Recent content from Eric Roper
What happens to the plastic bags we recycle at grocery stores?
Our modern lives are flooded with plastic film, which cannot be put in curbside recycling bins.
Listen: Why does Minnesota have municipal liquor stores?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses why Minnesota's alcohol regulations are unlike most other states.
Inside the mines and megamachines of the Iron Range
A family's question about large machines resulted in a Curious Minnesota field trip to the mighty Mesabi, a place that has fueled America's success story.
Listen: Why didn't Minneapolis gobble up its suburbs?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses why the Minneapolis area fragmented into a web of smaller cities.
Listen: Did a famed parks leader import gray squirrels to Minneapolis — and have the red ones killed?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses Theodore Wirth's effort to replace one type of squirrel with another in the early 1900s.
Listen: Why was the utopian plan for Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside area never built?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the ambitious vision behind what is now Riverside Plaza.
Listen: What happened to Minneapolis' famous Weatherball?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the landmark that dominated Minneapolis' skyline for part of the 20th century.
Listen: How a Twin Cities ammunition factory dominated by women helped U.S. win WWII
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the unique history of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.
Why didn't Minneapolis gobble up its suburbs?
Annexation once seemed likely. Instead, the Twin Cities became a region of fragmented local governments.
Listen: Why was the Mall of America built in Minnesota?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the origins of the country's largest indoor shopping center.
What is the largest machine in Minnesota?
Transformers inspired a family to hunt for a mechanical mammoth. Here's what we found.
Listen: Why are there so many stucco homes in the Twin Cities?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses why the cement-based siding became especially popular in this region.
Listen: How did Minnesota become a window manufacturing hub?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the history of the state's window giants, Marvin and Andersen Windows & Doors.
Wind gusts are blowing away recent records in Minnesota. But is technology partly to blame?
Weather watchers are observing notable wind trends, though other factors could be boosting the numbers.
SURVEY: Help us improve the Curious Minnesota podcast
Do you listen to the Curious Minnesota podcast? This anonymous questionnaire will help us better serve the show's audience.
How we choose Curious Minnesota questions submitted by readers
Readers sent in nearly 800 questions in 2022. Help us keep the momentum going in the new year.
Listen: Minnesota companies once dominated the supercomputer industry. What happened?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the Minnesota companies that built some of the fastest computers in the world.
Listen: Why did Finnish immigrants come to Minnesota? (And no, they're not Scandinavian)
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses why Minnesota has more residents of Finnish ancestry than any other state.
Listen: Did a TV debate decide one of Minnesota's most scandalous elections?
The Curious Minnesota podcast delves into the contentious 1990 gubernatorial campaign.
Third arson fire was most damaging to historic Stevens House in Minneapolis
Known as the "birthplace of Minneapolis," the 172-year-old property is in bad shape following three fires this year.
Listen: Who was Hennepin and why did Minnesota name so many things after him?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the 17th century Catholic priest whose name is prevalent in the Twin Cities.
Listen: Does Minnesota really have the 'World's Oldest Rock'?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the 3.5 billion-year-old history of Minnesota's most ancient artifact.
Why did Finnish immigrants come to Minnesota? (And no, they're not Scandinavian)
Minnesota boasts more residents of Finnish ancestry than any other state. The story of how Finns arrived here is distinct from Swedes and Norwegians in several ways.
What happens to hazardous waste Minnesotans bring to drop-off facilities?
Minnesota is a national leader for its extensive network of hazardous waste collection programs.
Does Minnesota really have the 'World's Oldest Rock'?
The 3.5 billion-year-old rocks of southwestern Minnesota are known to geologists around the world.
Why has the Park Board allowed the 'birthplace of Minneapolis' to deteriorate?
The storied, 172-year-old structure in Minnehaha Park is in need of exterior repairs.
640th Avenue? 180th Street? The backstory behind long rural addresses
Those large numbers convey a lot of information about the geography of greater Minnesota.
Listen: Why isn't Minnesota's sacrifice at Gettysburg better remembered?
The Star Tribune's Kevin Duchschere discusses the First Minnesota regiment's heroism and legacy on the Curious Minnesota podcast.
Listen: How lumberjacks harnessed an 'ocean of pine' to build Minnesota
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the logistics behind Minnesota's booming 19th century logging industry.
Listen: Was Charles Lindbergh a Nazi sympathizer?
The Star Tribune's Kevin Duchschere discusses the Minnesota native's controversial statements and actions preceding America's involvement in World War II.
Listen: Why did Scandinavian immigrants choose Minnesota?
The Curious Minnesota podcast discusses the reasons that Norwegian and Swedish immigrants left their home countries for Minnesota starting in the mid-1800s.
Listen: Why has the Park Board allowed the 'birthplace of Minneapolis' to deteriorate?
The Star Tribune's Eric Roper and Ash Miller discuss the unique history of the John H. Stevens House on the Curious Minnesota podcast.
Listen: How did Nicollet Island become one of Minneapolis' most unusual parks?
The Curious Minnesota podcast delves into the island's transformation from a 19th Century industrial hub.
Why did Scandinavian immigrants choose Minnesota?
No state in the country has more residents of Swedish and Norwegian ancestry.
Listen: The hidden electrical system that keeps our lights on
Reporter Mike Hughlett joins the Curious Minnesota podcast to discuss where Minnesota's electricity originates, and how it gets to homes.
Listen: Why do Minnesotans have accents?
The Curious Minnesota podcast delves into the accent's origins and what defines this uniquely Minnesotan way of speaking.
Listen: Why did Minneapolis' famous flour boom go bust?
The Curious Minnesota podcast explores how Minneapolis became a flour milling capital and why it didn't last.
