Mixture of Minnesota Trivia and Facts!

1. The Minnesota lake with the most shoreline is Lake Vermillion.

2. The Minnesota Gold Rush was in 1865 and began at Lake Vermillion.

3. Saganaga Lake is the deepest lake in Minnesota, it also produced the largest Walleye ever caught in Minnesota weighing in at 17 lbs. 8 oz. in 1975!

4. There are 12,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Minnesota, more than any other state in the nation.

5. Named after French explorer Daniel Graysolon Sieur du Luth Duluth is the largest freshwater port in the world. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 allowing oceangoing ships to reach Duluth.

6. St. Louis county, the largest county in Minnesota, has more acres than the entire state of Connecticutt.

7. Home to the Jolly Green Giant is Le Seur.

8. Casey Jones was the engineer of Old No. 201 which is on display in Owatonna.

9. The Greyhound Bus Line was started in Hibbing when the town had to be moved for mine expansion.

10. Minnesotan baseball commentator Halsey Hal was the first to say ‘Holy Cow’ during a baseball broadcast.

11. The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields — 9.5 million square feet. Does that mean you can shop til you drop??

12. Some of the most notable of Minnesota Inventions are: Masking and Scotch tape, Wheaties cereal, Bisquick, HMOs, the bundt pan, Aveda beauty products, and Green Giant vegetables.

13. Minneapolis is home to the oldest continuously running theater (Old Log Theater) and the largest dinner theater (Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in the country.

14. Don’t miss the world’s largest pelican which stands at the base of the Mill Pond dam on the Pelican River, right in downtown Pelican Rapids. The 15 1/2 feet tall concrete statue was built in 1957.

15. Do you love sculpture gardens? If so you should know that the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.

16. Minneapolis’ famed skyway system connecting 52 blocks (nearly five miles) of downtown makes it possible to live, eat, work and shop without going outside.

17. Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city in the country.

18. The climate-controlled Metrodome (which replaced the old Met Stadium) is the only facility in the country to host a Super Bowl, a World Series and a NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship.

19. Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.

20. The first open heart surgery and the first bone marrow transplant in the United States were done at the University of Minnesota.

21. Madison is the “Lutefisk capital of the United States”.

22. Rochester, in the southeast corner of the state, is home of the world famous Mayo Clinic. The clinic is a major teaching and working facility. It is known world wide for its doctor’s expertise and the newest methods of treatments.

23. The Bergquist cabin, built in 1870 by John Bergquist, a Swedish immigrant, is the oldest house in Moorhead still on its original site.

24. Private Milburn Henke of Hutchinson was the first enlisted man to land with the first American Expeditionary Force in Europe in WWII on January 26, 1942.

25. In Olivia a single half-husked cob towers over a roadside gazebo. It is 25 feet tall, made of fiberglass, and has been up since 1973.

26. The first Children’s department in a Library is said to be that of the Minneapolis Public Library, which separated children’s books from the rest of the collection in Dec. 1889

27. The first Automatic Pop-up toaster was marketed in June 1926 by McGraw Electric Co. in Minneapolis under the name Toastmaster. The retail price was $13.50.

28. The first Intercollegiate Basketball game was played in Minnesota on February 9,1895.

29. In 1919 a Minneapolis factory turned out the nations first armored cars.

30. Tonka Trucks were developed and are continued to be manufactured in Mound.

31. Hormel Company of Austin marketed the first canned ham in 1926. Hormel introduced Spam in 1937. Although you don’t see many canned hams anylonger you certainly see Spam!

32. Introduced in August 1963, The Control Data 6600, designed by Control Data Corp. of Chippewa Falls, was the first Super Computer. It was used by the military to simulate nuclear explosions and break Soviet codes. These computers also were used to model complex phenomena such as hurricanes and galaxies.

33. Candy maker Frank C. Mars of Minnesota introduced the Milky Way candy bar in 1923. Mars marketed the Snickers bar in 1930 and introduced the 5 cent Three Musketeers bar in 1937. The original 3 Musketeers bar contained 3 bars in one wrapper. Each with different flavor nougat. Wouldn’t that be lovely to have remained the same?

