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

Minnesota's Norwegian Americans

 
 
Minnesota's Norwegian Americans Marker image. Click for full size.
By Martha Decker, May 29, 2010
1. Minnesota's Norwegian Americans Marker
Inscription. Like immigrants from many European nations in the mid-19th century, Norwegians left their homeland to escape overpopulation, food shortages, and farm foreclosures. They began arriving in Minnesota in the 1850s, drawn by rich farmland and job opportunities. Eventually they grew to become the state's third largest ethnic group, and Minnesota became a national cultural center for Norwegian Americans. Among the first to arrive were immigrants who had first settled in Wisconsin and then migrated into southeastern Minnesota. There they formed rural communities anchored by Lutheran churches, which were social and religious centers and visible links to the traditions of Norway.
As these farming settlements grew, newcomers moved on to the prairies of central and western Minnesota. When the railroad reached Moorhead in 1872, Norwegian immigrants poured into the Red River Valley. The earliest and most numerous group of European settlers in the valley, they quickly became leaders of business and local affairs. Norwegian immigrants in the 1880s and 1890s found other employment as good farmland became scarce. Some pioneered commercial fishing on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Others gravitated to the cities and the iron ranges, where they worked in mills and mines and as domestic servants.
To serve their growing numbers around the
Historic Inspiration Point Wayside Park image. Click for full size.
By Martha Decker, May 29, 2010
2. Historic Inspiration Point Wayside Park
state, Norwegians formed their own institutions -- schools, fraternal societies like the Sons of Norway, political organizations, businesses -- that fostered the development of a Norwegian-American culture. Novelists like O. E. Rolvaag and Martha Ostenso wrote about Norwegian-American experiences. With an active Norwegian-American press as their forum, Norwegian-Americans rose to prominence in Minnesota politics, religion, and higher education.
Immigration quotas, the Great Depression, and World War II slowed the flow of new immigrants to the state. Yet Norwegian-American culture thrives in Minnesota today, supported by such organizations and the Norwegian-American Historical Association in Northfield, thanks to an enduring interest in their heritage by Minnesota's Norwegian-Americans.
 
Erected 1997 by Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 43° 41.666′ N, 91° 59.921′ W. Marker is near Lanesboro, Minnesota, in Fillmore County. Marker is on State Highway 16, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. This marker and historic wayside are located between Preston and Lanesboro, Minnesota on Minnesota Highway 16 (formerly US Route 16.)
Stone Picnic Table at Inspiration Point Wayside image. Click for full size.
By Martha Decker,
3. Stone Picnic Table at Inspiration Point Wayside
The wayside is situated at the top of the hill, just before Highway 16 winds its way down into Lanesboro and the Root River Valley. Marker is in this post office area: Lanesboro MN 55949, United States of America.
 
Regarding Minnesota's Norwegian Americans. The marker is aptly located, as this area of Southeastern Minnesota is widely populated by the descendants of Norwegian immigrants.

Side Note: Since the late 1970's/early 1980's this area has also hosted a thriving Amish community that, along with the Root River cycling trail, is a very popular tourist attraction.
 
Also see . . .  Description of Inspiration Point Wayside Rest. (Submitted on June 3, 2010, by Martha Decker of Shakopee, Minnesota.)
 
Additional comments.
1. Historic Inspiration Point Wayside Park
The historic Inspiration Point Roadside Parking Area was built in 1934 during the Great Depression, most likely by unemployed workers who were hired locally by the City of Lanesboro or Fillmore County and paid with either SERA or FERA funds.

The site has many of the features typically found in Minnesota's Depression era waysides, including picnic tables and walls constructed out of local stone. The view from the wayside is fantastic, overlooking the small town of Lanesboro
View from the Inspiration Point Wayside image. Click for full size.
By Martha Decker, May 29, 2010
4. View from the Inspiration Point Wayside
and the Root River valley of Southeastern Minnesota. Unfortunately, the view is obscured by trees and brush throughout its intended scenic viewing area, but can still be seen from a few select spots.
    — Submitted May 31, 2010, by Martha Decker of Shakopee, Minnesota.

 
Additional keywords. Lanesboro Old US 16 Amish Bluff Country
 
Categories. 20th CenturyAgricultureNotable PlacesSettlements & Settlers
 
Amish Horse & Buggy Seen from Inspiration Point image. Click for full size.
By Martha Decker, May 29, 2010
5. Amish Horse & Buggy Seen from Inspiration Point
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2010, by Martha Decker of Shakopee, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 1,915 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 31, 2010, by Martha Decker of Shakopee, Minnesota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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