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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Historic Photos of Minnesota

A One Hundred Ninety Nine page photo book or a One Hundred Ninety Nine page trip through the history of Minnesota?  Historic Photos of Minnesota is both.  With its page dominating photos and quick engaging history facts, it would make a great coffee table book in any home!

Together with Turner Publishing Company, Susan Marks has provided a walk through the history of Minnesota spanning from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.

Born and raised in Minnesota and an aspiring photographer myself, this book hits close to home.  When I was offered the opportunity to look through it I immediately jumped at the chance.  It was so neat to open this book and see a waterfall (Pigeon River Falls) that I just seen on a recent trip this summer, taken 141 years ago!  My favorite bridge in Minneapolis (The Stone Arch Bridge) when it was actually used as a Railroad Bridge.  So many familiar places from so long ago it makes my mind wonder what does that corner look like now? or is that building still there? Its fascinating!  From logjams on the Minnesota River to Native American history, we are thick with culture here.  It actually makes me want to get out and see some more places; it's sometimes tough to take myself past glitz and glamor of the big (Twin) Cities!

A few of my favorites, in no particular order, can be found on:
Page 39 - A Photo of the Pillsbury A flour mill -Minneapolis was a huge milling district back in the day, this building still stands today and the "A" on the front of it is still visible.
Page 57 - The Duluth Aerial Bridge, which is now a lift bridge.  It's amazing to me that it hasn't always been a lift bridge; it used to have a gondola that rode back and forth hauling people and cars!!  It's a fantastic picture and probably one of my favorite history facts in the entire book.
Page 95 - Two Men sitting in a canoe pulling up a trout.  It's a great picture and captures the moment perfectly.  With our over 12,000 lakes it really depicts what Minnesota is all about, even way back then.
Page 113 - A group of kids playing in a checkers tourny at Logan Park.  Logan Park is in the neighborhood I grew up in, so it was really neat to see something that is still around today.
Page 183 - Toboggan Sleds racing down a track in St. Paul - I never knew such a thing happened, and boy, does it ever look fun!

All in all, you're not going to open this book and be overwhelmed by long boring facts but rather you'll see some very neat and interesting images captioned with a short, but descriptive, line or two of text.  Considering the era and the lack of photographic technology, most of the photos in this book are actually quite decent; in the lines of quality and content.  From mother nature delivering a HUGE snow storm to Martin Luther King Jr. making a stop in the great state, this book really documents a great deal about that time period.

There was one thing that caught the eye of a friend and myself as odd - I'm not sure if captions got jumbled or if photos got swapped, but pg. 59 and pg. 73 seems to be off from photo to caption, sort of.  Not a big deal as both are Photos of the St. Paul area, but something worth mentioning anyhow.

If you're looking for something to browse through over your morning coffee while learning a thing or two - this is the book for you.  Even if you don't drink coffee and have no interest in knowledge - I'd still give it a shot... you might be surprised ;)

Kudos to all involved in the making of this bit of history!


Kristi said...

I love local history...was there anything about the history of White Bear Lake? It was the biggest resort town around in the last 1800's....

Dana Leigh said...

It sounds like a great book to page though.


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