Archive for July 2007

So you think you’re a Minnesotan?

July 31, 2007


150 things to do in Minnesota:

Now that summer is half way over, we hope that you have had time to experience some of the many activities that we have here in Minnesota! Here are ten more things to add to your list of things to do with the weeks left of summer!

110. Canoe down a river
109. Find an old mining pit up in the Iron range and go swimming in it
108. Attend a local county street dance
107. Shop around in uptown Minneapolis
106. Sing karaoke at a local bar
105. Dine at one of the many restaurants downtown Minneapolis
104. Visit the Forest History Center in Grand Rapids, MN

103. Eat at a Zorbaz on one of the many lakes around Minnesota
102. Visit the Paisley Park studio
101. Visit the Treaty History center in St. Peter, MN

posted by: Laura Baratto


County of the week – Brown County

July 27, 2007

Brown County

Founded: 20 February 1855


• The county was named for Joseph Renshaw Brown who came to Minnesota in 1819
• On February 18, 1856, the Territorial Legislature declared Brown County an organized county and established New Ulm as the county seat.
• Germans populated most of the earliest settlement however, the Norwegians discovered the beautiful lake county in the southeastern Brown County
• An impetus was given to expanded settlement by the coming of the railroad to the county in 1872. By 1899 railroad transportation covered the south part of the county with stations in Comfrey in Bashaw Township and Hanska in Lake Hanska Township.
• Brown County is agriculturally oriented. In 2005, manufacturing was the largest of 20 major sectors. It had an average wage per job of $38,306.

Major Industries:

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting, Manufacturing, Mining.

Population: 26, 911 (2000 Census)

Cities: Cobden, Comfrey, Evan, Hanska, Nedw Ulm, Sleepy Eye, Springfield.

Recreational opportunities:

County Fair
 Historical Sites.

Upcoming Events

• Bock Fest
• Brown County Fair
• Fasching
• Flandrau Fest
• Heritagefest
• Oktoberfest
• Corn Days
• Syttende Mai (sent de my)
• Nativity Pageant
• For a complete list of events in Brown County, visit

Thanks to the Brown County Website for the information!

Information gathered by Eric Anunobi, Sesquicentennial Fellow

County of the week

July 26, 2007


Blue Earth County
• Founded March 5, 1853
Location and Major towns:
• Located in southern Minnesota
• Top 5 are:
o German
o Norwegian
o Irish
o English
o Swedish
• Blue Earth became home to many different ethnic immigrants and Yankee settlers.
• Cities: Amboy, Cambria, Eagle Lake, Garden City, Good Thunder, Judson, Lake Crystal, Madison Lake, Mankato, Mapleton, Minnesota Lake, North Mankato, Pemberton, Skyline, St. Clair, Vernon Center

• 55,941
Fun fact:
• “Blue Earth” is a translation of the Dakota Indian word “mahkato” meaning bluish green earth.
• Mankato was actually supposed to be spelled “mahkato”, but there was a spelling error

Upcoming events:
• Blue Earth County Fair is coming up on August 2-5
• For a complete list of events visit

Thanks to the Blue Earth County Website for the information!

Information gathered by Eric Anunobi, Sesquicentennial Fellow

So you think you’re a Minnesotan?

July 24, 2007

Minnesota is full of things to do! Here are ten more exciting activities to partake in during the warm summer days and cool summer nights in Minnesota!


120. Visit Judy Garland’s (Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz) birth place in Grand Rapids
119. Sit and listen to a rainstorm with loved ones
118. Dine at Mickey’s diner in St. Paul
117. Tour the science museum, where there’s always a new and exciting exhibit
116. Spend a day at Lake Nokomis in St. Paul
115. Visit the Iron range and see where the largest percentage of iron ore is produced
114. Explore Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, MN
113. Jog, bike, walk, or rollerblade around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis
112. See the Mississippi Melodie showboat performance in Grand Rapids
111. Spend a day learning about the animals at the famous Como Zoo

posted by: Laura Baratto on July 24, 2007

Wahkon, Minnesota celebrates its Centennial!

July 23, 2007

Hi — greetings from Jane Leonard, Sesquicentennial Executive Director. I just returned tonight from Wahkon, MN, the community I consider my hometown. Wahkon is celebrating its Centennial this summer and the big event is next month, August 17-19, 2007, with fireworks, parade and an all-around good time planned.


