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Some Interesting Facts about Minnesota
The lovely countryside of Minnesota has more lakes than any other any state, set in scenery that ranges from refreshing pine forest in the North to fertile prairie farmland in the South.
Minneapolis/St. Paul; they're called the Twin Cities, but historically St. Paul and Minneapolis have been more fraternal than identical. Born in different decades, they spent their formative years growing up on opposite banks of the Mississippi. The more sedate older sibling.
St. Paul, which once had the odd name Pig's Eye, has aged beautifully and is now graced with the state capitol, tree-lined streets, and elegant homes. The other twin, Minneapolis, boasts such a glittering skyline and vibrant arts scene that it's been nicknamed the Minne-Apple, the Upper Midwest 's version of the Big Apple.
Area: 86943 sq.mi, 12th Land 79617 sq. mi., 14th - Water 7326 sq.mi., 7th Great Lakes 2,546 sq.mi.
Over the years these rival siblings have grown closer. Between them their museums now sum up the North Star State's history. Start at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul to see exhibits on everything typically.
Minnesota from A, for animals, like the bison to Z, for below-zero weather. Taylor's Falls; like most frontier towns, Taylor Falls grew up along a highway of water, the St. Croix River, which separates Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the 1850's and 1860's lumbermen built white clapboard homes, like the Greek Revival W.H.C. Folsom House, in the Angel's Hill Historic District, to resemble their houses back east. These pristine homes still nestle high above the St. Croix River--now designated a National Wild and Scenic River but formerly a utilitarian way to transport millions of logs, cut from Minnesota's virgin forests, downstream.
Stillwater: the birthplace of the Minnesota Territory in 1843. Stillwater, once the lumbering capital of the St. Croix River region, attracts day-trippers who admire its historic architecture, antique shops, and the quaint bed-and-breakfasts in lavish mid-19th-century homes.
Red Wing; with dozens of sites on the National Register of Historic Places and three national historic districts. Red Wing is arguably Minnesota's loveliest Mississippi River town.
Wabasha: North of Wabasha, on the road from Red Wing, the Mississippi widens, creating sparkling blue Lake Pepin. Laura Ingalls Wilder, who grew up in several little houses on the prairie, lived for a year--1867--just across the lake, in the woods of Wisconsin.
Rochester: late in the 19th century two young local country doctors joined their father in caring for the sick. The three eventually turned their small practice into a hospital---first called St. Mary's Hospital--that would eventually become one of the most famous in the world. The doctors were William Mayo and his sons William and Charles, and the hospital became the Mayo Clinic.
New Ulm: settled by Germans in the 1850's, the town of New Ulm still serves up the flavor of the old country in its food, architecture, and celebrations. A 45-foot freestanding glockenspiel dominates downtown, with bells that chime on the hour and animated figurines that play programmed pieces three times a day.
Redwood Falls; all around Redwood Falls are historic sites with ties to the 1862 Dakota Conflict, a tragic chapter in Minnesota history in which hundreds of people died.
Northeastern Minnesota: Duluth; the port of Duluth--Superior may be farther inland than 2,000 miles from the sea. This western terminus of the St. Lawrence Seaway, located on Lake Superior at the mouth of the St. Louis River, handles more tonnage than any other city on the Great Lakes.
Savanna Portage; Despite its rather miserable history, Savanna Portage State Park is an excellent spot for a picnic at the right time of year.
This was one portage--a rough six miles through mosquito--infested swamps to reach Big Sandy Lake and the Mississippi River--that even the hardest voyageur dreaded. Today more than 60,000 people a year visit the park to canoe, swim, and fish, but most know enough to stay off the six-mile portage trail in early summer and early fall.
Grand Rapids: here Judy Garland was born Frances Gumm in 1922. In her stage debut, little Frances hammed it up so spectacularly during her parents' vaudeville show--when she ran on stage and interrupted her sister's act--that Mr. Gumm had to forcibly escort his daughter offstage.