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VISITING THE BEAUTIFUL CITIES OF MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Summertime in this region is spectacular

sunny 81 °F

(Saturday) With a strong stroke of luck the weather this week has been wonderful with sunny skies and moderate daily temperatures in the low 80's. My computer has been slow lately so I felt it was time for a 'tune-up' taking it to Best Buy's Geek Squad to correct the situation. They also backed up everything for I have about 2,000 pictures in the computer that I don't want to lose. In the afternoon I was invited to attend a softball game involving the children of my hosts. The kids play in a league for a 4-7 yr. olds, so it was entertaining to say the least! After returning from the game and showering, my other two couples from MN & WI met at a restaurant for dinner and conversation. It was a very enjoyable time for it had been about 6 months since seeing them in FL last winter. I ordered walleye (fish), a Minnesota delicacy.

(Sunday) Again, it was a beautiful day and we went to the large Farmers Market in downtown Minneapolis. Located along the Mississippi River bank across from Union Station, the active railroad passenger, trolley, and bus terminals it is a hub of activity, even on a Sunday morning. Adjacent, also is the Minor League baseball park and teams were playing that morning in an American Legion league game. From there we visited Nygaard Photography studios in an office building across from Union Station. Luke and Andie, my hosts, operate a very successful photography business, which has won 'Best of Weddings' awards 5 years running in the publication, "THE KNOT", specializing in the nuptial business. In the afternoon we visited the 42 room JAMES J. HILL Mansion, built by the railroad pioneer and founder of the Great Northern Railway during the gilded age period. It is Minnesota's largest house covering 36,000 sq.ft. on 5 floors, including 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces, a reception hall 100' long, and elaborately carved oak & mahogany woodwork throughout. Hill was a hugely successful entrepreneur who pursued a broad range of other businesses including coal & iron ore mining, Great Lakes & Pacific Ocean shipping, banking and finance, and agriculture. His railroad opened the Pacific Northwest to settlement, agriculture development and commercial expansion. He was one of the "Empire Builders" of his time and amassed a fortune for his labors.

(Monday) This was a day to catch up on laundry, then in the afternoon I visited the Minnesota Science Museum. While primarily focused on youngsters as an 'oldster' I did learn some things while there, filling my mind with 'insignificant' information, and at my age it will soon be forgotten!

(Tuesday) Since the State Capitol is closed on Mondays and weekends, this was the day. The spectacular building (they all are spectacular) was crafted by a local man, CASS GILBERT, from St. Paul whose design was chosen from 20 other entries. A brilliant man, he also designed the AR and WV Capitols, the US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, and the Woolworth Building in NYC, then the tallest building in the world.
As in several other states the first MN Capitol burned, then was replaced by one which was too small before it was finished. This, the 3rd, a nine year project was completed in 1905 at a cost of $4.5M. The restoration of the building, taking 4 yrs., was completed in 2017 at a cost of $310M!! Gilbert designed a self-supporting marble dome for MN's Capitol, the 3rd largest in the world. It is exceeded in size only by the Vatican dome in Rome, and the Taj Mahal in India. He was influenced by European architecture and his design of this building is Italian Renaissance in style. He used 20 types of stone in the hallways, stairways, and chambers. Murals and paintings cover the walls with symbolic motifs of MN's natural resources, industry, etc. The 3 branches of government have chambers within the building; Legislative, (Senate, House of Reps), Supreme Court, and Executive. The Governor's Reception Room is patterned after a room in a Venetian palace in Italy. My words cannot adequately describe its opulence and beauty. As citizens of the ' North Star' state in the 'Land of 10,000 Lakes', Minnesotans are very proud of their state. It was chartered in 1858, becoming our 32nd entry into the Union.

My next tour was of the Minnesota History Center where I spent 4 hours! There, I learned much about this wonderful state. Bountiful in natural resources, their 3 iron ore ranges are among the richest in the world. Their strategic location on Lake Superior promotes ship-building and water transportation to all ports of the world via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The headwaters of the Mississippi River are in MN and barges filled with commodities of ore, grains, manufactured goods are transported to New Orleans and beyond. While MN is infamous for its cold, frigid climate the people here have adapted very well to it. For example, the downtown has 5 miles of glass tunnels connecting buildings throughout the city to protect shoppers, condo dwellers, and office workers from the extreme elements. The Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the US is located here, all enclosed. Industries, such as 3M, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN are known throughout the world.

When I return from my visit to NY and CT to see family my plans are to drive the MH to the 'north shore' area along Lake Superior to visit the sites there. More to come later................

Posted by dixter 10:25 Archived in USA Tagged tours various

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