34. Minnesota has one recreational boat per every six people, more than any other state.

35. There are 201 Mud Lakes, 154 Long Lakes, and 123 Rice Lakes commonly named in Minnesota.

36. Minnesota’s waters flow outward in three directions: north to Hudson Bay in Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

37. Akeley is birthplace and home of world’s largest Paul Bunyan Statue. The kneeling Paul Bunyan is 20 feet tall. He might be the claimed 33 feet tall, if he were standing.

38. Polaris Industries of Roseau invented the snowmobile.

39. Twin Cities-based Northwest Airlines was the first major airline to ban smoking on international flights.

40. In 1898, the Kensington Rune stone was found on the farm of Olaf Ohman, near Alexandria. The Kensington Rune stone carvings allegedly tell of a journey of a band of Vikings in 1362.

41. Iowa, Wisconsin, S. Dakota, N. Dakota, and Michigan (via Lake Superior) each border Minnesota.

42. Name the fictional Minnesota town popularized by Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion is Lake Woebegon.

43. Charles Lindbergh was the first Minnesotan to fly solo across the Atlantic to Europe.

44. The University of Minnesota sports team is known as the Gophers. The Professional Football team are the Vikings.

45. Charles Shultz, the creator of the Peanuts comic, was from Minnesota.

46. Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing has been brightening white laundry since 1883 and is manufactured in Bloomington. A traveling salesman, Al Stewart, began mixing the liquid bluing in his home in the 1870s and sold the rights to the formula to Luther Ford in 1883.

47. One of the state’s nicknames is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but the state actually has 11,842 lakes that are 10 acres or more in size.

48. On the state’s coldest day, the temperature dropped to minus-60 degrees on Feb. 2, 1996, near Tower (pop. 479).

49. Built on a hilltop near Hampton (pop. 986) is one of the nation’s largest Cambodian Buddhist temples. The 50-foot-high ornate temple took five years to build and replicates the traditional holy structures of Southeast Asia.

50. The Steamboat Minnehaha gliding on Lake Minnetonka between Excelsior (pop. 2,393) and Wayzata (pop. 4,113) is an early 1900s “streetcar boat,” built by the Twin City Rapid Transit Co. The steamboat resembles a streetcar, right down to its split-cane seats.

51. Completed in 1929 and modeled on the Washington Monument, the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis was the first skyscraper built west of the Mississippi River.

52. Underwater Adventures Aquarium, located beneath the Mall of America in Bloomington, teems with 4,500 sea creatures, including sharks, stingrays and sea turtles, in 1.2 million gallons of water.

53. In Aitkin (pop. 1,984), fishermen decorate their ice fishing shacks and parade them down Main Street during the wacky World Famous Fish House Parade on the day after Thanksgiving.

54. Hats off to this guy! Pioneers and Civil War soldiers aren’t forgotten by Korean War veteran Charles Rieland of Delano (pop. 3,837), who scours old cemeteries and overgrown burial sites in Wright County and nearby counties for unmarked graves. His research has led to marking the graves of more than 85 veterans and 200 pioneers with headstones and crosses.

55. The original Lois Lane in The Adventures of Superman movie in 1948 was Noel Neill, born in 1920 in Minneapolis. Thirty years later, she played Lois Lane’s mother in Superman: The Movie, and last year, Neill played dying heiress Gertrude Vanderworth in Superman Returns.

56. The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, a nearly 400-mile race along Lake Superior’s North Shore, is named for Beargrease, a Chippewa Indian who delivered mail, often by dogsled, in the 1880s and 1890s.

57. A water tower in Pequot Lakes (pop. 947) is painted like a giant bobber. Sounds fishy, but locals claim the bobber belonged to that giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan who reeled a 40-foot walleye from the lake and snagged his line on the tower scaffolding. Ya sure, ya betcha.

58. Longville (pop. 180) calls itself the “Turtle Racing Capital of the World” and holds turtle races down Main Street every Wednesday during the summer. Turtles are available for contestants who don’t happen to have one.

