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]

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]

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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160 years of curling in Minnesota

Two-time U.S. Olympic curler and former junior high chemistry teacher Jeff Isaacson, 32, has a new gig: teaching curling. Last April, he became manager of the new Chaska Curling Center, which began its first season of league play just after the New Year. Interest in the new curling club is overwhelming, Isaacson says. When the … [ Read more]

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The Legend of Joe Rolette: The Most Interesting Man in Minnesota History

There’s a thing called ghosting, in which a person breaks off all communication with the world, ignoring all texts, calls, e-mails, semaphore flags, ASL, telegrams, etc. (Parents: Ask your kids if this is still unclear.) The New York Times discovered it when Charlize Theron went AWOL on Sean Penn. You may remember that Wisconsin legislators also … [ Read more]