Minnesota State Facts - Minnesota History Firsts

Catch up on your state trivia with these Minnesota history firsts and interesting fun facts about the state.

Official Name Minnesota
Capital St. Paul
44.83945 N, 092.99496 W
Constitution Ratified 1858
Statehood May 11, 1858
32nd state
Number of Counties 87 Counties in Minnesota
Largest County
(by population)
Hennepin County
557 sq. mi.

Minnesota History Firsts & State Facts

  • 1832 - Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi River, was discovered and named by Henry R. Schoolcraft.
  • 1849 - Minnesota State Seal - The original design was drawn by Seth Eastman in 1849 and was adopted by the territorial legislature. In 1861 the state legislature adopted the seal (Minn. Laws 1861, Chapter 43). In 1983 the seal was redesigned, adding Norway pines behind Saint Anthony Falls and changing the direction the Indian was riding.
  • 1860 - Between the 1860s and the early 1900s Minnesota was the leading lumber-producing state.
  • 1861 - Minnesota State Motto - L'etoile du Nord (French for "Star of the North"), was formally adopted in 1861. Selected by Henry Sibley for the state seal, the legislature approved both the seal and motto at the same
  • 1870 - Minneapolis and Saint Paul became major cities partly thanks to French immigrant engineer Edmund La Croix, a resident of the area who perfected a device to purify white flour in the early 1870s.
  • 1870 - The Bergquist cabin, built in 1870 by John Bergquist, a Swedish immigrant, is the oldest house in Moorhead still on its original site.
  • 1888 - During the winter of 1888, residents of St. Paul built an ice palace at the winter festival. Before melting, it was considered one of the largest buildings in the world, measuring 14 stories high and covering an acre of land.
  • 1889 - First library to have a Children's department was the Minneapolis Public Library.
  • 1893 - Minnesota State Flag - The design for the state flag was adopted in 1893
  • 1895 - First Intercollegiate Basketball game was played in Minnesota on February 9,1895.
  • 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.
  • 1902 - Minnesota State Flower - Showy Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium reginae,) also known as the pink and white lady slipper, designated in 1967 had been the state flower by resolution since 1902
  • 1905 - 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.
  • 1912 - The nation's first Better Business Bureau was founded in Minneapolis.
  • 1914 - 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. The bus line grew to become Greyhound Lines, Inc.
  • 1919 - A Minneapolis factory turned out the nations first armored cars.
  • 1922 - First practical water skis were invented by Ralph W. Samuelson, who steam-bent 2 eight-foot-long pine boards into skies. He took his first ride behind a motorboat on a lake in Lake City.
  • 1923 - Candy maker Frank C. Mars of Minnesota introduced the Milky Way candy bar.
  • 1926 - The first Automatic Pop-up toaster was marketed in June by McGraw Electric Co. in Minneapolis under the name Toastmaster. The retail price was $13.50.
  • 1926 - Hormel Company of Austin marketed the first canned ham.
  • 1930 - Mars marketed the Snickers bar.
  • 1937 - Hormel introduced Spam.
  • 1937 - Mars 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.
  • 1942 - 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.
  • 1945 - Minnesota State Song - "Hail! Minnesota," adopted by Minnesota Laws 1945 Joint Resolution Number 15
  • 1952 - On September 2, 1952, a 5 year old girl was the first patient to under go 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.
  • 1953 - Minnesota State Tree - Norway pine (Pinus resinosa), also known as the red pine, chosen in 1953
  • 1956 - Southdale, in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, was the first enclosed climate-controlled suburban Shop50states.
  • 1957 - World's largest pelican 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.
  • 1959 - St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 allowing oceangoing ships to reach Duluth.
  • 1961 - Minnesota State Bird - Loon (Gavia immer), adopted by the legislature
  • 1963 - 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.
  • 1965 - Minnesota State Fish - Walleye (Stizostedion v. vitreum), adopted in 1965, first proposed in 1953
  • 1969 - Minnesota State Gemstone - Lake Superior Agate, chosen in 1969
  • 1973 - 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.
  • 1977 - Minnesota State Grain - Wild rice (Zizania aquatica), designated in 1977
  • 1979 - A Jehovah's Witness was the first patient to receive a transfusion of artificial blood at the University of Minnesota Hospital. He had refused a transfusion of real blood because of his religious beliefs.
  • 1980 - 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.
  • 1984 -
  • 1988 - Minnesota State Muffin - Blueberry muffin, chosen in 1988
  • 1999 - Minnesota State Quarter - In 1999, the United States Mint began a ten-year initiative to honor each of the 50 states by issuing a commemorative quarter featuring a design of each state's choosing. The state quarter designs are intended to depict a unique aspect of each state. The Denver mint began production of the Minnesota state quarter in March, 2005.
  • 2000 - Minnesota State Butterfly - Monarch (Danaus plexippus).
  • 2002 - Minnesota State Photograph - "Grace," by Eric Enstrom, taken in 1918, adopted in 2002
  • 2006 - Minnesota State Fruit - Honeycrisp apple, adopted in 2006

