Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Thoughts and Prayers

August 2, 2007

Last night, Wednesday, August 1, 2007, at 6:05 p.m. the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed, carrying with it many rush hour commuters. As Governor Tim Pawlenty said, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions for Minnesota. We at the Sesquicentennial Commission office mourn the loss of our fellow citizens. So many of us innocently cross that bridge nearly every day, never thinking something so stunning could happen.

We send out our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who died, and to those who were injured and traumatized. We thank those ordinary citizens and rescuers who reacted so courageously to help people immediately at the site.

As we see our 150th anniversary as a state looming ahead in 2008, we see even more clearly why statehood is so important and so dear. It is a commitment to one another as citizens, to care for each other, and to respond, whether in day-to-day routine life or in a crisis, as a community working and connected together.


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

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

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

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

So you think you’re a Minnesotan?

July 9, 2007


 We hope you tried at least one of the ten activities that were given last week! Here are 10 more things to make sure that you are enjoying the warm days and cool nights that we have here in Minnesota.

140. Explore the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the beautiful artworks and architecture
139. Check out any of the 87 county fairs
138. Go sailing on Lake Superior
137. Go strawberry picking on a warm summer afternoon
136. Visit one of the many farms and milk a cow
135. Lay on the dock on a warm summer night and count the stars
134. Hike on one of the many trails in Minnesota
133. Attend a pot luck, and be sure to enjoy the casseroles
132. Explore the beginning of the Mississippi river
131. Purchase fresh corn and tomatoes from a roadside farmer’s market

Feel free to send in any activities that you enjoy doing in Minnesota!

Posted by: Laura Baratto on July 9, 2007

Anoka County

July 5, 2007

Continuing with our spotlight on Minnesota Counties this week features Anoka, Becker, and Beltrami. As always, if you know of any celebrations, county fairs, or special tidbits your county is known for, e-mail us at and we’ll include your information when we feature your county!

Anoka County
Founded: 23 May 1857
• The area of Anoka County was first founded by fur traders in 1850
• The word Anoka originates from a Native American word meaning “both sides”
Population: 320,803 (2005 Census)
Major towns: Anoka, Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley
Acres: 446 square miles
Location: Anoka County is located in the eastern section of the state, northeast from the Metro area.
Fun facts
• The city of Anoka is considered the Halloween Capital of the world. Be sure to stop by in October for haunted houses and candy!
• This year (2007) Anoka County is celebrating its Sesquicentennial. Happy 150th Birthday!
Public Recreation Sites
• Bunker Hills Regional Park
• Lake George Regional Park
• Locke County Park
• Mississippi West Regional Park
Other Places to Visit
• Wargo Nature Center
• Bunker Beach Water Park
• Anoka County Historical Society
Upcoming Events
• Anoka County Fair, July 24th-29th
• Ghosts of Anoka Tour – summer months only
• Anoka County Heritage Home & Garden Tour, July 15th

**Thanks to the Anoka County Website for the information!

Information gathered by Claire Plank, Sesquicentennial Fellow

Beltrami County

July 5, 2007

Beltrami County
Founded: 17 May 1897
• Named after Italian explorer Count Beltrami
• Was originally part of Becker County, one of the state’s 9 original counties
Population: 43,169
Major towns: Bemidji, Blackduck, Funkley, Kelliher
Acres: 1,604,695
Location: Containing parts of the Red Lake and Leech Lake Indian Reservations, Beltrami county is in Northern Minnesota
Fun facts
• There are 16,887 acres of lakes and 459,851 acres of state forest in Beltrami County
Public Recreation Sites
• Lake Bemidji State Park
• Chippewa Forest
• Red Lakes
Other Places to Visit
• Beltrami County History Center
Upcoming Events
• Beltrami County Fair, July 25th-29th
**Thanks to the Beltrami County and Explore Minnesota websites for the information!

Information gathered by Megan Jung, Sesquicentennial Fellow

Aitkin County

June 28, 2007

Founded: 23 May 1857
• Named after the fur trader William Aitkin
• The Northern Pacific Railroad brought logging and commerce business to the area
Major Industries: agriculture, tourism, forestry
Population: 15, 301
Major towns: Aitkin, Hill City, McGrath, McGregor, Palisade, and Tamarack
Acres: 1,215,669
Location: Containing parts of the Mississippi River and Mille Lacs Lake, Aitkin county is located in the center of Minnesota
Fun facts
• There is only one stoplight in the entire county, at the intersection of Highway 169 and Highway 210 in Aitkin
• There are 123,000 acres of water in Aitkin County, not including rivers
Public Recreation Sites
• Savanna State Park
• Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge
• Hay Lake State campground
• Canoeing rivers
• Maintained public water accesses around county
Other Places to Visit
• Aitkin County Historical Society Depot Museum,
• Jacques Art Center
• Rialto Theatre
Upcoming Events
• Aitkin County Fair, August 1st-4th
• Aitkin Riverboat Heritage Days, July 18th-22nd
• For a complete list of events in Aitkin County, visit, or email
**Thanks to the Aitkin County Website for the information!

Information gathered by Megan Jung, Sesquicentennial Fellow