Saturday, May 24, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 24

May 24, 1965 – Minn. Governor Karl Rolvaag signed a bill (Laws 1965 c684) on this date that permitted the state to acquire a governor’s mansion.1 The bill designated the residence “as the ‘State Ceremonial Building’ for official use for state ceremonial functions and as a governor’s residence.”4

The nine-bedroom, eight-bathroom2 house on Summit Ave. in St. Paul was donated to the state by Mrs. A. M. Dodge and Mrs. E. J. Moles, Jr., the daughters of the late lumber baron Horace Hills Irvine3, the original owner of the home. In 1966, “the Rolvaags become the first gubernatorial family to live in the residence.”5

The mansion was named to the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 16, 1974.

1St. Paul Pioneer Press; “Rolvaag Signs Bill for Governor’s Home”; May 25, 1965; p. 13


3St. 2Paul Pioneer Press; “Governor’s Mansion ‘Tops’”; May 26, 1965; p. 8



Minn. Governor's Residence's_Residence.jpg

Friday, May 23, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 23

May 23, 1857 - By an act of the legislature, Anoka County was formed from Ramsey County on this date.1 Its name was taken from the city of Anoka, so named in 1853. Anoka is a Dakota or Sioux word meaning “on both sides; applied by founders to the city laid out on both sides of the Rum River.”2


2Upham, Warren; Minnesota Geographic Names, Their Origin and Historic Significance; Minnesota Historical Society (St. Paul, Minn., 1969); p. 22.

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain January 1, 2014,
as long as acknowledgement included.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 22

May 22, 2002 – Paul Giel, a football and baseball all-American and former director of athletics at the University of Minnesota died on this date in Minneapolis. He was 70.

“Giel collapsed in his car while returning from the Minnesota Twins-Texas Rangers baseball game in the Metrodome to watch his 12-year-old grandson, Paul 3rd, play in a Little League game. Giel suffered a heart attack and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

As a 5-foot-11-inch, 185-pound single-wing tailback for Minnesota from 1951 through 1953, Giel (pronounced GEEL) received an athletic scholarship that covered only tuition, so he worked in a brewery to earn money for room and board. Over three years, he ran and passed for 4,110 yards and 35 touchdowns. As a senior, he finished a close second to Johnny Lattner, the Notre Dame quarterback, in the voting for the Heisman Trophy as the year's outstanding college player. He was later elected to the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Football League offered Giel $75,000 over three years, and the Chicago Bears held his National Football League rights. Seven or eight baseball teams, including all three in New York -- the Giants, the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers -- also wanted him.

Giel signed with the Giants for a $60,000 bonus, their highest ever at the time. He had a strong fastball, a good slider and an ordinary curveball and needed minor league seasoning, but the rules at the time required such so-called bonus babies to spend at least their first two years in the major leagues.

He had mixed feelings about that, telling The Daily Mirror: ‘I don't only want to sit around, just hoping. I want to play. I want to belong.’

He seldom played -- Giel appeared in 30 games in his first two seasons -- but he was excited anyway. A month after his major league career began, he told Arthur Daley, The New York Times columnist: 'This is wonderful. Every game's a Rose Bowl game. I still can't believe that Willie Mays is real. He just has to be a figment of someone's imagination.’

From 1954 to 1961, with two years off for active duty as an Army officer, Giel was a right-handed pitcher for the New York and San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Athletics. His career record was 11-9 in 102 games (11 starts), with a 5.39 earned run average.

Paul Robert Giel was born Feb. 29, 1932, in Winona, Minn.”

He was the University of Minnesota's athletic director from 1972 to 1988. “Among the coaches [Giel] hired were Lou Holtz in football and Herb Brooks in hockey. Until his death, he was the chief fund-raiser for the Minneapolis Heart Institute.”

Paul Giel

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 21

May 21, 1960 – Minnesota Twin first baseman Kent Hrbek was born in Minneapolis on this date. He played his entire 14-year baseball career for the Twins (1981–1994).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 20

May 20, 1996 – In May 1996, David Stevens took two weeks off from his job as an ESPN assignment editor “to make baseball history”; the catcher-second baseman-outfielder, was invited to spring training with the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League

What made this invitation so unique was that Stevens was born without legs. His birth mother had taken thalidomide, a drug meant to prevent morning sickness that also caused birth defects. He played football and baseball in high school in Wickenburg, Ariz., and Augsburg College, in Minneapolis.

On this date, during the Saints’ first exhibition game of the year, Stevens played second base in the ninth inning.

David Stevens

Monday, May 19, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 19

May 19, 2005 – Wadena, Minn., Police “Officer Peter Resch suffered a fatal heart attack minutes after struggling with a suspect at the scene of a domestic disturbance.

Officer Resch, with the assistance of a Verndale officer, was able to subdue and handcuff the suspect. The officer then collapsed in the apartment building hallway as he escorted the suspect to a patrol car.

Other officers and emergency personnel on the scene immediately began CPR. He was transported to Tri County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Officer Resch had served with the Wadena Police Department for 15 years. He [was] survived by his wife and three children.”

Officer Peter Jay Resch

Sunday, May 18, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 18

May 18, 1955Plymouth, Minn., was incorporated as a village on this date.

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain May 18, 2014,
as long as acknowledgement included.