Tag Archives: minnesota

Visiting the Historic Kettle Falls Hotel

Tucked in fragrant pine trees on the Minnesota-Canadian border in Voyageurs National Park, the Kettle Falls Hotel is only accessible by boat – just as it was for its earliest visitors a hundred years ago.

kettle falls hotel

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Eloise Butler: Botonist, Preservationist, Teacher

“For a full quarter of a century, her useful life has been spent in a labor of love…” Theodore Wirth, Former Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park System

My visit to the Eloise Butler Wildflower and Bird Sanctuary had me wondering, who was Eloise Butler? It turned out that she was originally from rural Maine. Born in 1851 near Appleton, it’s theorized that her interest in botany began due to her family’s knowledge of local plants and herbal remedies.


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The Woman Behind Henry Schoolcraft

Hidden in Minnesota’s north woods is a quiet, little state park named for Henry Rowe Schoolcraft. While Schoolcraft wasn’t a Minnesota resident, he gained fame in the state for being the first white explorer to officially locate the source of the Mississippi River after the Ojibwa showed him its origins. Based on his journals, it is believed that Schoolcraft camped in this area near Grand Rapids on that famous expedition in 1832.

a few of the river at schoolcraft state park
It is believed that Henry Schoolcraft camped in this area while in search of the Mississippi River’s headwaters.

Over Schoolcraft’s life, he documented the history of Indian tribes in the United States and managed to collect hundreds of Indian legends. Less well-known in Schoolcraft’s famed history, however, is the role that his first wife Jane Johnston Schoolcraft played in his success.

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The Land of Singing Hills: Saketah State Park

Sakatah Lake State Park is located on rolling hills 14 miles west of Faribault, Minnesota; its uneven terrain the result of glacial activity 14,000 years ago. Originally inhabited by the Wahpekute (Wapacoota) band of Dakota Sioux, they called the area “singing hills” and some of their burial mounds still exist in the park today.
Sakatah State Park

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Little Mountain Range on the Prairie

I spent my college years living in a small, rural town in western Minnesota. Not only did this city girl learn the hard realities of life on the prairie where blowing wind could snow the town in for weeks at a time, but I also found Minnesota’s very own mountain range.

panoramic landscape of glacial lakes state park

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A Brief History of Minnehaha Creek

Minnehaha Creek and its accompanying thoroughfare Minnehaha Parkway have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have a very vivid memory of my first exhausting bike ride to Minnehaha Falls for a picnic. Trailing behind The Mother on the path beside the creek, I wished my short, chubby legs could make the trip more effortlessly. That bike ride became more spirited as a teenager as I raced down the path; I knew every hole, bump and shortcut along the way. And I remember graduating to a car, still following the creek but on Minnehaha Parkway. Driving up and down for hours because I had nowhere else to go.

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A Brief History of the Como Park Conservatory

The Como Park Conservatory has always been one of my favorite places in the city. In fact, not only did I insist on dragging my family there to take my senior prom photos, but I was also married there. A lush and fragrant setting, the gardens create a tropical paradise regardless of the weather outside.

como park conservatory play days sculpture


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Ho Ho Ho… Green Giant!

Did you know that Minnesota is home to The Jolly Green Giant? When I started researching this, I hadn’t realized that there was a 55-foot tall fiberglass statue in Blue Earth, MN. I was aware of the enormous wooden sign of the Giant (with Sprout!) on Route 169 near Le Sueur, however. The few times we drove by when I was a kid, I remember waving at the sign enthusiastically and being amazed by its size. Imagine my disappointment to read on Wikipedia that this sign is a source of minor controversy because it “frequently startles motorists.” I’m going to let you in on a little secret. He’s not a real giant, people.

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