“The 1968 Exhibit” at the Minnesota History Center

If you are interested in history, you need to check out the “The 1968 Exhibit” at the Minnesota History Center.
1968 was a pivotal year.
‘68 saw the Tet Offensive, the turning point of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the rise of Black Power, the struggle for women’s rights, the violent conflicts at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the first full-color images of Earth from outer space beamed by Apollo 8.

Through the 1968 exhibit, You will see a Bell UHI “Huey” helicopter (Vietnam-era), the torch from the 1968 Olympics, oral histories from civil rights workers and Vietnam vets, Presidential campaign artifacts, landmark TV, film, and news clips, vintage fashions like a suede vest worn by Jimi Hendrix and a sweater and shoes worn by Fred Rogers on the television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” household items and toys, a full-size replica of the Apollo 8 capsule.

You can also spend some time learning about the legacy of the civil rights movement. You can create screen print posters inspired by the Poor People’s Campaign and the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike.

Marking the 50th anniversary, “The 1968 Exhibit” was developed by the Minnesota History Center, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California. Tom Brokaw, news anchor and author of “Boom! Talking About the Sixties,” served as honorary chair of the project. If you are interested in adding it to your #mnbucketlist, the exhibit runs from now until Jan. 21, 2019.

Paul Bunyan’s Fishing Bobber

Did you know that Pequot Lakes is the home of Paul Bunyan’s Fishing Bobber? Yep, it totally is! A major landmark,  “The World’s Largest Fishing Bobber” sits in Bobber Park. Built in 1960, the former water tower’s claim-to-fame began in 1987 when a when the water tower needed to be painted and then-council member Dale Headlee suggested a change of color from blue. The Pequot Lakes Chamber sponsored a contest for anyone who could come up with a new design for the tower, offering a $100 savings bond to the winner. Nathan Burns, an elementary school student, had the winning pitch. The bobber has since become the symbol of Pequot Lakes. Anywhere you look, you’re bound to find jewelry, mugs, hats, signs, sweatshirts – you name it, emblazoned with the infamous bobber. If you are planning a trip to Pequot Lakes, just, “Find the Bobber … You’re there!”

Grain Belt Brewery

Located on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the heart of one of the country’s strongest arts districts sits the awe-inspiring historic Grain Belt Brewery.
In the early 1890s, four brewers, Heinrich Brewing, Germania Brewing, Norenburg Brewing and Orth Brewing, combined their businesses to create the Minneapolis Brewing and Malting Company, later changing its name to Grain Belt (a nod to the Midwest known as American’s grain belt or breadbasket).
Originally built in 1891, the iconic brewery, in its Romanesque Revival style, looks like a German castle. Just look at the magnificent, original white wrought iron staircase that goes up to the skylight level. Wow.
It remained open even after the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919, producing “near beer” and soft drinks. Closed in 1927 until the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Grain Belt became one of the top breweries nationwide.
In 1969 the company expanded to New Ulm, eventually relocating to St. Louis, leaving the brewery vacant in 1975. The Grain Belt Brewery sat for nearly 30 years. The historic Grain Belt Brewery got a second chance when RSP Architects Ltd. (a worldwide architectural firm) moved to the Historic Grain Belt Brewhouse in 2002 after designing a renovation.
The complex now includes the Pierre Bottineau Branch of the Hennepin County Library, The American Craft Council, two buildings owned by Artspace, the Bottling House and Warehouse, and The Keg House Arts Building.
They do all kinds of events in the different spaces, if you want to see it for yourself!

Relighting the Grain Belt Sign

Welcome to 2018! A great way to open the new year is through bright, shiny, glowing lights! Enter the relighting of the forever iconic Grain Belt Beer Sign!
Grain Belt beer was originally produced by the Minneapolis Brewing Company which formed in 1891. Later produced in the still standing Grain Belt Brewery in Minneapolis, Minnesota until 1976. After prohibition ended, the large billboard was built and erected in 1941 on Nicollet Island for $5,000, remaining a glowing paragon until 1996.
After Grain Belt finally found a new home with the August Schell Brewing Co., the sign was partly financed to Schell’s “Buy a Bulb” program. This Minneapolis landmark joins the recently resurrected glowing signs pressed against the Mississippi skylines.

The Turnblad Mansion at the American Swedish Institute

Hidden in the Phillips West neighborhood of Minneapolis, sits the turn-of-the-20th-century Historic Turnblad Mansion.Built for Swedish immigrants Swan and Christina Turnblad and daughter Lillian who officially lived in the mansion from 1908 to 1929.
Swan Turnblad was a prominent Swedish Minnesotan and the manager, editor, and publisher of Svenska Amerikanska Posten, a Swedish American newspaper.
Fun fact: In the spring of 1899, Turnblad purchased a Waverly Electric car, which was the first commercially produced automobile owned by a Minneapolis resident.
The exquisite old castle is on the corner of East 26th Street and Park Avenue.
Designed after the French Châteauesque architectural style, the 33 room mansion took five years to build.
Turnblad decided to donate his mansion and Svenska Amerikanska Posten to the newly founded “American Institute of Swedish Arts, Literature and Science” now known as the American Swedish Institute (ASI) in 1929.
Turnblad served as the first president of the Institute from 1929 until his death in 1933.
In the 1950s, ASI began displays that showed how Christmas is celebrated in different Scandinavian countries.
This has evolved into an annual display where each room in the mansion is decorated to represent a different country: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark.
I visit every year during the winter solstice celebration to visit the reindeer, make smores in the enchanted forest and see the Fest! Merry Mansion.
In 2012, ASI opened Nelson Cultural Center, a 34,000-square-foot addition includes new gallery space, craft workshop, glass-enclosed reception area, gift shop, restaurant FIKA (named “Best Lunch In Minnesota” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2013) and spaces for concerts, lectures, and community gatherings.

