Sample Minnesota newspaper articles, photos and ads dating back more than 140 years. Fresh items are posted weekly. Go here for tips on how to track down old newspaper articles on your own. Follow the blog on Twitter. Or check out "Minnesota Mysteries," a new book based on the blog.
Twelve-mile-long Bassett Creek once meandered unfettered through marshlands from Medicine Lake in Plymouth to the Mississippi River near Nicollet Island. In the late 1800s, developers began filling in the wetlands near the river, but the homes were prone to flooding, and, thanks to widespread dumping of garbage upstream, the creek became little more than an open sewer. After the spring floods of 1913, described in the Minneapolis Tribune story below, the Legislature approved funding to divert the creek into a storm sewer. By 1923, the final mile and a half of the creek was underground.
|This image, taken from microfilm, accompanied the Tribune flood story. The caption provided no address or names, only this: "Preparing to move."
Nan Russell Dunnigan in 1914.
Nan Russell Dunnigan, whose work appeared under the byline “The Tribune Girl,” wrote hundreds of first-person feature stories for the Tribune between 1907 and 1914. She interviewed Sarah Bernhardt, Ethel Barrymore, John Philip Sousa, Booker T. Washington and Sir Robert Baden-Powell. She had a frosty encounter with Isadora Duncan. She attempted to interview Maude Adams, but found the popular “Peter Pan” actress to be “interview proof.”
Dunnigan took on a variety of other assignments. She made police and fire checks. She interviewed politicians and businessmen. She worked as a “Salvation Army lassie” for a day. She led Minneapolis orphans on an outing to Lake Minnetonka. In her final months with the Tribune, she traveled to Europe and filed reports from London (where she got lost), the Vatican (where she enjoyed an audience with Pope Pius X) and Belgium (which she didn’t enjoy one bit).
Her last piece appeared in September 1914. Three months later, on Christmas Day, she married George F. Authier, private secretary to Minnesota’s governor, Joseph Burnquist. Authier had just secured a new job as the Tribune’s Washington correspondent, and the newlyweds soon headed east. The Tribune Girl apparently hung up her notebook and pen. No further stories by Nan Russell Dunnigan or Nan Authier turn up in a Google search.
|The Tribune Girl chatted with the chief, left, and his first assistant, Michael Hanley.
|Fire Chief Canterbury in his courthouse office in about 1900. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)
|A Minneapolis fire engine and crew paused for a photo at 3rd Street and 6th Avenue S. in about 1905. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)
Minneapolis was plagued by water main breaks in the early 1900s as the city struggled to meet the needs of its growing population. The water department supervisor, Edmund Sykes, was forced to resign a month after a particularly nasty break that washed out streets on the North Side and lowered water pressure citywide.
From the Minneapolis Tribune:
|The Camden Place Pumping Station, also known as Pumping Station No. 3, in about 1898. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)
Break in New 36-Inch Feed Tube causes Damage in Camden Place.
City Engineer Believes It Was a Mistake to Lay Pipe in Winter.
Supervisor Sykes Says There Will Be No More Danger.
Property several blocks in extent in the vicinity of Forty-first avenue north and Lyndale avenue was flooded or excavated by a torrent of water which burst from the new 36-inch water main at daylight yesterday.
|This postcard shows Camden Place Park, Minneapolis, in about 1909. (Image courtesy of hclib.org)
|The Camden Place State Bank at Soo and Washington Avenues N. in about 1910. (Image courtesy of hclib.org)
November 1975 doesn’t seem that long ago until you consider how old a recap of that month can make you feel. New York City was on the financial rocks. Karen Ann Quinlan was on a respirator. Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme was on trial, accused of attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford. Movie buffs were flocking to the Downtown Mann to see Redford and Dunaway in “Three Days of the Condor.” Pot roast cost 79 cents a pound at Penny’s Super Markets, a Northland Bantam hockey stick cost $1.29 at Holiday Village, and a brand-new AMC Gremlin would set you back $2,889.
Gordon Lightfoot could have written a song about any of those things. Instead, he chose the Edmund Fitzgerald. Within hours of the ship's disappearance on Nov. 10, 1975, the Minneapolis Tribune’s night crew hustled to get this first sketchy report onto the next morning's front page.
[Originally posted Nov. 8, 2005]
By Harley Sorensen
|Lake Superior Maritime Collection|
A cargo ship with 35 crew members was reported missing Monday night in treacherous waters in Lake Superior, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The 729-foot Edmund Fitzgerald was last heard from at about 7:30 p.m. about 15 miles north of Whitefish Point near Sault Ste. Marie off the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, officials said.
The ship radioed coast guard officials at Sault Ste. Marie that it was taking water. The coast guard asked another vessel, the Arthur M. Anderson, to follow the Fitzgerald.
A spokesman for the U.S. Steel Great Lakes fleet said he learned the Anderson was following the Fitzgerald at a distance of about five miles in an easterly direction toward Sault Ste. Marie. He said the Anderson, a U.S. Steel fleet vessel, reported that the Fitzgerald disappeared from sight and the radar scope at about the same time.
The Associated Press said the Fitzgerald departed Duluth-Superior at 1:15 p.m. Sunday with a cargo of 26,216 tons of taconite pellets loaded at the Burlington Northern docks in Superior.
However, a spokesman for Oglebay-Norton Co. Cleveland, the ship’s owner, said, that the Fitzgerald departed Silver Bay, Minn., Sunday bound for Great Lakes Steel Co. in Detroit.
Ed Schmid, assistant to the president of Reserve Mining Co., Silver Bay, said the Fitzgerald is the largest ship to come into Silver Bay. He said Silver Bay is its most frequent port of call.
The coast guard in Duluth said that a 180-foot seagoing buoy tender, the Woodrush, left Duluth last night to search for the Fitzgerald. He said a coast guard tugboat, the Nawgatuck, departed Sault Ste. Marie in the search. Also, he said, airplanes from an air force base in Michigan joined in the search. An Oglebay-Norton spokesman said shortly before midnight that “we haven’t given up hope yet.”
A coast guard spokesman said bad weather had plagued the search. “The seas are so bad,” he said, “it’s almost hazardous for a boat to go out tonight.”
Waves in the area were reported at 25 feet high. They were accompanied by winds gusting to 75 miles per hour, the coast guard said.
|A UPI photo appeared in the Tribune on Nov. 12, 1975, with this caption:
“A coast guardman at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., reached for some of the debris that washed up Tuesday from the sinking of the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald. The life preservers, life raft, oars and other small items were brought to Sault St. Marie by helicopter from points along Lake Superior.”
After a two-month honeymoon in Europe, a Minneapolis couple – John Pillsbury Snyder and his wife, Nelle – boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England, for their trip home. Before departure, Snyder used the ship's stationery to write to the owner of a London tobacco shop, thanking him for the cigars he was enjoying on board. The note, mailed just before the ship departed on April 10, 1912, was part of a collection of Titanic items that sold for more than $100,000 in 2011.
Less than five days into its maiden voyage, the “unsinkable” ship sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Snyder’s eyewitness account of the Titanic’s final hours appeared in the Minneapolis Morning Tribune:
|John Pillsbury Snyder and his wife, Nelle, on April 18, 1912, the day they arrived in New York City aboard the Carpathia. (Courtesy of Philip Weiss Auctions)|
|The Snyders were among the passengers who boarded the Titanic at Southampton, England.