59. The “Curling Capital of the United States” is Bemidji (pop. 11,917), where the men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic curling teams are based.

60. Madison (pop. 1,768) is the self-proclaimed “Lutefisk Capital of the World,” where the town mascot is a 25-foot-long codfish statue aptly named Lou T. Fisk. Loved or loathed, lutefisk is a traditional Scandinavian dish of dried cod treated with lye. Lutefisk-eating contests are held during Madison’s annual Norsefest each November.

61. Actor James Arness, who was born in 1923 in Minneapolis, lassoed the role of Marshal Matt Dillon for the television Western Gunsmoke from 1955 to 1975. John Wayne (born in Winterset, Iowa) declined the role and recommended his 6-foot-7-inch friend.

62. Millions of undeliverable letters and packages wind up in the U.S. Postal Service’s Mail Recovery Center, formerly called “the dead letter office.” The St. Paul office is one of three such centers where letters are shredded and unclaimed items are auctioned. Bet you always wondered what happened to all those things..now you know and can go to the auction!

63. Red Wing (pop. 16,116) Shoe Co. built the world’s largest leather boot, size 638 1/2 D, which is 20 feet long and 16 feet tall and weighs 2,300 pounds. The style was Red Wing’s signature work boot.

64. Roger “Bucky” Legried, a farmer in Frost (pop. 251), whose collection of ball caps now tops 70,200 and fills two 48-foot semitrailers. He believes he has the world’s largest collection.

65. A survey crew’s error in 1882 left 144 acres of the Chippewa National Forest unlogged. In the Lost Forty, as the old-growth coniferous forest near Blackduck (pop. 696) is known, towering red and white pines are up to
350+ years old.

66. In August 1805, Army Lt. Zebulon Pike was sent to explore the Mississippi River’s headwaters, gather geographical data and survey sites for military garrisons. Though he incorrectly proclaimed that Cass Lake was the river’s source, he did succeed in buying land from the Dakota Indians, which later became the site of Fort Snelling.

67. Of the state’s 17 species of snakes, two are venomous: the timber rattlesnake and massasauga. Both snakes are found only in the state’s southeastern region.

68. The Mississippi River begins its 2,348-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico in Itasca State Park near Bemidji.

69. Local lore has it that Darfur (pop. 137) was named by Scandinavian railroad men after one asked, “Why you stop dar fur?”

70. Olivia (pop. 2,570) was designated “Corn Capital of the World” in April 2004. The town is home to nine corn research centers and a 50-foot monumental ear of corn.

71. The world’s largest crow, an 18-foot fiberglass sculpture, is displayed in Belgrade (pop. 750).

72. Since 1972, Linda Christensen has sculpted 90-pound blocks of butter into busts of dairy princess contestants at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul.

73. In 1926, Herbert Sellner of Faribault (pop. 20,818) invented and built the Tilt-A-Whirl. Today, a fourth generation keeps the family business whirling. Did you realize how long the Telt-A-Whirl has been around?

74. Wild rice, or manomin, was adopted as the official state grain in 1977. The aquatic grass is often harvested by canoe.

75. The territorial Legislature passed a bill making St. Peter (pop. 9,747) the capital, but lawmaker Joe Rolette, who favored St. Paul, stole the bill and hid until the Legislature adjourned. In 1858, the temporary capital in St. Paul became permanent.

76. Some of the oldest rocks on Earth can be found in the Minnesota River Valley from the end of Lac qui Parle to past Montevideo. Earth is 4.5 billion years old and rocks in this area date back more than 3 billion years.

77. Begun in 1912, the St. Olaf Christmas Festival at St. Olaf College in Northfield (pop. 17,147) is one of the nation’s oldest musical celebrations of Christmas.

78. At Brainerd (pop. 13,178) High School, Bob Johnson teaches the ancient practice of dark house fishing. Ice fishermen in windowless fish houses use decoys to attract and spear fish.

79. Founded by Swedish immigrants in 1862, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter (pop. 9,747) is the state’s oldest Lutheran college.

