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.
E-mail your questions or suggestions to Ben Welter.
Lorne (Gump) Worsley, one of the NHL’s last unmasked goaltenders, died in January 2007 at age 77. As a young goalie growing up in the early 1970s, I marveled at this pudgy-looking old man who consistently frustrated the likes of Hull, Esposito and Cournoyer and kept the outmanned North Stars in many games.
I saw only a handful of NHL games at Met Center back then, and don’t recall ever seeing Worsley play in person. My memories are based on radio and TV and newspaper accounts. Minneapolis Star columnist Jim Klobuchar was one of my favorite writers. One week after surviving a Wyoming blizzard, Klobuchar witnessed one of Gump's memorable performances on TV — and managed to eke an amusing column out of it.
|Long johns and a modest amount of padding were all that protected Gump Worsley from 100-mph slapshots back in 1971. Dig the groovy sideburns!|
|Playing goal without a mask was dangerous business. Here, Worsley lay unconscious after taking a puck in the nose in 1972. It’s not clear where the puck ended up. (Minneapolis Star photo by Don Black)|
This photo by Jack Gillis of the Minneapolis Star sat in a steel cabinet in the Star Tribune library for more than 50 years, along with thousands of other images rarely used a second time. I ran across it in a search of our new digital photo archive. The photo appeared on the Teen Topper page, accompanied by the caption below. As was typical of the era, the caption provided readers with the name, age and home address of each of the young women. You’d think that would make it easy to track down Gail Wittels, the Rockette with the broken leg. But all I can find is a document suggesting that she went to college and earned a graduate degree in economics at the University of California. After that the thin trail evaporates. If you know her, or any of these fine-looking young ladies, post a comment or drop me a line. I’d also love to hear more about the Roosevelt Rockettes. The group was established in 1951 and led “a lively existence through succeeding student generations,” according to a 1967 photo caption. They made their own costumes and did most of their own choreography. Impressive!
|When Gail Wittels, 16, 5537 Woodlawn Blvd., shows up for rehearsal of Roosevelt High School Rockettes, she doesn't put her best foot forward -- she puts her game leg forward (right). Out skiing on the season's multistratous snow, Gail suffered a spiral fracture of her right leg. Consequently, she will be on the sidelines when the dance troupe appears at the school's talent show next Friday in the school auditorium. She also will miss the spring fashion show April 5, also at the school. The fashion show will be a salute to spring, with students, parents and members of the school staff serving as models. A quartet, the "Teddy Tones," will present song fashions. Rockettes (above, from left) are Dawn Peterson, 15, 4213 18th Av. S.; Pam Filmore, 16, 3940 17th Av. S.; Kathy Nelson, 17, 3120 Wenonah Place; Mary Keohane, 17, 5156 30th Av. S.; Lynn Scheele, 16, 4252 Nokomis Av.; Joan Johnson, 17, 5429 31st Av. S.; Kay Kwakenat, 16, 5337 Nokomis Av.; Nora Monahan, 17, 4916 Aldrich Av. S.; Diane Franzen, 17, 4104 20th Av. S.; Lani Greenfield, 17, 3916 29th Av. S.; Jacquie Spence, 15, 4933 Nokomis Av.; Mary Jo Kunz, 16, 5256 45th Av. S., and Gail cheerfully resting her weight on her good leg. [Pictured separately were Pam Anderson, 18, 3900 18th Av. S.; Karin Wakefield, 17, 4151 24th Av. S.; Frances Malmsten, 17, 4740 17th Av. S., and Jerilyn Johnson, 18, 3504 43rd Av. S.]|
The University of Minnesota added men’s hockey as a varsity sport in 1922. In the early years, the team played at three indoor rinks: the Lexington rink at Lexington and University Avenues in St. Paul, the original Hippodrome at the State Fairgrounds and the Minneapolis Arena at 29th and Dupont. Back then, the Gophers occasionally played home games at the “university rink,” an outdoor sheet of ice behind the Armory. Here is the Minneapolis Tribune’s account of what appears to have been the Gophers’ last outdoor home game of the 20th century.
