8 Under-the-Radar Minnesota Music Landmarks by Bike

Any tourist can find First Ave, and a quick Google search will take you straight to the house where The Replacements shot their “Let It Be” cover. If you’re a Minnesota music fan ready to take a deeper dive, though, hop on your ride and follow this trail through Minneapolis to just a few of … [ Read more]

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Parks—and Water—For the People: The history of Minneapolis’ hand-pump drinking wells

When Minneapolis resident Jessica Rosenberg was a little girl, she and her brother had a special ritual they shared with their grandparents. They would load up the trunk of the car with empty plastic milk jugs and drive from their St. Louis Park home to Lake Harriet. Once there, they’d unload the jugs and walk … [ Read more]

The (not so) complete history of Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant

Given St. Paul’s colorful past, it shouldn’t be surprising that the city’s first resident of European descent was a bar owner with legal troubles, and the first building was his eponymous bar. Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant’s early years are shrouded in mystery. Here are things the historical records seem to agree on: He was born … [ Read more]

A Minnesota foods timeline

Curious about the roots of Minnesota’s diverse food traditions, The Growler embarked on a trip back through time, starting with the state’s earliest inhabitants, to understand the moments in history that shaped how and what Minnesotans eat today. 9000–5000 BC: Paleoindians in this part of the world hunted large game animals, such as mammoth, mastodon, and … [ Read more]

The Stone Saloon: One man’s quest to resurrect a Civil War-era lager house in St. Paul

When Tom Schroeder bought the small, vacant limestone house at 445 Smith Avenue, a block from his family’s home in St. Paul, he really didn’t know what he was going to do with it, except save it from demolition. As he began taking apart the interior with architect John Yust, he uncovered a piece of … [ Read more]

When the NFL came to Duluth: The story of the Eskimos

Minnesota has a long and rich history of professional football. For most of the state’s fans, the mention of pro football immediately conjures images of the icy breaths of the Purple People Eaters suspended in the chilly Metropolitan Stadium air, of Randall Cunningham firing off 60-yard touchdown passes, of missed kicks and four Superbowls. But … [ Read more]

A Hamm’s ransom: How the kidnapping of one of St. Paul’s most prosperous brewers reshaped a corrupt system

As president of the Theodore Hamm’s Brewery, William Hamm Jr. had an important schedule to keep. Every day at 12:45 in the afternoon, Hamm began the short walk from his brewery to the front steps of his twenty-room, red brick mansion for lunch. However, on one sweltering summer day in June 1933, Hamm’s lunch plans … [ Read more]

Old school brewing at Old World Wisconsin

Milwaukee may be steeped in brewing history, but travel about an hour west of the Brew City and you’ll find a farmstead where old brewing traditions are truly alive. Old World Wisconsin, a historic site and museum administered by the Wisconsin Historical Society, has teamed up with the Museum of Beer & Brewing in Milwaukee … [ Read more]

30 years of beer: A Summit Brewing timeline

Summit Brewing Company owner Mark Stutrud refers to himself as a non-conformist. Proof of that is on display in Summit’s Beer Hall, where a framed letter from the Brewers Association from 1983 strongly suggests he not open his St. Paul brewery. Fortunately for Minnesota beer fans, Stutrud ignored the letter, and his Extra Pale Ale … [ Read more]

Play ball: Returning to the roots of America’s pastime

Across the northlands each summer people flock to ballparks big and small to revel in the American tradition and pastime of the game we call baseball. They set up their folding chairs along grassy third-base lines, settle into cushioned seats under flashy jumbotrons, or relax on rickety bleachers behind home plate. This tradition dates as … [ Read more]

Glass from the Past: Champagne Velvet

The Terre Haute Brewing Co. was founded in 1855 and grew to be one of the largest breweries in Indiana. In 1902, Terre Haute brewmaster Walter Braun created a lager called Champagne Velvet (CV) that quickly became the flagship beer of the company. While the beer helped the brewery spread its market and fame during … [ Read more]

Ancient tablets reveal life in first-century Roman London

Wooden tablets found under a 1950s office block in the heart of London are the oldest handwritten documents to ever be unearthed in the UK, reports The Guardian. The site was being cleared for a huge new European headquarters for Bloomberg when the tablets were found. The tablets bear the faint marks of words written on bees wax … [ Read more]

On boards: How a Minnesotan taught the world to water ski

The date is Saturday, July 22, 1922. The place is Lake City, Minnesota, on the waters of Lake Pepin, the largest naturally occurring lake on the Mississippi River. The time is 4pm. The scene is set for Lake City native Ralph Samuelson to carve his name into sporting history. Samuelson, who is just one day … [ Read more]

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Roaring Dan Seavey: Pirate of the Great Lakes

When you envision a pirate, there’s a definite pop culture template. Johnny Depp, obviously; maybe Captain Hook or Errol Flynn for you old-timers. (Underrated pirate: Dave Parker of the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates.) He has an eye patch, a treasure map, a sword, and he says “arrrrrrrrrr” and “matey,” a lot. He is … [ Read more]

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An old-school brewing kit and its 5,000 year old beer recipe

A 5,000-year-old brewery has been unearthed in China, reports NPR. Archaeologists uncovered ancient “beer-making tool kits” in underground rooms built between 3400 and 2900 B.C. at a dig site in the Central Plain of China. The kits included funnels, pots, and specialized jugs. The shapes of the objects suggest they could be used for brewing, … [ Read more]