Today is Admission Day for Minnesota, our 32nd state, admitted to the Union on May 11th, 1858.
Minnesota is the 12th largest state (geographically) in the U.S., and is the northernmost of the contiguous 48 states. Most of the residents of the state (60%) live in the Minneapolis-St Paul area, which is generally referred to as the Twin Cities. The state ranks 21st in population.
The Twin cities of Minneapolis/St Paul combine the largest city in the state (Minneapolis) with the capital city (St. Paul). It is the hub of the state, and the center for business, industry and culture. The rest of the state is primarily rural, and consists of prairies, forests, farm land, and lakes. Let’s not forget those lakes, as Minnesota is known as the “Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.”
Minnesota has extreme weather, both frigid winters and hot, humid summers. The difference between these temperature has been known to be a swing of over 150 degrees. You might think that extreme temperatures leads to extremism in the population, but nothing could be further from the truth. Minnesota has a highly educated and literate population, and the state is known for its moderation — socially, politically, and culturally.
Early Minnesota industries were fur trading and agriculture, and while fur trading has fallen by the wayside, agriculture still play a major part of the economy. The state is the largest US producer of sugar beets and sweet corn, and if you’ve enjoyed a farm-raised turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, chances are good that it was raised in Minnesota. Shopping is also big business in Minnesota, and was the location for the first US shopping mall (Edina’s Southdale Center), and the largest indoor shopping center (Mall of America).
It’s not all business in Minnesota, though, and the Twin Cities is home to a number of outstanding fine arts museums, including the Walker Art Center (in photo above), and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Those cold, cold winters force people indoors, and the music and arts community thrives. For Garrison Keillor fans, Minnesota was the setting for his tales of Lake Wobegon.
A common theme when referring to Minnesota residents, is to comment on their Scandinavian (predominantly Norwegian) heritage. You’ll hear many an “Uff Da” in this part of the country. You can get a full explanation of that Norwegian-ism here.
I’ve been to Minnesota a number of times, although it was primarily related to making a connection, or, unfortunately all to often, not making a connection. I haven’t ventured to far from the general airport area, so don’t have a lot to offer as far as what I’ve enjoyed in the state. Since I hate those cold winters, I avoid in it during that time, but the heat of the summer has never seemed to bother me.
A lot of my flight attendant friends have suggested a one-day layover just to do some shopping at the Mall of America — certainly something to consider.
Photo credit: Jon Rochetti