Listen: The stories behind Minnesota's oldest building and the Northwest Angle
The Curious Minnesota podcast talks with reporter Katy Read about listeners' favorite questions from the State Fair.
Listen: Historic wildfires once destroyed part of Minnesota. Could it happen again?
The Curious Minnesota podcast talks with Jana Hollingsworth about the tragic fires of 1894 and 1918.
Listen: The Jolly Green Giant has left Minnesota. So who is maintaining his iconic billboard?
The Curious Minnesota podcast talks with Brooks Johnson about the history of the Green Giant brand and who is keeping its legacy alive.
Listen: Which Indigenous tribes first called Minnesota home?
The Curious Minnesota podcast talks with professor Anton Treuer about the ancient human history of Minnesota.
Why did Minneapolis' famous flour boom go bust?
The Mill City dominated the flour market for half a century. But it came to an end in 1930.
Listen: Meet the Curious Minnesota superfan behind some of our best questions
The Curious Minnesota podcast talks with Sharon Carlson about questions she has submitted to the column.
What does 'Minnesota' mean and how did the state get its name?
Long before Minnesota was a state, the name referred to a major body of water in the area.
Twin Cities area digging out after record Dec. 10 snowfall
Snow amounts ranged from 1 to 4 inches north of the metro area to 15 to 20 inches in Woodbury and southern suburbs. Several metro area cities declared snow emergencies.
Listen: Was organized crime behind the demise of Twin Cities streetcars?
The Curious Minnesota podcast examines how underworld characters influenced the region's transit company in the mid-20th Century.
Plymouth tailor Mike Phung, remembered as a meticulous artisan, dies at age 61
Phung, who was not vaccinated, died of COVID-19.
Was organized crime behind the demise of the Twin Cities streetcar system?
The transit system was plagued by scandals before and after the switch from streetcars to buses.
Listen: Why a slice of I-94 is a 'candyland for researchers'
The Curious Minnesota podcast examines how real-world traffic west of the Twin Cities is helping engineers build better roads.
Listen: The mysterious wall that holds St. Anthony Falls in place
The Curious Minnesota podcast explores the questions being raised about a 145-year-old wall located deep beneath the Mississippi River.
What do you want to know about the 2021 election?
Star Tribune reporters will be answering reader questions about the 2021 election on a future episode of the Curious Minnesota podcast. Let us know…
Listen: Why are there so many new 5G cell antennas in some neighborhoods?
The Curious Minnesota podcast explores the evolution of cellular technology and the reason for all the new antennas.
Did political shenanigans derail an effort to move Minnesota's capital?
The well-known tale about an 1850s proposal to move the capital to St. Peter has been passed down for generations.
Listen: What do State Fair attendees want to know about Minnesota?
Fairgoers spoke to the Curious Minnesota podcast about what questions they would like to see us answer.
Listen: What is the future of COVID-19 and the delta variant?
Reporters Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt join the Curious Minnesota podcast to answer reader questions about the latest phase of the pandemic.
Hidden wall protecting St. Anthony Falls draws new scrutiny
The wall's condition is largely a mystery.
Auto repair shop owner Tuan Anh Pham, staple of St. Paul's Midway business area, dies at 72
He was a pillar of the local Vietnamese community.
Listen: How did MSP Airport evolve from a bankrupt racetrack to an aviation hub?
Curious Minnesota podcast host Eric Roper discusses the long history of the region's airport with transportation reporter Janet Moore.
Discover the hidden house in Minnehaha Park where Minneapolis was born
Much of Minneapolis' past can be traced back to this modest house, which now sits in Minnehaha Park.
Listen: Why does Minnesota test tornado sirens on the first Wednesday of the month?
Curious Minnesota podcast host Eric Roper discusses Civil Defense and the Cold War history of tornado sirens with writer Dave Kenney.
Why is there a new cellular pole in my Minneapolis neighborhood?
The transition to 5G wireless technology is having a visible impact on some city streets.
Listen: Was Minnesota home to nuclear missiles during the Cold War?
Curious Minnesota podcast host Eric Roper discusses the 1950s initiative to install missile sites around the Twin Cities.
Why does Minnesota test tornado sirens on the first Wednesday of the month?
Siren testing began amid fears of a Soviet atomic bomb attack during the Cold War.
What do you want to know about the killing of Daunte Wright?
Submit questions you would like to see answered about Sunday's police shooting in Brooklyn Center.
Listen: Does the Mississippi River really begin at Lake Itasca?
Host Eric Roper digs into the science and history behind the Mighty Mississippi's headwaters.
Big snowfall forecast for southern Minnesota Sunday night
6 or more inches expected in the southwest; metro area will get less.
Art collector Christopher Cardozo dies at 72
He devoted his career to promoting the photography of Edward Curtis, who extensively documented Native American life in the early 20th century.
Listen: Why did Minneapolis tear down its biggest train station?
Minneapolis' two primary train stations met very different fates in the 1970s.
Why did Minneapolis tear down its biggest train station?
Minneapolis' two train stations met very different fates in the 1970s.
Listen: How Ford made millions of windows from St. Paul sand
For part of the 20th century, Ford Motor Co. relied heavily on sand mined from beneath its plant in St. Paul to make windows for its cars.
Petition campaign begins to put Mpls. police overhaul on ballot
Political committee aims to replace the department with an entity focused on public health.
Modernist Minneapolis building that replaced 'skid row' destined for demolition
City planners argued against allowing the razing of 21 N. Washington Av.
A historic Minneapolis church is crumbling. Can anyone save it?
The First Church of Christ, Scientist is on its last legs after years of neglect. But the city won't let owners raze it.
Twin Cities landfills are filling up, and they're asking for more space
State regulators who have fought to reduce landfilling in the metro area must now decide whether to allow more of it.