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park 

I was lucky enough to watch the sunrise in Mille Lacs Kathio State Park this morning.  The light peering through the tree line made the perfect brisk backdrop for all the whitetail.  Also known as Kathio Site, the Mille Lacs Kathio State Park preserves habitation sites and mound groups, believed to date between 3000 BC and 1750 AD, that document Sioux Indian culture and Ojibwe-Sioux relationships and contains 19 identified archaeological sites, making it one of the most significant archaeological collections in Minnesota. 

Lyon County Historical Society and Museum

My last stop during the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener was the Lyon County Museum. Nestled in downtown Marshall, the museum is home to the Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) and the Prairieland Genealogical Society. LCHS was formally founded in 1954 and showcases the history of the entire county. It includes resources like obituary files, church and family history books, and other records. In 1957, LCHS created a museum within a Great Northern Railroad baggage coach located alongside the Lyon County Courthouse. Having moved several times since then, the museum finally came to live in the former Marshall Lyon County Library, which provided three floors of space for research, programming, and exhibit galleries.  The exhibits include a real 1950’s Schwan’s ice cream and soda fountain lunch counter, and a full size cabin that had to be dismantled and then reassembled inside the building, and many others you can see pictured. The whole place was packed full of hidden gems and historical hints about what life was like in Lyon county through the years. I had so much fun paging through old Sears catalogues and seeing all the old orange and black high school lettermans jackets. Fun fact about Marshall Senior High School; Walt Jocketty, the former General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sean Tillman, Minneapolis’ infamous Har Mar Superstar are alumni.

Read more about the 7th Annual Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener here.

#onlyinMarshall #mngpho2017 #huntmn

7th Annual Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener

I was lucky enough to attend the 7th Annual Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener (GPHO) in Marshall, Minnesota. Ahem, not to be confused with Marshall County. Over the next two weeks I will be telling you all about my trip and what makes Marshall such an incredible place to visit. I’ll be highlighting a few of my favorite stops including Camden State Park, Shooter’s Sporting Clays, local food, a historical Society and Museum, local organizations, a sprinkle of politics and even a coffee shop along the way!

Let’s talk a little about Marshall. It’s a regional center in southwest Minnesota about 93 miles north east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and about 148 miles south west of Minneapolis. Made mostly of rural and agricultural areas, it is the beginning of the Redwood River floodplain. It is home to the Schwan Food Company, Runnings Farm and Fleet, Southwest Minnesota State University and is also the site of Exelon Wind’s Marshall Wind Project. It was chosen as this years Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener (MNGPHO), an event that was established in 2011 by Gov. Mark Dayton. The MNGPHO focuses on Minnesota’s hunting heritage, cultural traditions and the economic impact of the sport. The weekend included water quality testing on the Redwood River, touring of Action Manufacturing and even the dedication of the James Meger Memorial WMA, Minnesota’s newest Wildlife Management Area.


Follow along as I show you some of my favorite things found #onlyinMarshall.

Munsinger Gardens and the Clemens Gardens

Munsinger Gardens and Clemens Gardens are two distinct, adjacent gardens on the banks of the Mississippi River northwest of the intersection of University Drive and Kilian Blvd near SCSU. Both showcasing the most beautiful parts of a Minnesota summer,

Munsinger Gardens on the lower east bank of the Mississippi River was originally the H.J. Anderson sawmill during the 1880s.  The low river banks made this site ideal for the sawmill. In 1915, the City of St. Cloud acquired Riverside Park and what was to become Munsinger Gardens.  Joesph Munsinger, the first Park Superintendent for the City of St. Cloud, was the catalyst for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration involvement. His passion led to the Park Department’s first greenhouse. The city named the “flower part of Riverside Park” for Munsinger in 1938.

As for the garden on the top of the hill, it was created by a wealthy businessman by the name of Bill Clemens who lived across the street. Bill’s wife Virginia suffered from multiple sclerosis and drew comfort from the view of the gardens. Bill purchased what would become the Clemens Garden and donated it to the City of St. Cloud. He also donated the funding to create what is now the Virginia Clemens Rose Garden.  They donated millions to create a seven-acre European style park adjacent to the existing one, so Virginia would have an even better view from her window. Created in the tradition of the great gardens of Europe, the Formal Garden was the first of six. The others include the Rest Area Garden,  the White Garden, the Perennial Garden, the Treillage Garden and finally, the Virginia Clemens Rose Garden that was inspired by Mrs. Clemens great love of roses; her middle name was “Rose”.  A life-size statue of Virginia Clemens depicts her in her wheelchair with her husband behind her, his hand on her shoulder. The statue faces the nearby rose garden. Serving as an incredibly elaborate memorial, there are 1,100 roses including floribundas, tree roses, hybrid teas, shrub roses, and grandifloras. Notable mentions; the Renaissance Fountain (pictured) with Cranes, features a replica of a sculpture of Hebe, cupbearer to the gods.

The most colorful time to visit the gardens is usually the end of July, but they’re open from late May to late September.