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Vikings Helmet

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Football helmet used by Minnesota Vikings safety Paul Krause during the mid- to late 1970s. Krause played for the Vikings from 1968 to 1979 and is the NFL all-time interception leader with 81. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this helmet in our collections database.

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Newspaper Bag

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

A rectangular yellow cotton canvas bag with padded shoulder strap and “THE/MINNEAPOLIS/STAR” printed on one side in black and orange. Used by a Minnesota newspaper delivery boy in the 1970s.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this bag in our collections database.

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AIM Patch

Monday, July 6th, 2015

An AIM/Remember Wounded Knee patch with black and red embroidery. Circa 1973. The Wounded Knee Incident began in February of 1973 when AIM activists occupied Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in protest against chairman Richard Wilson.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this patch in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Milk Carton Kayak

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

A kayak constructed of waxed paper milk cartons over wooden frame with masonite supports. Brands of milk cartons used include Land-O-Lakes, Target, Polka-Dot Dairy, Inc., Dairy Fresh Brand, Purity-Ohleen, Franklin and Farmdale. Large advertisement stickers adhered to top of kayak are for sponsors including radio stations KDWB 63, and WDGY and Dairy Queen. The paddle wheel attachment is constructed of masonite with wood beam supports. Paddle hand crank made of white PVC pipe connected to wood supports with a small metal bracket connected to wood. Used in the 1971 Minneapolis Aquatennial.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this kayak in our collections database.

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Tonka Van

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

A white steel & blue plastic toy van with removable sunroof & ‘Mr. Goodwrench/KEEP THAT GREAT GM [General Motors]…’ decal on side, also included are Mr. Goodwrench figure, jack, spare tire, tool chest, creeper, gas tank, barrel cart with hoses, & garage sign, in original package. Made by Tonka Toys, Mound, Minnesota, 1982.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this toy in our collections database.

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Salt and Pepper

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

A porcelain salt and pepper set in the form of Paul Bunyan and Babe, The Blue Ox. Circa 1970s.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this set in our collections database.

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Dynamite 8

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

A red plastic Panasonic model RQ-830S “Dynamite 8″ 8-track cartridge player. Circa 1975. It was nicknamed “Dynamite 8″ for the plunger button that changed the program being played.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this 8-Track in our collections database.

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Save the BWCA button

Monday, March 16th, 2015

A “Save the BWCA” button advocating for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act introduced by Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar in 1975. The act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 21, 1978.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this button in our collections database.

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Kicks Cap

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

A white cap with four blue ‘Minnesota Kicks’ logos. Circa 1976-1981.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this cap in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Saint Paul Winter Carnival Royalty, 1978

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

On a January evening in 1978, young women dressed all in white began arriving at the St. Paul Municipal Auditorium. They were the Royal Princesses of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, all hoping to be crowned Queen of the Snows. The gilded, cavernous Auditorium had been transformed into the Great Hall of Jupiter for the coronation ceremony. King Boreas had been crowned and on this night a Queen would be chosen to represent the City in the coming year.

Auditorium, St. Paul, before the addition. Ca. 1922

St. Paul Winter Carnival ceremonies at auditorium, St. Paul. Ca. 1948

Donaldson's Golden Rule, Seventh and Robert, St. Paul. Ca. 1966

Donaldson's Golden Rule, Seventh and Robert, St. Paul. Ca. 1966

The Princesses had been preparing for months. In the fall of the previous year, Donaldson’s Department Store began an internal selection process for for their own store-sponsored representative. As many as nine single women, aged 18 to 25, were nominated internally and judged on personality, poise, maturity, and walk. By late Fall, Donaldson’s had selected their candidate.

