We just finished a fascinating course to become 'Old Home Certified', which of course included some history of the Twin Cities. While the current growth of the LRT lines makes it feel to me like we are becoming a 'grown-up' metro area, it was transit lines way back in the railroad era 1880-1920 that enabled Minneapolis to be the fastest growing city in the United States at that time.
I love the cover below of a transit visitor's guide from 1911 which depicts Minneapolis as the city of 'fun and sin'… and St. Paul as the city that is 'dull and full of religiosity'.
These ideas persist to this day when describing the differences between the two cities… Minneapolis is the bustling business and entertainment hub, while St. Paul is the more erudite city of universities and colleges.
This early guide invites visitors to… "enjoy sights and scenes not rivaled, in many respects, in all America. It's a fresh-air guide to the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where there is always tonic in the air and wine in the winds – where it's a joy to be alive."
This makes me think of Garrison Keillor's current famous line about Minnesota… "where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."
What many people don't know about Minnesota in the late 1800's and early 1900's is that many people came here for their health… cold, dry climates were thought to cure tuberculosis, and we had one of the three leading TB sanitoriums in the world in Glen Lake, on the way to Lake Minnetonka. It was the transit system that enabled the development of Lake Minnetonka and White Bear Lake as leading resort destinations. It's no wonder that these areas are little treasure troves of historic homes in addition to the wealth of historic homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul.