Timeline | Red Wing
1854: Hamline University
Hamline University established
The city of Red Wing was founded on the site of an old Dakota Indian
village. It was named for a succession of chiefs all named Red Wing,
who were leaders of the Mdewakenton tribe that inhabited the region.
The first white settlers in the area were two missionaries from
Switzerland. They came in 1837 and left in 1845. Three years later,
another group of missionaries arrived. They helped establish the
town of Red Wing, which was incorporated—officially made a
city—in 1857. Three years before, another church group had
established a university in Red Wing. Named Hamline, after a Bishop
Hamline, who lived in New York and donated the money for the school,
the university opened as a preparatory school (preparing students
for college) in 1854. Thirty-three students attended. A campus
building was erected by 1856 and Hamline became Minnesota's first
college of higher learning that same year. The Civil War, however,
took many students away from the school and it was closed. After
the war, in 1869, the university moved to St. Paul, where more
students could be found.
1863: Colonel Colvill
Colonel William Colvill leads First Minnesota
Regiment at Gettysburg
When the Civil War began in 1861, states all across the North were
asked to send soldiers to fight for the Union. Volunteers from cities
and towns across the country formed companies, or small groups of
soldiers. These companies were grouped into numbered regiments, by
the state from which they came, and sent into battle against the
Confederate forces of the South. One of the most famous regiments
in the Civil War was called the First Minnesota. It was led by a
man from Red Wing named William Colvill, and contained a number of
other men from Red Wing. During the most crucial battle of the war,
at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the First Minnesota helped save the
Union army. The Battle of Gettysburg lasted for three days in July
1863. On the second day, a group of Confederate soldiers charged a
weak spot in the center of the Union line. Colonel Colvill and the
First Minnesota were asked to fill the gap in the line and stop the
charge. More than half of the First Minnesota soldiers were killed,
and many more were wounded, including Colonel Colvill. But the
regiment did its duty. The next day, Union forces defeated the
Confederates. The tide of the war had turned, and the Southern army
was never again as powerful as it had been.
1863: Red Wing Ferry First Red Wing ferry
Transportation in the early days of Minnesota's statehood was not
easy. Steamboats provided the smoothest access to towns along the
rivers, including Red Wing on the Mississippi. There was a
stagecoach line that made daily trips between St. Paul and LaCrosse,
Wisconsin, through Red Wing. But the road was rough and horses could
only travel 20 or so miles before they needed to be replaced with a
new team. In 1863 the railroad had yet to reach Red Wing, but that
same year the first regularly operated ferryboat between Red Wing and
Wisconsin opened for business. It was a flatboat with a paddlewheel
that turned by genuine horsepower. A pair of horses walked on a belt
connected to the wheel. As the horses turned the belt, the belt turned
the paddlewheel. Two years later, a new ferry system was put into
operation. This one ran by means of a cable stretched across the river.
1874: Flour mill
Red Wing's first flour mills are established
Red Wing was a thriving town after the Civil War. Its businesses
were ideally located to take advantage of the natural resources
that surrounded it. These included the Mississippi River and the
farmlands beyond the bluffs to the west of the city. Farmers brought
their wheat to town and helped establish a large and profitable flour
mill in Red Wing in 1874.
1877: Stoneware plant Red Wing's first stoneware plant
One of the largest deposits of clay to be found anywhere in the
United States was located in the Red Wing area. First discovered
in 1861, the clay was used to make pottery that was sold locally.
Then in 1877 a group of investors, or wealthy businessmen, opened
the Red Wing Stoneware Company. In just 10 yearss time, the company
would become one of the largest stoneware manufacturers in the
country, and it would make Red Wing pottery well-known throughout
the United States. Red Wing Potteries, as the business came to be
called, operated for 90 years. It was one of the major industries
in Red Wing, supplying dinnerware and items such as butter churns,
to thousands and thousands of people.
