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Plymouth’s Historic Town Hall, pt. 1

Plymouth’s Historic Town Hall, pt. 1

“We live not alone in the present but also in the past and future. The radius that circumscribes our lives must necessarily extend background indefinitely and forward infinitely….” So begins History of Hennepin County (1881), a valuable source discussing the founding years of today’s City of Plymouth. In this, early town meetings are described taking place in local homes, businesses, and schools. However, just four years after its publication, land along Plymouth Creek was donated by Charles Farrington, a local…

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History Day Ideas for Students and Teachers

History Day Ideas for Students and Teachers

by Hattie Thompson Last week we noted that whatever your passions or interests, there is a historical topic that covers it. For instance, do you like sports?  How about fashion and technology?  If you want to make your classmates laugh, tell them you’re writing a research paper on the Underwear Revolution.  (It’s not made up, it happened right here in Minnesota.) Consider sports-it is football season after all.  Did you know that before the rules of football instituted the forward…

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Break some Barriers with 2020 History Day!

Break some Barriers with 2020 History Day!

By Hattie Thompson Calling all Minnesota students! If you think history is boring, raise your hand.  Okay, we get it! But let’s think about it: whatever your passions and interests are, there’s a history to it.  And people of the past have had to break barriers to get where we are today. Feel like breaking some barriers of your own? Get involved in the 2020 History Day.  The theme for this year is “Breaking Barriers in History”. How to become…

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The Secretary of Agriculture’s Response to the Great Depression

The Secretary of Agriculture’s Response to the Great Depression

The 1930s were a tumultuous time, not just for farmers, but for the entire world. The world’s economy collapsed into an economic depression that shaped an entire generation. The harshness of scarcity became very real. Naturally, people grew desperate and needed to make substantial changes. Many farmers were forced to look for other work. The number of tractor manufactures skyrocketed in the 1910s and 1920s, but only a handful of companies survived the collapse in the 1930s. In such desperate…

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Modern Kitchen Conveniences circa 1909

Modern Kitchen Conveniences circa 1909

It is easy to take for granted the modern kitchen, or more specifically, modern refrigeration. Food can last incredibly long inside of our modern refrigerators, but modern refrigeration is barely 100 years old. What did people do to keep food cool and away from pests before widespread refrigeration? In the 1800s, the icebox became increasingly popular which created a global market for ice to fill the iceboxes. In the Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture, 1909, one chapter focuses on…

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The Best Way to Maximize Profit

The Best Way to Maximize Profit

The economics of agriculture, or any sector of the economy, are actually quite simple at their core. A product is produced and someone needs to be willing to purchase that product. What is the key to maximum profit? Connecting the product to the consumer in as few steps as possible. The process of getting the product to the consumer can be a very complicated process and every step of the way incurs a cost upon the farmer and ultimately their…

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The Rise of Manure as a Commodity

The Rise of Manure as a Commodity

When thinking of commodities, the first thought would probably not be manure. Commodities like oil, gold, coffee, and natural gas have a fairly high demand, but who would pay a premium price for manure? In many cases, large farms need to pay others just to get rid of their massive amounts of manure. However, as the price of man-made fertilizers increases, it is entirely possible that manure will return to its state as a highly valued commodity. Notice that I…

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Rural Flight: The Migration from Farm to City

Rural Flight: The Migration from Farm to City

The statistic is quite striking. In 1820 it is estimated that 72% of Americans worked on farms. In 1920, the number was 30%. Today, less than 1%. This concept continues to come up repeatedly. For 200 years, people have been leaving farms for the city. The underlying question is, “Why?”  At the Plymouth Historical Society, there are stacks of old books that give a glimpse into the past of Plymouth and the United States. One stack included different copies from…

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The Last Dairy in Plymouth

The Last Dairy in Plymouth

Driving through Plymouth today, it is hard to imagine it was all farmland not that long ago. Much of that farmland aided the feeding of many dairy cows, but all that ended 33 years ago. On August 21, 1986, Plymouth’s Post newspaper ran a story titled, “Plymouth’s Last Dairy Farm Bows to Buyout.” The Leuer family owned the farm, which had been in dairy production since 1919. With the buyout, the farm would cease to be a dairy farm and…

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Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

One of the challenges of working at a historical society is coming across objects that do not have clear provenance or purpose. This week’s Object Spotlight focuses on a gunny sack that is difficult to completely decipher. The reusable bag is made of tightly woven cotton or hemp fibers. Printed on one side of the sack is “A. F. Schiebe.” Schiebe is a common name in Plymouth history. The likeliest original owner of the sack would be Albert Frank Schiebe…

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