A Brief of Minnesota History

September 26th, 2011 11:57 pm

Timber was the territory’s first boom industry, and soon water-powered sawmills arose at Minneapolis, St Paul and Stillwater. Wheat from the prairies also needed to be processed, so the first flour mills were built along the river in the 1820s.

The population boomed in the 1880s, with mass immigration (especially from Scandinavia), development of the iron mines and expansion of the railroads. Since the 1920s depleted forests and larger farms have meant a declining rural population, but industry and urban areas have grown steadily.

Cooperatives and Population Shifts

September 26th, 2011 11:56 pm

The state has been notable for experimentation in novel features of local government and has also been a leader in the use of cooperatives. This phenomenon is perhaps explained by the cooperative heritage present among its many people of Scandinavian descent. In 1919 credit unions, cooperative creameries, grain elevators, and purchasing associations were supported by legislation that protected the institutions and instructed the state department of agriculture to encourage them. Today there are several thousand cooperative associations in Minnesota serving diversified needs.

Since the mid-19th cent. the state has become progressively more urban. In 1970 the urban population was two thirds of the total. Since 1970 dramatic suburban growth has taken place, especially in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport has become an important hub for the region. Nearby is the massive Mall of America (1992), the nation’s largest shopping center.