Recent content from Curt Brown
A painting in Burton Hall of the British battleship HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar was donated by the late Rodney Wallace. But where did he get it?
After spending the first half of his life in crime, including with Al Capone, Morris "Red" Rudensky redefined prison reform during his later years.
Tom Teresi and Mark Kaplan had to be grinning as the sun rose over Minneapolis on March 17, 1960. By nightfall, sorrow would shadow the…
Between her time on the stages of Europe and as a voice instructor at Juilliard in New York, Anna Schoen-René spent 16 years in Minneapolis.
Maurice Jernigan asked early Minnesota legislators to remove just one word from the state Constitution: white.
His story arced from his days as an early Minneapolis cop, lumberman, teamster and wounded Civil War soldier to an Army scout in the Arizona Territory of the late 1800s.
In the summer of 1906, 48 members of the St. Olaf College band sailed into history. Playing 26 concerts in Norway that July, the all-male…
During a Depression-era summer, a state highway patrolman drove Gov. Floyd B. Olson 55 miles south to Zumbrota, Minn. The socialist-leaning governor wanted to talk…
Minnesota's entire black population stood at one-third of 1 percent in 1890, when Eva was a toddler. Today, St. Paul is home to nearly 50,000.
Jay Hormel became one of the first Minnesotans to enlist when the U.S. entered the Great War in 1917.
Razed in 1956 and now a public park, Swede Hollow became home to a revolving cast of poor immigrants on St. Paul's lower East Side.
Those letters surfaced in 1975. But the breakthrough that put a face with those words didn't come until 2017.
The government was offering a 160-acre parcel near Lutsen, about 100 miles northeast up the shore from Duluth.
The more things change, the more the issues stay the same 120 years later.
Part freak show, part pioneering neonatal hospital, the brick structure at 31st Avenue S. and 31st Street is all that's left of the amusement park.
Guy Flanagan was among the last sailors off the USS Arizona, making him luckier than more than 1,100 entombed on the bombed battleship.
Two hours before he was hanged, Adelbert Goheen penned a statement, still insisting his brother killed Rosetta Bray.
John "Tooze" Rogers climbed from cash-strapped hotel bellhop in 1880 to own a series of saloons, theaters and an elegant Nicollet Avenue hotel.
The new book, "Professor Berman: The Last Lecture of Minnesota's Greatest Public Historian," is full of his delicious insight.
Martha Rogers Ripley didn't arrive in Minnesota until she was 40, but her 28 frenetic years here were frenetic ones.
Despite the squalid conditions, Marcus Hertz knew sticking it out as a prisoner of war was his best chance to get home.
Elmer Ellsworth Foster, who played in the 19th century, is maybe the best Minnesota baseball player you never heard of,
At age 21, bookkeeper Henry Carlson got a crazy idea 100 years ago.
It is a complex legacy for a state that prided itself as an anti-slavery bastion and outlawed the practice in its territorial and state constitutions.
Some people play pickleball when they retire. Others knit or play cribbage. Carol Kissner had a different idea. She became a volunteer cemetery sleuth, poking…
Handwritten during a couple's courtship, the 100-plus letters were laced with their beliefs, passions and dreams.
It’s a museum hiding in plain sight. Take the elevator down from the chaotic lobby to the basement of Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown…
Engla Schey was determined to make life better for 10,000 Minnesotans locked in seven state institutions in the 1940s.
Until her retirement in 1987, she spent nearly 45 years as a cog in that giant Sears retail machine, taking her frustration out on the field.
Sonnen's Pet Shop oozes history at 408 St. Peter St. in the Hamm Building.
Not surprisingly, Myrtle Cain's dark brown hair had gone gray. After all, she'd been waiting 50 years for this moment.Now 78, she sat in the…
When her southern Minnesota hometown came calling in 1890, she faced a career quandary rare for women of the era.
"I was one of the lucky ones," Clarence Penaz said of the day when 19 sailors died and more than a dozen were injured.
Clarence Krotz's postwar dream was lofty. And then his family took off as well.
It's the 150th anniversary of the birth of "one of the world's best-known unknown architects."
Something quirky caught William Pedersen's eye as he pedaled past Greenhill Cemetery during a bike ride along Sunrise Drive in his hometown of St. Peter,…
Six months of heightened fear and friction between cops and the gay community followed.
They lead the way with upcoming nostalgic celebrations.