1878: President Hayes President Hayes visits Red Wing
In the 1870s Red Wing was the fifth largest city in Minnesota, with
a population just over 4,000. It was one of the most attractive and
bustling cities on the upper Mississippi River. An elegant hotel,
the St. James, which is still standing, was constructed in 1874 to
cater to tourist traffic brought by steamboat up the river. Visitors
to Red Wing in the 1870s included Ole Bull, one of the most famous
violinists in the world, and Susan B. Anthony, who was renowned for
her support of women's rights. In 1878 Red Wing was visited by
President Rutherford B. Hayes and his family. Hayes was a Republican,
elected to office in 1876 by an extremely narrow margin. His
administration followed the scandal-ridden administration of President
Ulysses S. Grant. Hayes’s efforts at reforming government in
Washington, D. C., were only partially successful. His wife, Lucy,
was also a reformer. She was such a strong advocate of the
temperance movement—an attempt to ban the sale and drinking
of alcoholic beverages—that critics nicknamed her "Lemonade
1881: Lucius Hubbard
General Hubbard elected governor of Minnesota
Along with Colonel William Colvill, one of the great local heroes
of the Civil War in Red Wing was Lucius Hubbard. Hubbard came to
Red Wing as a young man in the 1850s. He started a newspaper called
the Red Wing Republican and was a strong supporter of Republican
Party causes. When the war began, Hubbard volunteered for duty and
soon became a colonel in the Fifth Minnesota Regiment. He served
with distinction in a number of Civil War battles and returned to
Red Wing as a distinguished leader. He soon became active again in
Republican Party politics and was elected to the state senate. Hubbard
also became involved in building railroads. This business was booming
in the 1870s, and many people thought that railroad companies were
overcharging farmers to carry their produce to market. When Lucius
Hubbard became the ninth governor of Minnesota in 1881, he set up a
government office to oversee the way railroad companies did business.
Hubbard served as governor until 1887.
1890: Sea Wing disaster
Sea Wing disaster
The worst disaster in Red Wing's history occurred on July 13, 1890.
It was a terribly hot summer Sunday. A steamboat named the Sea Wing
was traveling on Lake Pepin, carrying passengers on an excursion trip.
About 165 of them had boarded that morning in Red Wing. They were
heading back to the city that evening, when storm clouds appeared in
the western skies. Then at about eight o'clock, the winds swept down
on the lake as the boat was about three miles from Lake City. A giant
gust of wind caught the Sea Wing in the middle of the lake and
capsized it. In an instant, people were thrown overboard. Many on the
boat were trapped in a cabin beneath the deck. The clouds were so
thick and dark, and the water so choppy, that it was difficult to see
survivors stranded in the water. Some passengers had managed to get
life preservers on before the storm hit and others clung to planks
and boards floating in the water. But when the last of the bodies was
found on the following Thursday morning, it turned out that 98 people
had drowned in the accident. Of those, 71 were from Red Wing.
1895: Bridge across Mississippi Bridge across the Mississippi is built
For years, people from Red Wing had wanted to build a bridge across
the Mississippi River to Wisconsin. A bill was passed in the U.S.
Congress authorizing construction in 1872. Unfortunately, no money
was set aside to actually build the bridge and so it was never made.
Twenty-one years later, the city of Red Wing held an election to
determine if the town was willing to issue a bond of $75,000 in
order to build a bridge across the river. A bond is a way in which
a community raises money to build things. It's a promise to a
lender that money will eventually be raised (usually through some
kind of taxation) to pay for construction of a much-needed public
facility. Bonds were an important means by which towns and cities
in the nineteenth century could offer economic and social improvements
for their citizens. (They are still used by cities to help raise money.
Sports facilities, new highways, and many other forms of urban
improvements are often financed through bonds.) In 1893 Red Wing
citizens voted to issue the bonds for the bridge. Two years later, a
toll bridge was opened for traffic. Residents of Wisconsin could now
easily come to Red Wing to visit and do business.
1895: Frances Densmore Frances Densmore delivers her first lecture on
Frances Densmore was a scholar who studied music and ethnic groups.
She was born in Red Wing in 1867 and went to college at the Oberlin
Conservatory in Ohio and at Harvard University in Boston. She returned
to Minnesota in the early 1890s and began to teach music. She also
started to study the music and customs of American Indians. Densmore
gave her first lecture on this topic to a group in St. Paul in the
winter of 1895. It marked the beginning of a long and fruitful career
as one of the nation's most important music ethnologists—people who
study ethnic music. Densmore worked at a time when Indian culture had
been severely damaged by years of oppression. She was one of the few
white people in the country who saw the importance of preserving Native
American culture. She traveled around the United States recording
Indian songs from a variety of American Indians. She recorded the
music on wax cylinders—a forerunner to tape recorders. Densmore
also wrote many papers and books on her studies. Her work became an
invaluable resource for future students of North American Indians.
She died in Red Wing in 1957.
1902: Public library
Public library is built in Red Wing
As cities like Red Wing continued to prosper and grow, they wanted
to suggest to visitors and newcomers that they weren't the rough,
frontier towns that they'd been when they were first founded. People
in Red Wing, and elsewhere in Minnesota, began to build fancier
homes. A national movement began that encouraged people to beautify
their cities with gardens, parks, and monuments. The citizens of
Red Wing funded the first municipal playhouse for theater performances
in the United States. And in 1902 and 1903, Red Wing constructed a
public library. Andrew Carnegie, who had made a fortune in the steel
business in Pennsylvania, donated money to construct libraries
across the country and in Great Britain. There were Carnegie libraries
in more than 17,000 communities. He gave $15,000 to Red Wing, and
a local businessman named James Lawther added a large donation to
this fund. The Carnegie-Lawther Library was constructed on the lot
adjoining the playhouse auditorium. It remained the city library for
more than 60 years before the city needed to build a bigger library.
1905: Red Wing shoes Red Wing Shoe Company is started
The shoe-making industry in Red Wing began in 1861, when a man
named S. B. Foot (an appropriate name for a shoemaker) went into
partnership with G. K. Sterling. They started a company called the
Foot-Sterling Shoe Factory. A few years later, Foot opened a
tannery—a place where leather was treated and softened for
use in shoes. This gave shoemakers a ready supply of leather. In
1905 Charles Beckman, who used to work for S. B. Foot, organized
and founded the Red Wing Shoe Company. In the beginning, the Red
Wing Shoe Company could produce 110 pairs of shoes a day. It made
shoes primarily for a regional market until World War I broke out.
A contract with the army allowed Red Wing Shoe to expand. The company
growth continued in the 1920s and boomed again during World War II.
Red Wing Shoes became known around the country for creating high
quality boots. Shoe making remains a thriving business in Red Wing
to this day.
1913: Fire truck
Red Wing's first motorized fire truck
In the early days of Red Wing, fire was a particularly terrible hazard.
While small towns usually had some form of volunteer fire department,
the means for fighting fires were primitive. Until a series of
fires swept through Red Wing in the early 1880s, there were no town
waterworks. This meant there was no town water tank to pump water
around the city, and there were no fire hydrants to serve as
outlets for water on the street. Fires in 1882 and 1883 destroyed
more than $200,000 worth of property in Red Wing—an enormous
sum in those days. It was only after this destruction that the
citizens of the town issued a bond to create a water system. The
water system would not only improve the town's fire-fighting
capabilities but also would mean that homes in Red Wing would soon
have their own fresh water. Still, there were limits to the
effectiveness of the local fire department. One was the speed with
which it could arrive at a fire. Until 1913 when the first motorized
fire truck was put into action in Red Wing, all fire trucks had
been horse-drawn. They also made firefighting in the countryside—
at barns or farmhouses—a very difficult thing. The motorized
fire engine meant that firefighters could arrive at a blaze sooner
and have a better chance of bringing a fire under control.
1932: Swimming pool
Public swimming pool opens
Red Wing was the first city in the state to have its own outdoor
municipal swimming pool. It was built in 1931 and 1932 at a cost
of $45,000. By the late 1800s, swimming had become a popular
recreational sport in the United States. It also became one of
the major sporting events of the modern Olympic Games, when they
were started up again in 1896. (The original Olympics had been
staged in ancient Greece more than 2,000 years ago.) Americans
soon came to dominate the sport. In the 1920s, champion Olympic
swimmers such as Johnny Weismuller and Gertrude Ederle were national
heroes. Their accomplishments and celebrity helped spark an
interest in competitive and recreational swimming across the country.