I’ll spare you the box score, except for these tidbits: The visiting Wolverines brought only one substitute; the Gophers had three “spares” on the bench. And the goalies made only nine saves each.
Wally Youngbauer Scores Both Points for Minnesota Team.
The University of Minnesota hockey team continued its string of unbroken victories when it defeated the University of Michigan six in a conference hockey game at the university rink Tuesday night, 2 to 0.
Wally Youngbauer, Gopher center, was responsible for both of the Gophers’ scores. The Minnesota pivot man also played a brilliant checking and passing game.
Minnesota’s first counter came in the initial period after a Michigan rush up the ice was halted by the Minnesota center, who took the puck through the Wolverine defense and shot a fast one past the Wolverine goalie. Toward the close of the period Youngbauer, after Olson had taken a short shot from the side, took the rebound and pushed the disc into the net for the second and final tally of the game.
|Light padding, a short stick and lots and lots of tape: A hockey player of the 1920s showed his form at the "university rink" behind the Armory at the University of Minnesota. Can you identify this young gentleman? (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)|
|The University of Minnesota also had a "girls" hockey team in the mid-1920s. Far better dressed than their male counterparts, these young women looked ready to tear up the ice. Can you identify them? (Minneapolis Journal photo)|
In a column given prominent play on the front page of the Minneapolis Tribune, Joe Soucheray captured the hooliganism that took hold after the Vikings' final game at Met Stadium on Dec. 20, 1981. What inspired the madness that afternoon? A few days before the game, Minneapolis Star columnist Jim Klobuchar interviewed the team's ticket manager, Harry Randolph, about crowd control for Sunday’s game. This quote attributed to Randolph suggested the Vikings were taking a hands-off approach to souvenir hunters:
“All we want to do is to hold down the self-inflicted injuries to minor concussions and treatable fractures. If they are going to carry off their seats, we prefer handsaws to the standard Black & Decker ripsaws in the commercials. If they are going after the goal posts, we suggest they come wearing helmets and hard-toe boots.”
Klobuchar’s column drew complaints from the team, which disputed the quote and said it had to hire extra security for the game. By Tuesday, the Star acknowledged the humorous quote was a fabrication and Klobuchar was suspended for two weeks without pay. But the damage, whatever the proximate cause, was done. Here was Soucheray’s take on Met Stadium's messy final act:
|The trouble begins: Fans in the center-field bleachers hauled down the American flag in the fourth quarter. (Star Tribune photo)|
|Minnesota nice: One Vikings fan brought a sign to show his displeasure with the stadium's demise. (Star Tribune photo)|
|The oh-so-frozen tundra: The sun set on Metropolitan Stadium and its snow-covered parking lot in 1981. (Star Tribune photo)|
Over the past 50 years, the University of Minnesota has not enjoyed much success against Nebraska in football. The Gophers had lost 16 straight to the Cornhuskers before Saturday's upset in Minneapolis.
The teams first met in 1900 in a game described by a wire reporter as “the best exhibition of football that has ever been seen in Lincoln.” Sid Hartman was not yet available to document the Gophers’ victory:
Nebraska Eleven Meets Defeat Before the Husky Minnesota Boys.
Best Exhibition of Football Ever Witnessed in That Section of Country.
By Wire From Lincoln, Neb., Nov. 30.
The husky Gopher eleven defeated Nebraska university at Lincoln yesterday after[noon] … It was the best exhibition of football that has ever been seen in Lincoln, and the Minnesota men found opponents worthy of their steel.
Fully 6,000 people assembled to witness the game, of which there were fully 800 Minnesota “rooters.” The good work they did cheering their team opened the eyes of the local men. The combined efforts of the followers of the two teams in the matter of noise resulted in something terrific.
