At the Museum
A 2012 Announcement of Importance to Communities along the Minnesota River
The Thoreau Society of Concord, Massachusetts formally designates the areas of the United States where Henry David Thoreau lived, traveled or studied as "Thoreau Country." This includes Minnesota where Thoreau spent one month in 1861. During this time he traveled up the Minnesota River to Fort Ridgely and the Lower Sioux Agency. To commemorate this trip, the Minnesota River Valley will be the focus of future events of a historic, artistic and scientific nature on an ongoing basis under the cosponsorships of many organizations. Consult our website or call the Bloomington Historical Society at 952-881-4327 for more information.
Minnesota River Valley --- Thoreau Country
This designation is given to special places in the United States which Thoreau visited in his lifetime to study the natural and cultural features. The Minnesota River Valley will be described on Thoreau websites along with listing of Thoreau events. All other such designations are in the Eastern United States.
The first Thoreau Country event in Minnesota was on April 22, 2012 -- Earth Day. The Bloomington Town Hall History Museum hosted a poetry reading and discussion comparing the poetry of Henry David Thoreau to that of Samuel W. Pond. Poems selected had the themes of Nature or Human Nature.
Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century Naturalist and Philosopher
In June 1861, Henry David Thoreau journeyed by steamboat down the Minnesota River from Fort Snelling to the Lower Sioux Agency near Redwood Falls to see the wilderness and wild Indians. This trip was commemorated in a June 2011 steamboat trip on the Minnesota River, cosponsored by the THOREAU SOCIETY of Concord, Massachusetts, and led by the Bloomington Historical Society.
Samuel W. Pond, 19th Century Missionary to the Dakota Indians and a Founder of the Presbyterian Church of Shakopee, Writer and Poet
Born and raised in New England and a lover of nature and poetry, Samuel Pond sought to give expression to the thoughts that came to him in the form of verse. In early manhood, Pond found himself on the banks of the Mississippi, in close association with nature in its primeval wildness and with humanity in its primitive condition. Pond lived in the Cabin at Lake Calhoun, in the midst of scenery of the rarest beauty, unmarred by man.
With the Falls of St. Anthony and the Falls, now called Minnehaha, at hand, it is not strange that his verses are tinged with the wildness of the frontier. The beauty of Lake Harriet, the scenes of his courtship, marriage, and early married life left their impress on his writings. His many journeys alone on foot across the flower-decked prairies and by canoe along winding rivers of this wild, untrodden region suggested the humorous description of a "Day's Journey." In later years, he wrote verses for the amusement of his children. In middle age the Civil War furnished themes for his pen and in advanced age the nearer view of the "House of Many Mansions" and other subjects of like nature furnished subjects for his muse. With the exception of verses written around the year 1850 and published in the "Dakota Friend," which was edited by his brother G. H. Pond, and those written during the Civil War, few were written with a view to publication.
The Last Flag to Fly at Metropolitan Stadium
For 29 years Metropolitan Stadium was known as The Met. Opened in 1956 for the triple-A Minneapolis Millers, the Met became the home of three major league sports teams -- the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and Kicks -- and hosted numerous concerts.
On April 21, 1961, the Minnesota Twins (former Washington Senators) played the first American League game at Met Stadium. The Met hosted the 1965 All Star Gaem and 10 weeks later, Sam Mele’s Twins clinched their first American League pennant, setting the stage for the 1965 World Series. The Twins hosted American League playoff games in 1969 and 1970. A parade of outstanding Twin’s players and coaches were featured at the Met during the 21 seasons there. The Met was the home of the Vikings for 20 years under the ownership of Max Winter and coached by Norm Van Brocklin and Bud Grant who saw the team to four Super Bowls. The soccer boom brought the Kicks to the Met in 1976. Fans showed up for special events and promotions such as Bat Day, Fan Appreciation Night, Camera Day, the Twins Try Out Camp, fireworks. A rock concert on August 1, 197,8 featured the Eagles, Pablo Cruise and the Steve Miller Band. Another notable group hosted at the Met were the Beatles who performed in July 1965.
