5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Minnesota

Entertain out-of-town guests with these silly—and somewhat impressive—facts about the North Star State

Photo Courtesy of Todd Buchanan

Whether your friends and family are into politics, literature, theater, or the culinary arts, these facts may surprise native Minnesotans and give out-of-state guests a fun welcome.

St. Paul was originally called Pig’s Eye.
Aren’t you glad that’s no longer the case? Originally our state capital was named after Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant, a French-Canadian fur trapper who settled within the boards of St. Paul in 1838. In 1841, Lucien Galtier, the first Catholic pastor in the area, begged that “Pig’s Eye” be changed to St. Paul in honor of the first Catholic log chapel that was built near what would be Second and Cedar Street today. 

Minnesota is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”…and 90,000 miles of shoreline.
Yep, Minnesota has more miles of shoreline than Hawaii, California, and Florida combined. We also officially have 11,842 lakes in Minnesota, but we stick to our “Land of 10,000 Lakes” nickname anyway.

Minnesota has an official state muffin.
Many states do apparently, and ours happens to be blueberry. The bill was introduced at the request of a third-grade class from South Terrace Elementary School in Carlton, Minn. A class in Massachusetts (who lobbied for their own state muffin to be the corn muffin) inspired the children and the bill passed in 1988. The school children picked blueberry because wheat is an important crop in southern Minnesota and wild blueberries are common in the northern part of the state.    

Minnesota: Starting trends in the literary scene since 1889 (at least).
The Minneapolis Public Library is said to be the first library to contain a book department specifically for children. Before then, children’s books were sporadically dispersed throughout the library’s collection. This change actually reflects the Golden Age of children’s literature, which began in the mid-1800s.

All the world’s a stage—but Minnesota’s theater scene holds some records.
Minnesota is the home of the longest running theater (The Old Log Theater) and the largest dinner theater, the Chanhassen Dinner Theater, in the country. The Old Log Theater opened in 1940 and the main dinner theater at Chanhassen Dinner Theater can seat 560 guests. Right now the Old Log Theater is showing The Reluctant Dragon and the Chanhassen Dinner Theater is showing Camelot.