GOPHERS FIRST ON FIELD.
|Dr. Henry Williams, Minnesota's legendary coach, led the Gophers to their first national championship in 1904.|
Minnesota was first on the field. It was just 2:15 o’clock when the heavy young men who have been under the care of Dr. Williams since early this fall ran onto the field. They were greeted by the shouts of 800 throats, and the “U” band struck up a lively tune in their honor.
They formed a circle and passed the ball around while the yells and music continued. The whistles of the machine shops added their share to the din, and noise was king.
Five minutes later the Nebraska team came on headed by their band. The followers of the home team tore the air with their shouts, and the band struck up a piece which was answered by the Gopher band. Coach Booth, of the Nebraska team, volunteered the information that the Gophers looked heavier and more rapid than the reports had led him to believe.
Minnesota, with her usual luck, won the toss and took advantage in choosing goals of the strong wind that was blowing from the south goal.
Within two minutes after Nebraska had kicked off it was evident that there was to be a battle founded on two different styles of play. Minnesota resorted to line bucking, with an occasional attempt at end, while the lighter Nebraska team played a more open game, giving a chance for more brilliant playing from a grand stand point of view.
KNOWLTON’S GOOD WORK.
The defense of Minnesota was a puzzle to the Cornhuskers. The tandem formations plunged through their somewhat lighter line at will, and the mass plays carried everything before them.
Knowlton in the first half, with the wind at his back, did some excellent punting that invariably resulted in a gain of from 10 to 20 yards. An occasional dash around Nebraska’s end broke the monotony of the heavy, close play that is effective, but not at all spectacular. When these end runs were tried they were nearly always good for a gain.
Minnesota was quick to recognize the advantage gained in Knowlton’s punts, and he was consequently called into service quite often. He clearly outplayed Cook, who kicked the oval for Nebraska.
He got in his goal from the field in the game yesterday. It was a beautiful placement from the 30-yard line, and more than made up for his poor luck in kicking the goals, all three of which he missed.
For the first two touchdowns the ball was forced within hailing distance of Nebraska’s goal by punting tactics, and then the husky Gophers pushed it over with comparative ease.
THE THIRD TOUCHDOWN.
The third touchdown was the result of a strong vigorous line bucking policy that forced Nebraska down the field for 70 yards. This was accomplished by the Gophers without once losing the ball.
Pillsbury made the first touchdown for Nebraska, but it is a question as to whether he would have ever reached the Gopher goal had not Doble collided with the officials. The run was a pretty one, however, 65 yards, with good interference. The officials admit that they were in Doble’s way, Referee Allen stating that it was their fault entirely, and there is, therefore, no discredit to Doble for failing to land his man, as he surely would have done had the way been clear.
Pillsbury was the man to make the second touchdown. This was made in the second half and he accomplished it by hurdling the Gopher line. Both goals were kicked by Nebraska, and this gave them their 12 points, which is more than any team has scored against Minnesota this season.
Van Valkenberg, Fee, La Fans, Tweet, Aune and Hoyt were the star ground gainers for Minnesota. There were called on early and often, and each time responded with a few more feet of Nebraska property to the credit of the Gophers.
Van was retired by a blow on the neck, which stunned him for some time, but he is not in serious condition.
Bender, who went in for Montgomery, succeeded in getting around Aune once for 20 yards, but he was downed at that distance.
CLOSE OF THE GAME.
The game ended with the score 20 to 12 in favor of the Gophers, and the Minnesota crowd gave vent to shouts and yells that will long be remembered in Mr. Bryan’s home city.
The team left at 8 o’clock last night, and the “rooters” about an hour after.
The result of the Iowa-Northwestern game has settled the question of the Western championship beyond a question, and 11 young men, students at the University of Minnesota, and incidentally the best aggregation of football players that has appeared on the Western gridiron for some time are “it.”
The long coveted title has been fairly and squarely won by the sheer hard work and clean, good football, and the team that will arrive in Minneapolis this morning are the undisputed champions of the West.