Marlene Richter had taken a position at Donaldson’s a few years earlier and joined in the store’s 1978 Winter Carnival competition in order to expand her social horizons. A University of Minnesota chemical engineering student, Marlene hoped that participating in the Winter Carnival competition would create opportunities to meet new people, outside of the the men surrounding her at school.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows coronation gown. Ca. 1978

Once she was selected as Donaldson’s Winter Carnival candidate, Marlene began preparing with the manager of the women’s wear department. Candidates and sponsors were responsible for providing a formal white coronation gown. The hunt for the perfect gown took the two women to a bridal shop in Rosedale Mall, where they found a two piece formal dress complete with lace and marabou feather trim that fit Marlene beautifully, straight off the rack.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival King Boreas uniform. Ca. 1978

On coronation night, Marlene and the other candidates stood under the hot lights of the Auditorium stage, nervous and excited. When the Grand Chamberlain bowed before Marlene, it took a moment for her to realize the choice was made; she would be Queen of the Snows. King Boreas (Dan Dolan), in his own imposing red uniform complete with gold braid and white gloves, crowned the new queen. The rest of the evening passed in a blur of activity; from a reception at the Radisson hotel on Kellogg Boulevard and back to a women-only suite at the St. Paul Hotel, where the remaining princesses would be outfitted with matching gold gowns to differentiate between Queen and Princesses.

SPWC Royal Coronation at the St. Paul Auditorium, 1978. Courtesy of Marlene Killa

Queen of the Snows Marlene Richter, 1978. Courtesy of Marlene (Richter) Killa

The Royal party would appear at the annual parade and other events during Carnival in St. Paul, but their duties did not end there. As Snow Queen, Marlene made about 400 appearances throughout 1978, following the Carnival tradition of spreading St. Paul hospitality across the state and the nation. She was part of the last group of Carnival royalty to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade in California, on a float with Minneapolis Aquatennial royalty. She wore her coronation gown to many of these events, but wore at least eight other dresses throughout the year.

Marlene’s reign ended with the passing of her crown at the 1979 King Boreas coronation event. The Winter Carnival experience was all she had imagined and more. Donaldson’s sponsorship not only financed the wardrobe and other costs associated with Carnival, but enabled Marlene to travel extensively. Her social hopes were also realized; she created lasting friendships with the royal party and met Michael Killa, a member of the 1978 Royal Guard. Marlene and Mike later married.

SPWC Royal Party, 1978. Courtesy of Marlene Killa. Michael Killa is 3rd from the right in the top row

After her time in Carnival, Marlene (Richter) Killa would go on to earn an MBA and spend twenty-two years as an engineer at Ecolab, a St. Paul-based multinational developer and manufacturer. For the past decade she and her husband Mike have worked together on their own construction company. Marlene and Mike took part in Saint Paul Winter Carnival activities for years following 1978: Marlene served as a judge for the 1980 Queen of the Snows competition and was active with the Former Queen’s Club for many years. Mike served as Captain of the Guard in 1986 and both were active with the Royal Party that year.

Sondra Reierson, Associate Curator, 3D Objects

See more:

  • Saint Paul Winter Carnival guide to related MNHS collections, including photographs and artifacts.
  • St. Paul Auditorium photographs. The Auditorium was razed in 1982; Ordway Theater was partially constructed on the original site of the Auditorium, beside the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
  • In 1961 Donaldson’s, a Minneapolis company, merged with the Golden Rule department store in St. Paul and changed the store’s name to Donaldson’s a few years later. The St. Paul location remained in the Golden Rule building until 1980, when it moved to the Town Square complex. The original building still stands at 85 7th Place East, St. Paul.
  • Ecolab, Inc. records

Artifacts referenced:

  • Saint Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows coronation gown <2014.162.1.A,B> Two piece white formal gown worn by Marlene (Richter) Killa as the 1978 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows.
  • Saint Paul Winter Carnival King Boreas uniform <1988.396. and 1998.413.> Jacket, pants, hat, gloves and scepter used by Daniel F. Dolan as the 1978 Saint Paul Winter Carnival King Boreas.
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