Red Wing was in the forefront of a movement to build municipal
swimming pools in towns and cities across the United States. Though
Red Wing's was not one of these, many pools were built with labor
provided through the Work Projects Administration (WPA). The WPA
was a program begun by the Roosevelt administration to provide
work for workers who'd lost their jobs during the Great Depression.
1947: Parking meters
First parking meters installed in Red Wing
The widespread use of cars and trucks began when the Ford Motor
Company started mass-producing automobiles. Through the late 1910s
and 1920s, cars became more affordable to the average citizen.
At the same time, roads were being improved across the country
to make automobile travel safer and easier. Many dirt roads were
graveled, and many graveled roads were paved. While the Depression
of the 1930s slowed the sale of cars and trucks somewhat, the
number of people using automobiles continued to grow. By the end
of the World War II in 1945, the revolution in transportation—
from horse and buggy to car and truck—was complete. Rural
towns like Red Wing felt the changes like everyone else. Suddenly
the streets were full of cars. Vacationers touring Mississippi
River sites caused traffic problems. Curbside parking on Red
Wing's Main Street was hard to come by. The Red Wing city council
decided it had to do something. In 1947 it ordered to install
the city's first traffic light and its first parking meters.
The modern era had arrived.
1960: Interstate bridge
President Eisenhower dedicates new interstate bridge
One of the largest public gatherings in Red Wing's history occurred
in October 1960. President Dwight Eisenhower came to town to dedicate
a new interstate bridge. The Hiawatha Bridge had been erected to replace
the old High Bridge, which was constructed in 1895. Eisenhower was in
Red Wing to remind citizens there, and in small towns across the country,
that even though the federal government was housed in faraway Washington,
D. C., it helped get things done at a local level—by providing
funding to build bridges like the Hiawatha. A crowd estimated at around
20,000 people came to hear the president speak. It was an exciting
time because Eisenhower was in the last few months of his presidency.
He had been elected eight years before and now was stepping down.
Eisenhower's vice-president, Richard M. Nixon, was in a very close
race with John F. Kennedy to see who would be the next president. The
election was less than a month away, and Minnesota was one of the key
states in the contest. Unfortunately for Nixon, President Eisenhower
didn't sway many voters. John Kennedy was not only elected the next
president, he carried the state of Minnesota as well.
1849: Minnesota Territory
Minnesota becomes a territory
Minnesota had a long history before it became a part of the United
States. Its first inhabitants probably came to the region at least
10,000 years ago. These Native Americans lived on the land and enjoyed
its bounties for thousands of years. From the 1600s onward, they were
joined by European fur traders, missionaries, and adventurers. At
different times after that, the land of Minnesota was claimed separately
by England, France, and Spain. After the American Revolution, in the
late 1700s, Minnesota became a part of the United States. Still, it
took a long time for Americans to settle in the region. In 1819 Fort
Snelling—a U.S. army post—was built where the Mississippi
and Minnesota Rivers meet. It took almost 20 years after that for
other communities to emerge at Taylors Falls and Stillwater on the
St. Croix River; and at St. Paul and St. Anthony Falls, near Fort
Snelling. When Minnesota became a territory in 1849, fewer than 5,000
white people inhabited the land.
Traverse des Sioux and Mendota Treaties signed
In its early days, the Minnesota Territory was only a fraction of
the size of the current state of Minnesota. In 1851 the governor of
the territory, Alexander Ramsey, and other representatives of the
settlers, approached members of several bands of Dakota Indians.
They asked the Native Americans to cede, or give up, a large part
of their land in exchange for money and the right to live permanently
on other lands in the territory. Ramsey and other whites felt the
rich natural resources of Minnesota could support thousands of new
settlers. They wanted land to help bring more people to the territory
and help grow the economy of the region. While the Dakota were
suspicious of the intentions of the white settlers, they felt that
even if they didn't sign the treaties, white people would move onto
the land anyway, and the Dakota people would get nothing in return.