The picture you see is of my niece Jane, and me, at Centennial headquarters. We represent the 4th and 5th generation of Bezansons and the 4th and 5th generations of Bergs, early white settlers to this region on the south end of Lake Mille Lacs in east central Minnesota. I was named after my great-great Aunt Jane Bezanson, and my niece Jane, was named after me.

My great-grantparents came to Minnesota from Nova Scotia and Sweden in the closing days of the 19th century and made it up to Wahkon and Isle Harbor Township at the turn of the 20th century as the little city on the south end of Lake Mille Lacs was just beginning. My great-grandparents helped start the Presbyterian church there that is also celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year. Like many Minnesotans, generations of our family have stayed connected through the years to communities like Wahkon. I spent every summer of my childhood at my grandparents farm there and now co-own the farm.

It was a truly amazing day at Wahkon Presbyterian, where generations of many families gathered and reminisced and looked toward the future together. I am blessed to have such a strong, loving group of people continue, to this day, to care about me and one another. The pastor spoke of connectedness, and another pastor, one of my favorites from growing up, talked about how this church family was so aware of what was going on in the world and so engaged in doing good works in that world. Such grace and faithfulness is inspiring.

So you think you’re a Minnesotan?

July 19, 2007

150 things to do in Minnesota


 Thanks to those of you who added one of your own favorite activities in Minnesota. Here are another ten, be sure to try at least one of them this week or weekend!

130. Four wheel up in the Iron Range
129. See if you can catch a walleye on one of the 10,000 lakes
128. Get a taste of the SPAM museum in Austin
127. Take a tour of the Minnesota State capitol
126. See a production at the Guthrie theatre
125. Visit the Mall of America
124. Set up a slip n’ slide on a hot summer day and spend hours sliding through it
123. Rope swing into the lake in the summertime
122. Visit International falls….where it is only 60 degrees in the summer!
121. Attend WE fest up by Detroit lakes, and experience a weekend of camping and country music!

posted by: Laura Baratto July 19, 2007

County of the week – Becker

July 19, 2007

Here is another county worth visiting!! The county that WE Fest is held in, a weekend of country music and camping!!

Becker County:

Founded: 18 March 1858.

History: Named after Brigadier General George Loomis Becker, a lawyer and politician.

Major Industries: Agriculture, tourism, fishing.

Population: 30,000 in 2000

Major towns: Audubon, Callaway, Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Lake Park, Ogema, Pine Point, Wolf Lake.

Fun facts: Becker County will soon have a 70-mile all-terrain vehicle/off-highway motorcycle (ATV/OHM) trail. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently took requests for possible sites for an off-road/ATV trail, and Becker County came out the winner. The new trail will be planned, designed and constructed on a mix of state and county-administered forest lands located in north and south Round Lake Townships in north-central Becker County.
  According to the DNR, the trail should be ready by summer 2007.

Public Recreation Sites:

a. 10K Lakes Festival:
  Each July, the town hosts the 10,000 Lakes Festival, a large festival with past acts including Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh, The String Cheese Incident, Trey Anastasio, The Black Crowes, The Asllman Brothers and numerous others. The three-day concert attracts around 25,000 people.

b. Becker County Fair:
  In July, the Becker County Fair offers a midway, various agricultural exhibits, a variety of food and drink vendors, a demolition derby, various business, political and non-profit organizational booths.

c. We Fest:
  Each August the town hosts WE Fest, one of the largest country music festivals. Campgrounds packed with tents surround a huge stage, and the three-day concert attracts around 50,000 music- lovers each summer. The 2007 lineup includes Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, The Wreckers and more. WE Fest has helped spur economic growth within the town.

