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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Blue Earth in Faribault County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

A Golden Dedication for I-90 / Minnesota Agriculture

 
 
A Golden Dedication for I-90 Marker image. Click for full size.
July 31, 2021
1. A Golden Dedication for I-90 Marker
Inscription.  
A Golden Dedication for I-90
The nation celebrated completion of Interstate 90 after contractors paved the last four-miles of freeway near Blue Earth in 1978. Reminiscent of the "Golden Spike" that symbolized completion of the nation's first transcontinental railroad in 1869, officials arranged to tint a small section of I-90's pavement gold. Also, like the two locomotives that met at the juncture of the transcontinental railroad to represent east meeting west, two Minnesota National Guard trucks met at the union of I-90, a National Interstate Defense Highway. Officials praised the new highway, citing its promise of safer and faster travel linking the nation.

Celebrants, including national and state officials, contractors, Miss America and area residents, gathered in the area now occupied by the Blue Earth Rest Areas. Many attendees received pens with the inscription "I-90 Golden Spike Dedication, Sept. 23, 1978". The celebration included a flyover by Minnesota Air National Guard jets and the debut of a 56-feet tall replica of the Jolly Green Giant which has overlooked the City of Blue Earth ever since. After
Minnesota Agriculture Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, July 12, 2016
2. Minnesota Agriculture Marker
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the ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by 2,500 people, a line of vintage cars and trucks crossed the gold pavement.

Planning for the $256 million project began in 1958. Stretching from Boston to Seattle, I-90 is the nation's longest and the northernmost east-to-west, coast-to-coast interstate. At 70 mph it would take a motorist 44 hours to travel its length.

Like the other interstate highways, I-90 lived up to expectations by providing faster and safer travel. The Interstates brought other changes, both positive and negative. Some communities experienced economic growth while others suffered as business moved away from older highways. I-90's impact in southern Minnesota continues to shape the region.

Minnesota Agriculture
Since its territorial days, in the mid-19th century, Minnesota’s identity has been rooted in agriculture. With acres of prairies and woodlands to turn into farms, the state proved attractive to waves of settlers from eastern states and other nations.

At first family farms grew crops and raised animals for their own use. As transportation and farming methods improved, farmers began growing crops to sell. In the 1870s and 1880s, wheat was the main crop. Gradually farmers diversified, switching to other more profitable crops. Today Minnesota is a leader in the production of sugar beets, turkeys, soybeans,
A Golden Dedication for I-90 Marker image. Click for full size.
July 31, 2021
3. A Golden Dedication for I-90 Marker
Blue Earth West Rest Area can be seen in the background.
pork, ethanol, sweet corn, peas, and corn.

So central is agriculture to the state’s economy that it has given rise to many related industries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Minnesota was the flour milling capital of the world, due largely to local advancements in milling technology. Since then the state has remained in the forefront of the food processing and food science industries. Home to such corporate giants as General Mills, Pillsbury, Cargill, and Hormel, Minnesota is not just an agricultural state but an agribusiness center.

Agriculture has paid a role in shaping the state’s cultural and political life as well. No Minnesota summer would be complete without a visit to a county fair or the Minnesota State Fair, one of the largest in the country. Two leading farm organizations, the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry (the Grange) and the cooperative movement (the Coop), were formed here. Agriculture even spawned Minnesota’s unique brand of Democratic party—the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

In recent decades Minnesota’s agricultural landscape has changed. Now dotting the countryside are large, consolidated farms where crops and animals can be raised more cost effectively. What once was the backbone of the state’s farm economy -- the small family farm -- is gradually becoming less common.
 
Erected
Minnesota Agriculture Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, July 12, 2016
4. Minnesota Agriculture Marker
Marker, as seen from a distance
1997 by the City of Blue Earth, Faribault County, and the Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Minnesota Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1978.
 
Location. 43° 39.83′ N, 94° 7.044′ W. Marker is near Blue Earth, Minnesota, in Faribault County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 90, on the right when traveling west. Marker is in the west bound rest area on Interstate 90 West of mile 119. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Blue Earth MN 56013, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Prairie's Gifts (within shouting distance of this marker); Water Wisdom (approx. 0.4 miles away); Exploring Southwestern Minnesota (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Golden Dedication for I-90 (approx. 0.4 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 23, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 15, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 412 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on April 23, 2022.   2. submitted on August 15, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio.   3. submitted on April 23, 2022.   4. submitted on August 15, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 27, 2022