When time came between the Twin Cities

  • Updated: March 8, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Minneapolis and St. Paul are part of daylight saving lore, given the events of 1965 when, after heated debate, Minnesota decided to begin using daylight saving time. Businesses were for and against. A news story noted that farmers hated the idea, “because the morning sun does not dry the dew on daylight savings time.”

The Legislature chose to begin on May 23 — even though most of the United States would make the shift on May 9.

The chaos began when St. Paul decided to side with the nation and shift on May 9. For two weeks, Minneapolis — and the rest of Minnesota — was an hour behind St. Paul, prompting jibes about the so-called Twin Cities. St. Paul, on the other hand, was in sync with the rest of the country.

According to a Minneapolis Star account collected in the book “Minnesota Mayhem” by Star Tribune news copy desk chief Ben Welter, state and federal offices were on standard time, which also was the telephone company’s time-of-day message.

“If you called a cop, he arrived to take care of your problem on standard time,” the story said. “But if you needed a fireman, he showed up on daylight time. Two St. Paul policemen arrived for work wearing a wrist watch on each arm, one for standard time and one for daylight time.”

On May 23, Minneapolis caught up, ending perhaps the last time it ever considered itself lagging St. Paul. A year later, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966, establishing uniform times within the four time zones of the continental United States.

Kim Ode

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