Saturday, January 19, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 19

January 19, 1930 – Actress Tippi Hedren, best known for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s films The Birds and Marnie, was born in New Ulm, Minn. She is also the mother of actress Melanie Griffith.

Tippi Hedren

Friday, January 18, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 18

January 18, 1961 - Norm Van Brocklin accepted the head coaching position for the expansion Minnesota Vikings on this date.  “Over the next six years Van Brocklin compiled a record of 29-51-4. The tenure was highlighted by his contentious relationship with quarterback Fran Tarkenton, a feud that culminated with Van Brocklin's resignation on February 11, 1967.”

“Minnesota Vikings head coach Norm Van Brocklin (right) and 
quarterback Fran Tarkenton (10) on the sideline.”

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 17

January 17, 1971 – Professional hockey player and college coach Derek Plante was born in Cloquet, Minn. on this date.

Derek Plante

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 16

January 16, 1934 - Edward Bremer was kidnapped from the streets of St. Paul on this date. Bremer, 34, was president of Commercial State Bank. “His father, Adolph Bremer, was also a banker and the owner of the Schmidt beer brewery.  He was released on February 7, 1934, in return for $200,000 ransom. The FBI launched an intensive investigation that resulted in the arrest of Arthur "Doc" Barker on January 8, 1935. Eight days later, his brother Fred and mother Kate "Ma" Barker were killed in a shootout with the FBI at Lake Weir, Florida.”

Doc Barker  

Ma Barker


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Memorials to Disasters that Changed Minnesota, Part II

While many memorials to disasters in Minnesota include the names of the victims, others do not, particularly disasters that caused numerous deaths.

Two examples of such memorials are those for the Hinckley Fire (1894) and the Cloquet/Moose Lake Fire (1918). Both fires struck on a Saturday, killed more than 400 people and are believed to have been started by the spark of a passing train. Another similarity: citizens of both towns were rescued by trains that dropped them off in Duluth and Superior; their memorials, however, are very different.

Hinckley Fire Memorial

The Hinckley Fire memorial is an obelisk, “a pillar of stone that has a square base and sides that taper like a pyramid toward a pointed top,”1 similar to the Washington Monument, but much, much smaller. Each of the four sides has an inscription:

The Great Hinckley Fire This Monument is erected by The State of Minnesota under an Act of the Legislature Approved April 7th, A. D. 1899 To the Memory of Four Hundred and Eighteen Men Women and Children who perished in the Great Hinckley Forest Fire of September First A. D. 1894.”

September 1st, A.D. 1894 On the First Day of September, A.D. 1894, between the Hours of Three and Five O’Clock in the afternoon a forest fire swept over Central Pine County devastating Four Hundred square miles of Country, Consuming the Villages of Hinckley, Sandstone, Mission Creek and Brook Park, and destroying more than Four Hundred and Eighteen human lives.”

"Dedicated September 1st, A.D. 1900 This Monument is dedicated to the Pioneers of Civilization in the Forests of Minnesota."

This part of the Hinckley Fire memorial really touched my heart. The 248 people buried here were probably burned beyond recognition:

"In Memoriam In the Four Trenches North of this Monument lie the remains of Two Hundred and Forty Eight Men, Women and Children, Residents of Hinckley, who perished in the fire which this monument was erected to commemorate."

The Cloquet Fire Memorial

The Cloquet Fire memorial is located on the NW corner of Hwy 33 and Cloquet Ave., Fauley Park, Cloquet, Minn. This semi-oblong-shaped stone can be seen by anyone driving north on Hwy 33 towards Hwy 53 and the Iron Range.

The monument’s inscription says:

"Erected and dedicated to the courageous men, women & children who returned and rebuilt Cloquet after the disastrous fire of October 12, 1918 which completely destroyed the city.

Dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the fire
October 12, 1968"

There is another fire memorial in Cloquet that most people do not see. This large boulder is located in Hillcrest Cemetery, up the hill from Pinehurst Park, hidden amongst the trees.

The inscription reads:

"In Memory
Of those who rest in this, the original, unplatted burial ground, known as the “Old Cemetery” of Knife Falls and Cloquet, and to those who rest in the single lot section of platted Hillcrest Cemetery, blocks fifty-three to seventy-one inclusive, lying to the west and south, and to similar blocks, twenty-seven to thirty-six, inclusive lying to the extreme north.

The ravages of time and loss of burial records in the nineteen eighteen fire made proper identification of all impossible. That their rest be not disturbed, nor memory forgotten, the areas designated are marked by corner posts and this tablet.

May they sleep in peace."

This memorial hit home for me. My paternal grandfather’s brother Carl died of diphtheria in 1909. According to his death certificate, he was quickly buried in Cloquet the day he died, most likely to prevent further spread of the disease.

Because Carl died before the 1918 fire, I have been unable to locate any records of where he was buried. Since the rest of his family – his parents and siblings – are buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, I’m assuming he was also buried there, and this memorial applies to him.

Do you have an ancestor that was killed in one of Minnesota’s natural or man-made disasters?

LLet me help you find out what parts of history your family had a role in.

Discover your roots and watch the branches of your family tree begin to grow.

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On This Date in Minnesota History: January 15

January 15, 1968 – “Shortly after completing a pass to teammate Wayne Connelly, [Minnesota North Star Bill Masterson] was checked by Oakland's Larry Cahan and Ron Harris and fell backwards onto the ice head-first. The force of the back of his head hitting the ice caused blood to gush from his mouth and nose. Masterton sustained a massive brain hemorrhage that damaged the pons. The injury was so severe that doctors were unable to perform surgery, and Masterton died [on this date]. Masterton was not wearing a helmet.

His death would result in more intense lobbying to make it mandatory for hockey players to wear helmets, which were uncommon in North American professional hockey at the time. Helmets were made a mandatory piece of equipment for incoming professional players before the start of the 1979–80 season, though older players were not required to wear them. Masterton's #19 jersey has never been worn again by any player in the North Stars/Stars franchise, and it was officially retired in 1987, six years before the North Stars left Minnesota.”

Monday, January 14, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 14

January 14, 1962 – RB Hugh McElhenny and WR Jerry Reichow [become] the first Vikings to compete in the Pro Bowl. They were part of the Western Conference All-Stars who beat the Eastern Conference squad, 31-30, at the Los Angeles Coliseum.”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 13

January 13, 1934 - Wearing his Northwest Airlines radio operator's uniform, Roy McCord was mistaken for a police office by gangster Alvin Karpis and severely wounded in a hail of gunfire near the Holly Falls Apartments, 562 Holly Avenue, Saint Paul.

Gangster Alvin Karpis

Holly Falls Apartments, 562 Holly Avenue, Saint Paul, Minn.