Minnesota is home to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota is where the mighty Mississippi begins, at Lake Itasca. It is also the birthplace of two of the greatest musicians of all time, Bob Dylan and Prince. Minnesota is also one of the coldest states.
Mall of America
America is known the world over for its love of shopping malls, and the biggest one of them all is in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Mall of America opened its doors in 1992. It has 4.3 miles of total store front footage. The Mall at 4,870,000 sq ft, is big enough to fit 7 Yankee Stadiums inside of it. Around 42 million people visit it annually. Inside there is the Nickelodeon Universe theme park which is the largest inside amusement park in the United States. There’s also the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium with over 4,500 sea creatures. The Mall of America has nearly everything you could think of and is an attraction that millions of people from all over come to see.
Minnesota is home to one of the oldest rocks on earth. The Morton Gneiss, also known as the Rainbow Gneiss, is located near Morton, Minnesota at the Morton Outcrops Scientific and Natural Area. They were formed about 3.6 billion years ago. It is the oldest intact continental crust rock in the United States. The granite from the gneiss started to be quarried in the late 19th century. It was used in the construction of railroads and in some buildings, mostly during the Art Deco era. Recently it has mostly been used in grave markers and for local signage.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3K, was a cult TV show that was centered around funny commentary on B sci-fi movies. The premise was that a group of mad scientists sent someone to the ‘Satellite of Love’ to study the effect of bad movies on the human brain. The subject, originally Joel Hodgson, built robot friends to keep him company. So, how is this cult classic connected to Minnesota? Well, it got its start on public access television in the Minneapolis area. On Thanksgiving Day 1988, on the local station KTMA those who were lucky enough to tune in were the first to see this comedy classic. It aired on the station for about a year or so then was picked up by a new cable channel, Comedy Central. More and more people discovered it. It also continued its Thanksgiving tradition and would air a 30-hour MST3K marathon called Turkey Day. Comedy Central canceled the show in 1996 but it was picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel for a couple more seasons but went off the air in 1999. Since then, its cult following has grown and in 2017 Netflix premiered a new version of it. If you enjoy cheesy sci-fi movies and really enjoy listening to people make fun of them, then this is the show for you.
St. Paul is one of the Twin Cities of Minnesota. However, it wasn’t always called St. Paul. The area that is now the state of Minnesota came with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The U.S sent the army out there and Fort Snelling was established in 1819. However, there had long been French-Canadian traders and fur trappers in the area. One of them was Pierre Parrant. He arrived in the area in 1832 and settled at the squatter’s colony outside of Fort Snelling. He began to distill and sell liquor to the other members of the colony, soldiers and the local Native Americans. He found a tract of land near Fountain Cave and setup shop. He opened a tavern known as “Pig’s Eye” or “Pig’s Eye Pandemonium”. It was very popular with the locals and the riverboat crews who worked on the Mississippi River. A resident of the area, Joseph R. Brown, sent a letter and gave his return address as Pig’s Eye in 1839. The growing community became known as Pig’s Eye. It may have remained that but after a Catholic priest moved to area and was so aghast that it was named for a tavern, he built a chapel and called it St. Paul. Eventually, Pig’s Eye became St. Paul.
Minneapolis is home to the largest network of skyways in the world. The Minneapolis Skyway System links 80 blocks for over 9 continuous miles. The city’s first skyway opened in 1962 and connected new Northstar Center building to the Northwestern Bank Building. It was very popular and soon new skyways appeared. The construction of the IDS in 1974 was a key moment for the network of skyways. The building featured skyways in all four directions that integrated the scattered skyway system. Since then, skyways have been included in almost all new construction downtown. The network can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with it so there in now signs and maps to help you find your way. The Minneapolis Skyway System is also very helpful for keeping out of the harsh winter weather.