks and History - MN's 10 Most Endangered Historic Place of 2008

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has released its 2008 list of the Ten Most Endangered Historic Places. This year’s list includes the following locations:

1. Saint Louis County Jail - Duluth
2. Mantorville Unaffiliated Normal School - Mantorville
3. McGrath Old State Bank - McGrath
4. Layman's/Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery - Minneapolis
5. Oakland Apartments - Minneapolis
6. Peavey Plaza - Minneapolis
7. Saint Anthony Falls Historic District Archaeological Resources - Minneapolis
8. Floral Hall at the Olmsted County Fair Grounds - Rochester
9. St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church - St. Paul
10. The Buch House - Shakopee


The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has a motto of “…to protect, preserve, and promote Minnesota’s historic resources.” 2008 marks the 15th year of the Alliance publishing this listing. According to an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a total of 122 endangered locations have been listed in that time, and two-thirds have been preserved due to the awareness that has been created by this organization.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Landmarks and History - Maine Prairie Corners

Maine Prairie Township, MN



In 1856, settlers from Maine established the village of Maine Prairie in central Minnesota just north of what is now Kimball. A fort once stood here to defend against the native Sioux during the uprising of 1862. Today, the town and fort is gone, and all that is left is a large granite marker commemorating its place in history. The marker was a gift from the Cold Spring Granite Company and was erected in 1949.