Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes!?
We all love our home state, Minnesota, The Star of the North. But how often do you really get out of your own little orbit and realize just how big a thing we are? What does the rest of the country think of us past funny accents, and our “Minnesota Nice” passive-aggressive nature?
OK, we no one can fully appreciate our state unless you live here, but here is a list of things that even you might not have known about the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”
1) Let’s start with that one, shall we? Are there really 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. Nah! There are actually 11,842! Ten thousand just rolls off the tongue a little better. And those are just the ones that are more than ten acres in size. FYI: There are more than 200 “Mud Lakes,” 150 “Long Lakes,” and 120 “Rice Lakes” in the state.
2) Speaking of lakes, the first truly usable water skis were invented by Ralph W. Samuelson in 1922 using two eight-foot pine boards. He took his first ride behind a motorboat in Lake City.
3) We all know and love the Great Minnesota Get-Together that is the Minnesota State Fair, but did you know that Teddy Roosevelt’s first use of the words “Speak softly, and carry a big stick” was at the Minnesota State Fair? It was on September 2, 1901, when he was serving as Vice President of the United States under President William McKinley.
4) We invented, and perfected, the shopping mall. Southdale Shopping Center opened in 1956, it had a roof on it and included 72 stores, anchored by two major department stores. It offered free parking, It had air conditioning and helicopter service to downtown Minneapolis. In August of 1992, in Bloomington, the Mall of America opened its doors. Nearly 25 years later…. the Mall of America is the largest mall in U.S…. 520+ stores, 50 restaurants, and 7-acre amusement park.
5) Polaris Industries of Roseau manufactured the first practical snowmobile in 1956, and has since grown up to be #2 on the 2016 IndustryWeek 50 Best US Manufacturers. With Toro a close #7 today, and their claim to fame: the first snowblower (Bloomington, 1951).
6) The Minneapolis Skyway, spanning 69 downtown blocks, is the longest continuous skyway system in the world.
7) The pacemaker was invented in 1957 by Medtronic founder Earl Bakken in his garage. It became the first self-contained, transistorized device that could be taped to a patient’s chest and needed no cords.
8) The “Father of Open Heart Surgery,” as Minnesota native Clarence Walton Lillehei is known. He performed the world’s first open-heart surgery in 1952 on the campus at the University of Minnesota, where he earned five degrees. At the time of the procedure, Lillehei was 35 years old.
9) Foods: Wheaties– They were first made in 1922 by accident when a technician for Washburn Crosby Company spilled wheat germ on a hot stove. And the Mars Inc. candy company was founded in Minneapolis as Mar-O-Bar co in 1920.
10) You may not hear about it as much nowadays as Angie’s List (1995, Columbus, OH), but the original consumer warning organization, The Better Business Bureau, was founded in Minneapolis in 1912.
A few more worth mentioning…. We’re not just known for Bob Dylan, Prince, 3M Scotch Tape (1925) & Post-It’s (1979), tater-tot hotdish, and SPAM (1937). Lets not forget, NordicTrack (Chaska, 1975), Rollerblades (1980), Zubas (1981), Tonka Trucks (1946), Bisquick (1930), HMOs, the bundt pan (1940), Aveda products (1978), Green Giant brand (1925). the pop-up toaster (1926), the automatic seatbelt (1963), Tilt-o-whirl (1926), and the oxygen mask (1935)!
So when your out-of-state friends put on their worst “Fargo” accent and make fun of how we have snow 12 months out of the year, you can now prove to them that we’re more than a big ball of twine, you betcha!
Did we forget a Minnesota claim to fame? Put it in the comments below!
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