The last flag to fly at the Met was presented to the Bloomington Historical Society by Mayor James Lindau on January 28, 1985, following the One Last Hurrah Toast to the Met at the Decathlon Athletic Club, hosted by the Port Authority of the City of Bloomington. The flag was flown at the Metropolitan Stadium site from the flag pole that now stands at the Target Field. Raised and lowered by an Honor Guard from the American Legion in Bloomington, the flag ceremony preceded the beginning of the demolition of the beloved Met Stadium. The lowering of the flag was watched by a trio of sports stars -- Bob Allison, Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva. It was an emotional time in the Met’s history. A number of professional sports stars and representatives of the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Strikers were present at the Toast. Head table guests and speakers were Frank Quilici; Bud Grant; Carl Pohlad; Howard Fox; Billy Robertson; Gerald Moore; Bob Allison; Mick Tingelhoff; Kent Hrbek; Paul Krause; Tona Oliva; George Brophy; Alan Merrick; Jim Marshall; Dick Ericson; Bill Brown; Steve Litt; Harmon Killebrew and James Lindau. The 1965 World Series highlights were shown as well as Vikings highlights; remarks were by Mayor Lindau, with greetings from the Governor. Played at the Met was the song from Frank Sinatra's album "Old Blue Eyes is Back" -- "There Used to be a Ballpark Right Here," which proved to be a very fitting tribute to the Met.
Portions from 1956-1981 The Met, courtesy of the Minnesota Twins; Metropolitan Sports Area Stadium Souvenir, 1956; History of the Metropolitan Stadium and Sports Center by Charles Johnson.
Be a Part of Bloomington Forever!
Bloomington's Old Town Hall History Plaza has a place for YOU!
Sponsor an engraved History Brick on Old Town Hall History Plaza for your family, friends, business, school, sports team, special milestones in life, memorials, awards and other commemorations. Purchase a 3 line 4"X8" brick for $100 or a 6 line 8"X8" brick for $175. Write 18 characters per line, including spaces between lines.
Deadlines are September 14 or February 14 ongoing.
Visit the Old Town Hall History Center at the corner of Penn and Old Shakopee.
- Include a visit in your itinerary of summer events for visiting guests, reunions, social gatherings.
- Learn about Bloomington's ancient and recent history.
- View our cultural collections of historic artifacts, photos and memorabilia of many generations.
- Hours are Tuesday - Thursday and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m., Sundays, 1 - 5 p.m., closed Mondays and Fridays.
The Bloomington Historical Society is a 501©3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. Questions? Call 952-881-4327.
An Interesting Artifact
Dugout canoe antiquity ~ Circa 1600s
The Bloomington Historical Society-owned dugout canoe antiquity was found by George Hopkins, farmer-historian of Bloomington, on his property between 1966-1968. The canoe was partially buried in mud in the Minnesota River Valley approximately one-third of the way uphill of the lower bluff. Mr. Hopkins sought the opinion of fellow historian Stanley Danielson who realized the significance of finding the rare archaeological treasure. Otto Christianson of the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Division was contacted and Park Maintenance staff uncovered the dugout, Approximately 16 feet in length, the find was transported to the Bloomington Old Town Hall Museum, 10200 Penn Avenue South.
An evaluation was requested from the Minnesota Historical Society conservator, who advised that the dugout be soaked in an ethylene glycol product for an indefinite period so as to permeate the dugout for preservation purposes. Glycol was the recommended conservation product at that time. The canoe was on exhibit in the lower level of the the Museum until 2007 when it was removed during the restoration of the building to its 1892 appearance. At that time, to conserve and stabilize the dugout, the Bloomington Historical Society consulted Minnesota Historical Society experts and then enlisted the expertise of Terry Brown of Museum Professionals, Inc. of Loretto, Minnesota.
The dugout has been cleaned of all sand and dirt embedded deep in the recesses. An archival-approved product (b72) was applied that permeated the decayed cells of the dugout and provided strength to the ancient cottonwood. Mr. Brown will also build and install and archival artifact mount for the canoe. The padded steel mount will provide support and long-term exhibition. A maple surface platform on rollers will be used with the archival artifact mount; a graphic panel will provide historical information about the use of dugout canoes by the various indigenous peoples, and will include the processes used in the construction. Following completion of the project, the dugout canoe will be on exhibit at the restored 1892 Bloomington Old Town Hall. The time period for the dugout canoe was estimated by area historians to be circa 1600s, indicating usage by the ancient Iowa/Oneota tribes and later the Dakota peoples.
Birch bark canoes were not used in southern Minnesota at that time.
Sponsor a custom-designed exhibit case
The Bloomington Historical Society is refurbishing the Old Town Hall History Museum with custom-designed exhibit cases, pedestals and kiosks. These items are donor-sponsored. For further information or if you would like to contribute to this effort, please contact 952-881-4327.
Learn More About Bloomington
Read the short version of the town's history since 1600.
Bloomington History Timeline
A picture history that fuses our geological and cultural heritage.