Saturday, April 12, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 12

April 12, 1914 – Two firemen were killed, one fatally hurt and two others injured as the result of fire and explosion that destroyed four buildings, forced several others out of line and shattered $4,000 worth of plate glass windows in the business part of Dawson, Minn. The total loss is expected to exceed $60,000.

The Dead: Fire Chief Elmer Thompson and Herbert Farmen.

Fatally Injured: Marvin E. Jacobson.

Injured: Arthur Kreisel, struck in the head by falling stone; and John C. Hanson, wrist nearly severed by broken glass.

The explosion occurred at 2 o’clock this morning, awakening the townspeople from their slumbers and being distinctly heard by farmers six miles away.

Flames broke out immediately following the blast and spread rapidly in spite of the best efforts of the volunteer fire department, which was early on the scene. Fire Chief Thompson was one of the first to arrive when the alarm was turned in. He was standing in front of the building occupied by the Holtan Restaurant, when the explosion occurred, lifting the entire roof from the building and burying Thompson in the debris.

Herbert Farmen, another volunteer fireman, was struck in the head by a falling brick, dying almost instantly.

The flames spread rapidly to adjoining buildings and soon the whole block was in flames.

Matt Wire, the local miller, who lived in apartments over the Holtan Restaurant, managed to get his wife, two daughters and a son out of the building with difficulty. The flames were then playing along the north wall of the building.

The fire department was powerless to stay the work of the flames, which soon reached the J. E. Lund Hardware Store, adjoining, and from there spread to the Citizens’ State Bank and the Jackson & Emerson’s Merchandise Store. The four buildings destroyed represent a loss of $22,000. The loss on the stock and fixtures will reach $34,000, all of which is partly covered by insurance.

The cause of the fire is believed to have been caused by a charge of nitro-glycerine or guncotton, caused by yeggmen (burglars). The fire marshal’s office has been notified and an investigation may be ordered.

Wilmer Tribune; “Terrific Explosion Kills Firemen; Lac qui Parle Town Sustains Heavy Loss by Fire. Believed to be Work of Yeggmen.”; April 15, 1914; p. 1

Friday, April 11, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 11

April 11, 1967 – Rod Carew’s MLB debut was with the Minnesota Twins on this date.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 10

April 10, 1858“The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners established the towns of Richland [the name was changed later to Richfield], Minneapolis, Bloomington and Eden Prairie” on this date.,_Minnesota

Richfield1: Originally called Richland; name was changed by a vote of its residents in May 1858.

Minneapolis2:  The name is a combination of Minnehaha (laughing water)
and the Greek ‘polis,’ or city.

Bloomington3:  The name was given by settlers from Illinois,
who came in 1852. 

Eden Prairie4: “The town was named, in 1853, by a Mrs. Elliot,
who gave it the name Eden,
in expressing her admiration of this beautiful prairie.”  

Upham, Warren; Minnesota Geographic Names, Their Origin and Historic Significance; Minnesota Historical Society (St. Paul, Minn., 1969); p. 2261, 2232, 2203, 2214.

Photos taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain April 10, 2014, 
as long as acknowledgement included.  


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 9

April 9, 1942 - The Bataan Death March, the forcible transfer by the Imperial Japanese Army of 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II, began on this date.1

“78,000 individuals were forced to march over 55 miles, with little to no food or water, following the surrender of Allied Forces. Nearly 20,000 military and civilian personnel died or were killed during the march. Many of the 60,000 survivors suffered the remaining years of the war in Japanese POW camps.

Soldiers from the Brainerd Army National Guard’s 194th Tank Battalion deployed to the Philippines in 1941, were attacked on the Bataan Peninsula by the Japanese on December 8th, 1941 (the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor), fought for five months in sustained combat, endured the Bataan Death March, and those who survived suffered the next three years in POW camps.” 2

The following
Bataan Death March Memorials can be found on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds:

“In honor of the soldiers of the 194th Light Tank Battalion, many of whom were from Brainerd, Minnesota. On April 9, 1942, shortly after the American entry into World War II, these Minnesotans were among those stationed in the Philippines who were ordered to surrender to the Japanese military and forced march up to ten days with no food or water in what has become known as the Bataan Death March, during which thousands of Americans and Filipino soldiers and civilians died.”

“The beginning of the war in the Pacific was disastrous for Americans and its allies. In April 1942, troops fighting on Luzon Island in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese. Over 70,000 debilitated American and Filipino prisoners were then force-marched 65 miles in six days. Thousands died from the heat and inhumane treatment on this infamous Bataan Death March, and many later perished in prison camps. One small town in Minnesota paid a particularly high price. Among those captured at Bataan was Company A, 194th Tank Battalion, a national Guard unit with 61 men from Brainerd. Thirty-two never returned home. Throughout the war, approximately 27,000 Americans were held as POWs by the Japanese and 94,000 by the Germans. Yet among the grim accounts of conflict and captivity are moving stories of fellowship by those engaged in the struggle to survive.”



Photos taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain April 9, 2014, 
as long as acknowledgement included.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 8

April 8, 1911“Melvin Calvin was born in St. Paul [on this date]. A biochemist, he discovered details about photosynthesis that earned him a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961.”

Melvin Calvin receiving his Nobel Prize from His Majesty the
King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden
at the Stockholm Concert Hall, December 10, 1961.

Monday, April 7, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 7

April 7, 1914 – A posse headed by Sheriff John Meining of Duluth is protecting the Bangor Mine on the Mesabi Range, the property of the Pickands Mather Company, as a result of a walkout of 100 men on Saturday, April 4.

The miners, it is said, became dissatisfied when the company changed from the account system to the contract system, under which the men are paid according to the amount of work they do. No acts of violence have been reported.

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “Posse Protects Iron Mine; Walkout at Bangor Property at Virginia, Minn.”; April 07, 1914; p. 1

Bangor Mine, Pickands Mather Company

Sunday, April 6, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 6

April 6, 19803M debuts "Post-It Notes" in US stores.

Post-It Notes
Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain April 6, 2014,
as long as acknowledgement included.