Growing up, Greg Larson knew little about his grandfather Ed Rogers’ vast accomplishments. How could he? “He hardly ever talked,” Larson, 72, recalled from his…
Two 100-stamp sheets of Coolidge-signed 2-cent and 5-cent stamps will be auctioned off Tuesday.
It was an appalling prelude of things to come 25 years later and 150 miles to the north. Early on June 2, 1895, a 15-year-old…
The rat-a-tat sound of popcorn popping punctuated the farm kitchen of Lewis and Vera Johansen near Coulter, Iowa."Dad loved his popcorn," said Jeanine Landswerk, 82,…
More than 150 of Thomas Montgomery's dispatches have been digitized on the Minnesota Historical Society's website.
Joseph Brown juggled two jobs in the early-1900s: undertaker and furniture salesman. A licensed embalmer, Brown studied mortuary science at the University of Minnesota —…
"It's pretty simple," Schaper said in 1953. "Everybody who sees it asks 'Why didn't I think of that?' "
A 4-foot-11 dynamo, Rose learned about pizza from her dad's relatives in Pennsylvania and started serving it to friends and at church meetings.
'She lived her life like age and gender didn't matter': North Woods icon started out as just a 'city girl'
Justine Kerfoot spent 60-plus years fixing plumbing, snowshoeing, welcoming visitors, servicing vehicles, guiding fishermen, building furniture, hunting moose, trapping mink, mushing sled dogs and writing about the woods and lakes in newspaper columns and books.
Both of Butler's parents had been teachers in Maine, and teaching was about her only option in the late 1800s.
Nearly 130 years later, Patricia Lubeck won't let William Rose's case rest.
Seventy-five years after the merger that formed the modern DFL, several men are credited as architects. But it wasn't an all-boys network.
It's the subject of a film that premieres this month at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival.
Pay equity for women probably wasn’t a burning issue in 1865 for Louisa Goodwin. The 33-year-old widow from Owatonna lost her husband, 2nd Lt. James…
A part-time bank clerk at 16, Carlos Ellis became a Rochester race-car driver and Dr. Charlie Mayo's chaffeur.
The deaths of Alvira Lundeen Johnson and her seven children are the topic of a new book.
Larry LaLonde's stories provide an unvarnished history.
There are power couples, and then there are brainpower couples such as Apostolos Kizilos and his late wife, Betty Ahola Kizilos.
The ruling, denying rights to free and enslaved black people, is widely considered among the triggers that sparked the Civil War.
Kubel Island is one of the rocky outcrops dotting the lakes way Up North along the Canadian border in what became Voyageurs National Park.
Considered the father of so-called rigid dirigibles, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin at age 25 made his first flight above downtown St. Paul.
They defied the odds: Nearly 60,000 people applied to join, but only 3,000 were selected and dispatched abroad.
Elizabeth Hughes enlisted right after President Franklin Roosevelt created WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).
The Rev. Malchior Falk Gjertsen became ensnared in a scandal that would cleave his congregation and cloud his legacy of good deeds.
The death toll, far greater than the Chicago fire 23 years earlier, would have been even worse without John Blair's calm heroics.
Built with thick stones in the late 1800s, the Red Wing reformatory provides the setting for an obscure Bob Dylan song — first performed in…
On the first day of 1924, a little St. Olaf College radio station broadcast New Year’s greetings in 19 languages. WCAL’s feel-good message from Northfield,…
The discovery of a fading image kindled a 15-year plunge into the history of Ramsey County's last eight-sided house.
Lillian and Margaret Yates plied their trade in Waseca, Waterville and later Worthington.
Alvhild Sherve of Northfield, 91, is a living link to a largely forgotten but quietly influential pioneer of progressive politics in Minnesota.
Herbert and Nicholas Brand, both crew members on the warship U.S.S. California, were left for dead after the attack. Except they weren't.
She opened an art colony and caught the attention of renowned nature writer Sigurd Olson.
Wilhelm Muelbe and Fred Keller fought and played in military bands on opposite sides of World War I a century ago.
Al Cassidy, a St. Paul candy salesman in the 1920s, played a sweet but little-known role in world history.
Mayer, who died in 1949, sported all sorts of hats in his 70 years in St. Paul.
Florence Bramhall and Maria Louise Sanford came together in the early 1900s to preserve what is now known as the Chippewa National Forest.
Wayne Brabender is the greatest Minnesota basketball player you've never heard of.