The Minnesota Statehood Centennial Commission sponsored many different celebrations to commemorate the state’s centennial in 1958. One of the most successful projects was the Centennial Train, pictured here in a poster showing the Minnesota Centennial logo and the Centennial Train. From April to September 1958, the train stopped in 86 of Minnesota’s 87 counties (only Cook County, which had no railroad tracks, was excluded). A total of 633,347 persons toured the six cars of exhibits. Recently the records of the Centennial Commission were organized, described, and cataloged, making it easier to access this rich collection. Topics include county celebrations and fairs, Dan Patch horse races, the Festival of Nations, Fort Snelling restoration, historic tour program, Floyd B. Olson and Maria L. Sanford statues, pioneer recognition, Miss Centennial Minnesota, and Statehood Week. Records include correspondence, progress reports, brochures, programs, photographs, minutes, audio tapes, certificates, radio and television scripts, clippings, and a congratulatory telegram from President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
This collection provides wonderful documentation of how Minnesota celebrated its centennial and will be useful for planning the state’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2008. The Statehood Centennial Commission records are part of the State Archives collections, cataloged in the Society’s online catalog, MN PALS, and available for use in the Society’s Library.
Charles Rodgers, Government Records Specialist