Near Albert Lea in Freeborn County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Minnesota’s Roads / Welcome to Minnesota
Early in the 1890s, even before the automobile age, bicycling Minnesotans and those interested in improved mail delivery and farm marketing were clamoring for better roads. But Minnesota's constitution, adopted with statehood in 1858, expressly prohibited the state from engaging in "works of internal improvements." The few roads of that era were of secondary importance to the river highways that had carried most early settlers into the region, and after 1865 attention was focused on the fast-growing railroad and streetcar systems. Counties and townships built the few roads and bridges that their residents petitioned for, financed by property taxes and a requirement that all able-bodied men of 21 to 50 years of age work three days each year on the roads.
It was the automobile that finally brought good roads to Minnesota. In 1902 Minneapolis recorded its first automobile speeding arrest, and a new law the following year required autos to be licensed by the state boiler inspectors. By 1909, 7,000 cars and 4,000 motorcycles were registered, but road construction lagged until 1920, when there were over 330,000 licensed vehicles
Welcome to Minnesota. Known to her citizens as the North Star State or the Gopher State, Minnesota has never claimed to be the Land of the Giants. But two famous American giants do hail from Minnesota. The giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan cut the pine forest of the north that helped build America’s towns and cities, and the Jolly Green Giant towers over the south’s lush corn, vegetable, and soybean fields, a part of the midwest’s fertile farm belt.
Like its neighbors, the thirty-second state grew as a collection of small farm communities, many settled by immigrants from Scandinavia and Germany. Two of the nation’s favorite fictional small towns—Sinclair Lewis’s Gopher Prairie and Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon—reflect that heritage. But the vast forests, the huge open pit iron ore mines, and the busy shipping lanes of Lake Superior attracted different settlers with different skills and made Minnesota a state of surprising diversity.
Best known for its more than 15,000 lakes, Minnesota has some 65 towns with the word “lake”
Minnesotans are proud of their state’s natural beauty and are leaders in resource conservation and concern for the quality of life.
Erected 1985 by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
Location. 43° 30.948′ N, 93° 21.194′ W. Marker is near Albert Lea, Minnesota, in Freeborn County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 35 at milepost 1, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at the northbound Albert Lea Travel Information Center/Rest Area, 1 mile north of the
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Historic Northern Iowa / Carrie Lane Chapman Catt - (1859 - 1947) (approx. 4.9 miles away in Iowa); South Shell Rock Lutheran (approx. 7˝ miles away in Iowa); Peoples Gas & Electric Building (approx. 8.3 miles away in Iowa); Emery Building (approx. 8.3 miles away in Iowa); IOOF - Erickson Building (approx. 8.3 miles away in Iowa); Amundson-Grosland Building (approx. 8.3 miles away in Iowa); Anchor Building (approx. 8.3 miles away in Iowa); Index Building (approx. 8.3 miles away in Iowa).
Categories. • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 3, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 2,845 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 3, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. 4. submitted on August 4, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. 5. submitted on October 13, 2009, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.