For this post, I thought I'd take a rare leave from politics and current events to feature something different. My cousin Nancy Thoraldson recently sent me these tidbits about our state of residence, Minnesota. As you will see, we Minnesotans have contributed far more to the nation, and things of far greater relevance, substance, and value, than Jesse Ventura or Michele Bachmann (who is actually a Minnesota anamoly). I hope you'll enjoy this uncharacteristic trip through trivialand with us!
1. The late Minnesota baseball commentator Halsey Hall was the creator of the phrase "holy cow."
2. The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields or a total of 9.5 million square feet.
3. Products invented in Minnesota include: masking tape, Scotch tape, Wheaties, Bisquick, the Bundt pan, HMOs, Aveda beauty products, and Green Giant vegetables!
4. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 allowing oceangoing ships to reach Duluth, now an international port. Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin are ranked the 3rd and 4th largest ports in the world. If counted together they would be the world's largest port.
5. Minneapolis is home to the oldest continuously running theater (Old Log Theater) and the largest dinner theater (Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in the country.
6. The original name of the settlement that became St. Paul was "Pig's Eye," named for a French‐Canadian whiskey trader, Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, who had led squatters to the settlement.
7. The world's largest pelican stands at the base of Mill Pond dam on the Pelican River in downtown Pelican Rapids. The 15 1/2 foot tall concrete statue was built in 1957.
8. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
9. The Guthrie Theater is the largest regional playhouse in the
10. Minneapolis' famed skyway system connects 52 blocks (nearly five miles) downtown, making it possible to live, eat, work and shop without going outside.
11. Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city in the country.
12. The climate‐controlled Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is the only facility in the country to have hosted a Super Bowl, a World Series, and an NCAA Final Four basketball championship.
13. Minnesota, due to its more than 10,000 lakes, has 90,000 miles of shoreline, which is more than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined!
14. The nation's first Better Business Bureau was founded in Minneapolis in 1912.
15. The first open heart surgery and first bone marrow transplant in the United States were both done at the University of Minnesota.
16. Bloomington and Minneapolis are the two northernmost ciNes to host a World Series game.
17. Madison, MN is the "lutefisk capitol" of the United States.
18. Rochester is home to the world famous Mayo Clinic. The clinic is a major teaching and working facility known worldwide for its doctors' expertise and the latest methods of cancer treatments.
19. The Bergquist cabin, built in 1870 by John Bergquist, a Swedish immigrant, is the oldest house in Moorhead still on its original site.
20. For many years, the world's largest twine ball has sat in
Darwin. It weighs 17,400 pounds, is twelve feet in diameter, and
was the creation of Francis A. Johnson.
21. The stapler was invented in Spring Valley.
22. In 1956, Southdale, in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina (pronounced "ee-DIE-nuh") , was the first enclosed climate-controlled shopping mall.
23. Private Milburn Henke of Hutchinson was the first enlisted man to land with the first American expediNonary force in Europe in WWII on January 26, 1942.
24. Water skis were invented in 1922 by Ralph W. Samuelson, who steam‐bent 2 eight‐foot‐long pine boards into skis. He took his first ride behind a motorboat on Lake Pepin in Lake City.
25. Since 1973, in Olivia, a single, half‐husked corn cob towers over a
roadside gazebo. It is 25 feet tall, made of fiberglass.
26. The first children's department in a library was established
at the Minneapolis Public Library. They separated children's
books from the rest of their collecNon in 1889.
27. The first automatic pop‐up toaster was marketed in 1926 by McGraw Electric Company of Minneapolis under the name "Toastmaster." The retail price was $13.50.
28. On September 2, 1952, a five‐year‐old girl was the first patient to undergo a heart operation in which the "deep freezing" technique was employed. Her body temperature, except for her head, was reduced to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Dr. Floyd Lewis at the Medical School of the University of Minnesota performed the operation.
29. The first aerial ferry was put into operation in 1905 over the ship canal between Duluth and Minnesota Point. It had room enough to accommodate six automobiles, and the roundtrip took 10 minutes.
30. Rollerblades were the first commercially successful in‐line roller skates. Minnesota students Scott and Brennan Olson invented them in 1980, when they were looking for a way to practice hockey during the off‐season. Their design was an ice hockey boot with 3 inline wheels instead of a blade.
31. The first intercollegiate basketball game was played in Minnesota on February 9, 1895.
32. In 1919 a Minneapolis factory turned out the nation's first armored cars.
33. Tonka Trucks were developed and manufactured in Minnetonka.
34. The Hormel Company of Austin, MN marketed the first canned ham in 1926 and introduced Spam in 1937.
35. Introduced in 1963, the Control Data 6600, designed by Control Data CorporaNon, was the first "super" computer. It was used by the military to simulate nuclear explosions and break Soviet codes as well as to model complex phenomena such as hurricanes and galaxies.
36. 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 Three Musketeers bar, which contained three bars in one wrapper, each with a different flavor nougat, in 1937. Mars is buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
37. A Jehovah's Witness was the first patient to receive a transfusion of artificial blood in 1979 at the University of Minnesota Hospital. He had refused a transfusion of real blood because of his religious beliefs.
38. Minnesota has one recreational boat per every six people, more than any other state.
39. There are 201 lakes named Mud Lake, 154 named Long Lake, and 123 named Rice Lake in Minnesota.
40. The Hull‐Rust mine in Hibbing is the largest open‐pit mine in the world.
41. Minnesota's waters flow outward in three direcNons: north to Hudson Bay in Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean and south to the Gulf of Mexico. A triple continental divide.
42. At the confluence of the Big Fork and Rainy Rivers on the Canadian border near InternaNonal Falls stands the largest Indian burial mound in the upper midwest, known as the Grand Mound historic site.
43. Author Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on Plum Creek near Walnut Grove.
44. Akeley is birthplace and home of the world's largest Paul Bunyan statue. The kneeling Paul Bunyan is 20 feet tall. He would be 33 feet tall if standing up.
45. Hibbing is the birthplace of the American bus industry. It sprang from the business acumen of Carl Wickman and Andrew Anderson ‐ who opened the first bus line (with one bus) between the towns of Hibbing and Alice in 1914. The bus line later grew to become Greyhound.
46. The first official regular season home run in the brand-new Target Field baseball stadium in Minneapolis was hit by the Minnesota Twins' own Jason Kubel in a 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on April 12, 2010.
47. Polaris Industries of Roseau invented the snowmobile.
48. Twin Cities‐based Northwest Airlines was the first major airline to ban smoking on internaNonal flights.
49. Alexander Anderson of Red Wing discovered the processes to puff wheat and rice giving us rice cakes.
50. The largest Dala horse (a Swedish art form) in North America is in Mora.
So much for Minnesota trivia, folks. Hope you found it interesting. I know that, while I've been away here briefly, the conservative Republicans have been acting up again. So I'll be back calling them on the carpet for their misdeeds very SOON!