Other Places to Visit:

d. Detroit Lakes Angels Baseball:
  The Detroit Lakes Angels, a recently resurrected Minnesota Amateur Baseball League team, joins 5 other area teams in the Hi- 10 Conference for the 2007 season. The team is comprised of seasoned baseball veterans and young prospects, with the team ranging in age from 18-35. Many players have college-level baseball experience.

e. Washington Ballpark
• Situated on 8.1 acres on Washington Avenue, just down the street from the mile-long city beach, Washington Ballpark is a facility built in the 1920s. The park is owned and operated by the City of Detroit Lakes Parks Department. The park plays host to the Detroit Lakes Angels of the Minnesota Amateur Baseball League, Hi-10 Conference, Little League Baseball, American Legion Summer Baseball, and the Detroit Lakes High School varsity baseball team. The park was recently upgraded with a new concessions building. An ongoing problem with the park is flooding, especially in the early months of spring.

Upcoming Events:

For a complete list of events in Becker County, visit
**Thanks to the Becker County Website and Wikipedia for the information!

Information gathered by Eric Anunobi, Sesquicentennial Fellow

July 18, 2007


Big Stone County
Founded: 20 February 1862

• Named after Big Stone Lake. The name was a translation of a Sioux name for the outcrops of granite and gneiss found in the Minnesota Valley nearby.
Evidence of recent prehistoric occupancy of Big Stone County by an Indian-like race abound. Following the Indian outbreak, western Minnesota was practically deserted, except for soldiers stationed at various points, who patrolled the frontier to protect the settlements farther east. Thus, Sioux bands of Sisseton and Walperton continued for some years to wander over the nearby Dakota prairies to which they had fled. Fear of all Indians was intense at this time. Settlement of the Big Stone area was thus delayed. In August 1870, there were 6 houses in the County, and 2 families. Following Government surveys made in 1871 and 1872, people came in gradually, and by the spring of 1875, there were 85 families in the County.

Major Industries: Farming, granite mining.

Population: 5820 (2000 Census)

Cities: Barry, Beardsley, Clinton, Correll, Graceville, Johnson, Odessa, Ortonville.

County Seat: Ortonville


Total: 522 sq. miles.
Land: 497 sq. miles
Water: 31 sq. miles


Big Stone County is situated on the western border of the State almost midway between the north and south boundaries. It has Traverse County and a part of Stevens County on the north, Stevens and Swift Counties on the east, Lac qui Parle County and the Minnesota River on the south, and the Minnesota River, Big Stone Lake and the State of South Dakota on the west. The county has a total area of 522 square miles of which 31 are water.

Recreational opportunities:

Hunting and Fishing.

Public Recreation Sites
• Ortonville Golf Course.
• Graceville Golf Course.
• Toqua Park
• Big Stone Lake State Park
• Bonanza State Park and Education Center.
• Minnkota Archery Range.
• Big Stone Federal Wildlife Refuge

Upcoming Events
• Big Stone County Fair, July 12 to 15, 2007.
• For a complete list of events in Big Stone County, visit

Thanks to the Big Stone County Website for the information!

Information gathered by Eric Anunobi, Sesquicentennial Fellow

County of the week – Benton County

July 18, 2007

Here is another interesting county, check out the facts, and add any that you know of! 

Benton County
Founded: 27 October 1849

• Named after Thomas Hart Benton, a U.S. Senator from Missouri, who lived from 1821 to 1851
• Fur trading and lumbering first drew settlers to the County.

Major Industries: Agriculture, services, granite mining, non-durable goods,
  manufacturing, retail, durable goods manufacturing.

Population: 34, 226 (2000 Census)

Cities: Foley, Gilman, Rice, Ronneby, Royalton, Sartell, Sauk Rapids,
  St. Cloud


• Lake Maria State Park
• Charles A. Lindbergh State Park
• Benlacs State Wildlife Management Area.
• Bibles State Wildlife Management Area.
• Lions Park
• Riverside Park.
• Sartell State Wildlife Management Area.
• Wilson Park.
• Wisneski State Wildlife Management Area.

Other Places to Visit
• Benton County Historical Society and Museum.

Upcoming Events
• Benton County Fair, July 31, to August 5, 2007.
• For a complete list of events in Benton County, visit

Thanks to the Benton County Website for the information!

Information gathered by Eric Anunobi, Sesquicentennial Fellow

Hot Dish versus Casserole

July 10, 2007

Bryan brings up a great issue below. Is it hot dish or casserole? We wanted to go to the experts to find out. Please let us know what you think.

  Hot dish or casserole – which do you use?

  1) Hot dish
2) Casserole

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