80. James Madison Goodhue published the territory’s first newspaper, the Minnesota Pioneer, in St. Paul in 1849.

81. Tomato cans and fishing poles were used instead of holes and flags on the state’s first golf course in 1893 at the St. Paul Town and Country Club.

82. With 1.6 million licensed fishermen, the state leads the nation in the sale of fishing licenses per capita.

83. Known as the Home of the Loon, Vergas (pop. 311) has a 20-foot replica of the state bird in its City Park.

84. With seating for nearly 1,000 and covering 90,000 square feet, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Chanhassen (pop. 20,321) is the nation’s largest such establishment.

85. The state’s first public high school opened in Winona (pop. 27,069) in 1860.

86. The Minnesota State Fair, first held in 1859, has been canceled five times. The reasons: the Civil War, a Dakota Indian conflict, a scheduling conflict with the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago, wartime fuel shortages in 1945, and a 1946 polio epidemic.

87. Blue Earth (pop. 3,621) earned its name from the blue-green-colored earth of a bank of shale alongside the Blue Earth River where American Indians got pigments for paint.

88. Southdale Mall in Edina was the world’s first indoor shopping mall in the world when it opened in October 1956

89. The world’s largest wild rice farm is in Clearwater (pop. 821) and covers more than 2,000 acres.

90. The 81-foot Iron Man Statue in Chisholm, Minn., is the third tallest free-standing statue in the nation, following the Statue of Liberty and St. Louis’ “Gateway to the West” arch. The statue is a tribute to the iron ore miners of northeastern Minnesota.

91.  Dr. Spencer holds that patent on microwave popcorn, while the patent on the microwave popping bag is held by Lawrence C. Brandberg and David W. Andreas, who filed for the patent in 1973 while working at Pillsbury.

Conagra Foods ACT I was an early microwave popcorn that had to be stored in the refrigerator. In 1984 ACT II, a shelf-stable microwave popcorn, hit the stage. It was the first mass-marketed microwave popcorn.  Pillsbury is headquartered in Minneapolis.

92.  The climate-controlled Metrodome is the only facility in the country to host a Super Bowl, a World Series and a NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship.

93.  The stapler was invented in Spring Valley.

94.  The first Aerial Ferry was put into Operation on April 9, 1905, over the ship canal between Duluth to Minnesota Point. It had room enough to accommodate 6 automobiles. Round trip took 10 min.

95.  In 1919 a Minneapolis factory turned out the nations first armored cars.

96.  Hibbing is the birthplace of the American bus industry. It sprang from the business acumen of Carl Wickman and Andrew “Bus Andy” Anderson – who opened the first bus line (with one bus) between the towns of Hibbing and Alice in 1914. The bus line grew to become Greyhound Lines, Inc.

97.  Downtown Minneapolis is home to the World’s largest continuous network of skyways. The Minneapolis Skyway System spans 8 miles (13 km) and connects 69 city blocks. It allows people to walk in a climate-controlled environment without the need to go outside to go from building to building.

98.  During the winter of 1888, residents of St. Paul built an ice palace for the St. Paul Winter Carnival.  At that time, it was considered one of the largest buildings in the world, measuring 14 stories high and covered one acre.

99.  Minnesota has more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state in the country

100.  The world’s first successful human bone marrow transplant was performed at the University of Minnesota in 1968 by University of Minnesota Physicians.


2 Responses

  1. Venita Tesch Cronk

    A really interesting list; however, I noticed one error:
    #30 – Tonka Trucks were originally developed and built in Mound, Minnesota.

  2. The first microwaveable popcorn bag was created by two Pillsbury scientists in 1973.
    The Minneapolis Pillsbury company developed Hungry Jack microwave popcorn. In the mid-70’s Hungry Jack microwave popcorn required refrigeration was sold from vending machines and.

    ACT II, a shelf-stable microwave popcorn, was launched in 1984—the first mass-marketed microwave popcorn. It was manufactured by Golden Valley Microwave Foods (GVMF) company of Edina, Minnesota. The company was purchased by ConAgra Foods in 1991.