More Minnesota History Firsts & State Facts

  • Because of its thousands of lakes, Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
  • 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.
  • Minnesotan baseball commentator Halsey Hal was the first to say 'Holy Cow' during a baseball broadcast.
  • The first official hit in the Metrodome in Minneapolis was made by Pete Rose playing for the Cincinnati Reds in a preseason game.
  • The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields --- 9.5 million square feet.
  • Northwest Airlines based out of Twin Cities, was the first major airline to ban smoking on international flights.
  • Twin Cities-based Northwest Airlines was the first major airline to ban smoking on international flights.
  • Minnesota is home to the first automatic pop-up toaster, the first canned ham, Spam, Greyhound Lines (the first bus line), stapler was invented in Spring Valley, Polaris Industries of Roseau invented the snowmobile, and Tonka Trucks were developed and are continued to be manufactured in Minnetonka.
  • Minnesota claims homeland to the following inventions: Masking and Scotch tape, Wheaties, Bisquick, Aveda beauty products, the bundt pan, HMOs, Green Giant vegetables, and the Snickers candy bar.
  • Alexander Anderson of Red Wing discovered the processes to puff wheat and rice giving us the indispensable rice cakes.
  • The low rocky ridges, or ranges, of northern Minnesota that contain iron ore are located in the region known as the Superior Upland
  • Minneapolis is home to the oldest continuously running theater (Old Log Theater) and the largest dinner theater (Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in the country.
  • The original name of the settlement that became St. Paul was Pig's Eye. Named for the French-Canadian whiskey trader, Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, who had led squatters to the settlement.
  • The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
  • The Guthrie Theater is the largest regional playhouse in the country.
  • Minneapolis' famed skyway system connecting 52 blocks (nearly five miles) of downtown makes it possible to live, eat, work and shop without going outside.
  • Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city in the country.
  • The first open heart surgery and the first bone marrow transplant in the United States were done at the University of Minnesota.
  • Bloomington and Minneapolis are the two farthest north latitude cities to ever host a World Series game.
  • Madison is the "Lutefisk capital of the United States".
  • Rochester 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.
  • 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.
  • Minnesota has one recreational boat per every six people, more than any other state.
  • There are 201 Mud Lakes, 154 Long Lakes, and 123 Rice Lakes commonly named in Minnesota.
  • The Hull-Rust mine in Hibbing became the largest open-pit mine in the world.
  • 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.
  • At the confluence of the Big Fork and Rainy Rivers on the Canadian border near International Falls stands the largest Indian burial mound in the upper midwest. It is known as the Grand Mound historic site.
  • Author Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on Plum Creek near Walnut Grove.
  • 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.
County Information and County History
State Facts & History Firsts
State Fun Facts - History Firsts