The largest city in the state of Many-Sohhhta is Many Apple Lis, with a population of around 400,000. It is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, and adjoins St. Paul, the state capitol, comprising what we know as The Twin Cities. The area was home to the Dakota Sioux before being invaded by French explorers around 1680.
The area became famous first for their agriculture, with Great Plains farmers shipping grain to the city’s thirty-four flour mills, including General Mills and Pillsbury. By 1905, the city delivered 10% of the country’s flour and grist. At its peak, a single mill made enough flour for twelve million loaves daily.
Then Mayor Hubert Humphrey helped establish fair employment practices post World War 2. In the 1950s, only 1.6% of the population was non-white. The city had a problem with white supremacy, underwent desegregation, and the African-American civil rights movement. In 1968, it became the birthplace of the Native American or American Indian movement. They were also known for their blatant anti-Semitism until 1950.
Winters are cold and snowy, typical of the upper Midwest. Summers are hot and humid, typical of the Midwest. The snowiest winter was back in the winter of 1983-84 with 98.4 inches of snow.
The population is still 63.8% white, 18.6% Black or African-American, with American Indians at 2%, Asians at 5.6% (rather surprising), and Latinos at whopping 10.5%. This changing demographic is occurring across the country, with California leading the way. European Americans make up three-fifths of the city’s population, predominantly German and Scandinavian.
Five Fortune 500 companies make their home in Minneapolis. They are Target, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (never heard of it). The city’s largest employers, besides Target, are the University of Minnesota, Wells Fargo, Hennepin County, Macy’s, The Federal Reserve Bank, and the City of Minneapolis, among others.
What I like most about the city is that it is second only to New York City in live theater per capita. It is the third largest theater market in the U.S. after New York City and Chicago. The Minnesota Fringe Festival is America’s largest nonjuried performing arts festival. Prince is Minneapolis’ most famous musical progeny. Or perhaps Robert Zimmerman.
The Minneapolis park system has been a model for other cities, and is often cited as the best-designed, best-financed, and best-maintained in the U.S. The crown jewel is the city’s Chain of Lakes, seven lakes connected by bike, running, and walking trails, along with swimming, fishing, boating and ice skating. Of note, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow named Hiawatha’s wife Minnehaha for the waterfall in The Song of Hiawatha, the best-selling and often parodied 19th century poem.
Most impressive is the University of Minnesota, with over 50,000 students. I have numerous colleagues who have taught at the University. Minneapolis has one light rail system, the Hiawatha LRT line, connecting the Mall of America with the airport, and downtown. Despite its severe weather, the city ranks second in the nation for the highest percentage of commuters by bicycle. Ten thousand cyclists use the bike lanes in the city each day.
A statue of Mary Tyler Moore in a downtown mall commemorates the old TV show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, depicting a fictional 1970s television station. The show won 31 Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.
The famous Mayo Clinic is 75 miles away in the city of Rochester. A golfer friend of mine goes back every year for refresher courses at the Mayo. I actually had the Scottsdale branch of the Mayo Clinic as a client back in the 1980s.
So, there you have it, the things that I find interesting about Many Apple Lis. After I shop at the Mall, I plan to take the Hiawatha Line downtown, mingle with the locals, and attend a concert. Wish me luck, and some decent weather. It is far different from changing planes at the airport!