As a consequence, the treaties were signed, and more and more people
came to the Minnesota Territory to farm the rich prairie land. Soon,
there were enough to qualify the region for statehood, which was
achieved in 1858.
1858: Minnesota becomes a state Minnesota becomes a state in 1858
1862: Dakota Conflict
Among the Dakota Indians, there had been bad feelings toward white
settlers at least since the signing of the Taverse des Sioux and Mendota
Treaties in 1851. These treaties had left the Dakota with just a
narrow strip of land on the Minnesota River. Their hunting grounds
were almost all gone, and the Indian people had grown more and more
dependent on their annual treaty payments for food and necessities.
In August 1862 those payments were late, and the Dakota were hungry
and angry. After a group of young Dakota Indians attacked and killed
a family of white farmers, violence erupted up and down the Minnesota
River Valley. Hundreds of settlers were killed. Then an army of
volunteers was organized, headed by Henry Sibley, one the leading
citizens of Minnesota. The army marched down the river valley to quell
the fighting. Although many Dakota did not take part in the uprising,
Indians were punished as if they had all played a part. Thirty-eight
Dakota men were hanged and hundreds more men, women, and children were
forced to move to a camp in South Dakota. After the conflict, white
settlers felt more than ever like they had a right to take Dakota land.
The few Dakota who remained had no power to stem the flow of newcomers
to the land.
1869: University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota opens.
In 1851 the territorial legislature of Minnesota decided to create a
university. Land in St. Anthony Falls was donated by Franklin Steele,
who had helped create the town. About $50,000 was set aside for the
construction of a new building that would be the heart of the campus.
Unfortunately a financial crises struck the territory and money became
scarce. Then the Civil War began and state resources for a university
were further limited. It took 18 years for The University of Minnesota
to finally open its doors in 1869. About 300 students enrolled, ranging
in age from the mid-20s down to 13. Minnesota had very few high schools
at the time. The university had to serve the dual function of first
preparing, or "prepping," students for a college education, and then
giving them one. The only building on campus was one constructed with
the original $50,000. It was called Old Main. All dormitory rooms and
lecture halls, as well as the library and chapel, were housed in this
one hall. The University of Minnesota was co-educational—both men
and women attended. The first graduating class, in 1873, had two members.
1873: Grasshopper plague
Grasshopper plagues haunt farmers
After the Civil War, more and more people came to Minnesota. There
were vast areas of untouched prairie land in the south and west parts
of the state that people were sure would make rich farmland for
anyone willing to break the sod. To encourage settlers, the United
States Congress passed the Homestead Act, which granted free land to
anyone willing to make new farms in the west. Railroads companies,
too, were helping to inch the frontier westward by building miles and
miles of roads that gave remote farms access to markets. But building
a farm in western Minnesota was no easy task. It was backbreaking work
with few comforts. Much of the land didn't even have trees, which meant
a lot of people had to make their homes out of sod. The summers were
hot and the winters were freezing cold. Then in the summer of 1873,
voracious grasshoppers descended on the crops and ate everything in sight.
They were so many grasshoppers, that on occasion they blocked out the
sun. They would eat whole fields in a matter of minutes. Millions of
dollars worth of crops were destroyed, and hundreds of farmers were
ruined. Farmers had no crops to sell and couldn't buy seed for the next
year's crop. Many farm families went hungry and had no money for food.
The grasshoppers would often eat the small vegetable gardens farmers grew
to feed their families. The grasshoppers came for five summers in a row—
and then, just as suddenly they came, they quit coming. No one knows for
1882: Electric waterpower
Electric waterpower lights up Minneapolis
The Falls of St. Anthony on the Mississippi River were the source of
a great deal of wealth and power for many people in the state of
Minnesota. As the river tumbled over the Falls, its force was converted
into different forms of energy as the fast-moving water set giant
wheels spinning. At lumber mills, saws that were connected to the wheels
cut timber. Millers used the energy from the waterwheels to grind wheat
into flour. The growing number of farmers in western Minnesota and the
Dakotas shipped their crops to Minneapolis in ever-increasing amounts.
So much flour was produced in Minneapolis that the town became known
around the country as the Mill City. In September 1882 the waterpower of
the Falls was put to a totally new use. A power station had been built
near the Falls to capture the energy of the water in hydroelectric cells.
Wires strung from the station were connected to a few businesses along
Washington Avenue in Minneapolis. With the flick of switch, electricity
was sent along the wires. For the first time ever in the United States,
electricity illuminated an American city.
Hinckley Fire Hinckley
In 1894 northern Minnesota suffered a drought, with little or no
rain from May until September. The northern woods were extremely dry.
Throughout the summer residents had managed to extinguish a series
of small fires. People worried that a bigger fire might happen. At
this time the lumber industry in Minnesota was at its peak. The
northern forests were being cut down at an awesome rate. Lumber
companies moved from one part of the woods to the next in search of
virgin, or uncut, forests. When they moved from an area that had
been cut, the loggers left behind dead trees, wood chips, and
underbrush—all of which were extremely flammable. On September
1, it happened. A huge fire began in the area around Hinckley,
about 80 miles south of Duluth. It spread so quickly that people
couldn't escape its path. The fire got so hot that it melted coins
and twisted railroad tracks. In all, more than 500 square miles
around Hinckley burned and at least 400 people were killed. One
of the worst fires in the nation's history, the Hinckley Fire spurred
the state legislature to enact laws to control logging practices and
help prevent forest fires in Minnesota.
New capitol New state capitol
completed in St. Paul
The state capitol building in St. Paul was completed in 1905. It cost
almost $4 million to build—an enormous sum of money at the time.
The building was designed by a famous architect named Cass Gilbert.
Gilbert designed many other buildings in Minnesota as well, and he
went on to create some of the nation's first skyscrapers—including
the Woolworth Building in New York, which, for a time, was the tallest
building in the world. Still in use, the capitol building designed
by Gilbert was the third capitol used in Minnesota. All were in St.
Paul. Fire destroyed the first building in 1881. The second building
was not big enough to house the growing needs of the state government,
so in the 1890s the state legislature held a contest to see who could
draw the best plans for a new capitol. Gilbert's design won. In
constructing the building, he used a kind of architecture called Italian
Renaissance, which is modeled after architecture found in Italy. The
capitol building contains the offices and chambers (meeting rooms) of
the two houses of the state legislature, as well as the governor's offices.
The dome at the very center of the building is 220 feet high.
Winter Carnival St. Paul
Winter Carnival starts being held yearly
Minnesotans have traditionally been sensitive about how the rest of
the country views the state, particularly when it comes to the subject
of its weather. Some of this sensitivity stems from its early days,
when Minnesota was trying to attract newcomers to the area. In the
1880s a visiting journalist described St. Paul as "another Siberia,
unfit for human habitation in winter." To counter this impression,
St. Paul decided to throw a big party in the coldest month of the
year. In 1886, St. Paul staged its first Winter Carnival. The city
built an enormous and beautiful ice palace. It was 189 feet long and
106 feet high and contained more than 20,000 blocks of ice pulled from
the Mississippi River. In addition, there were skating rinks, toboggan
runs, and a mock Dakota Indian village—all contained within the palace.
Grand ice palaces were built for the next two years as well. But the cost
of creating such spectacles was high. For 20 years after it began, the
Winter Carnival was staged only periodically. Than in 1916, it resumed
on a regular basis, and has been going strong ever since.
WLAG radio First Minnesota
radio station starts broadcasting
An Italian man named Guglielmo Marconi is credited with inventing
radio in the late 1890s. Without using wires, he was able to transmit
a signal—a series of dots and dashes in code—from a
ship in the ocean to a receiver on shore. It took several more
years before people were able to successfully transmit sounds through
the air. But by the early 1920s, improvements in radio transmissions
and receiving techniques made possible the first radio stations in
the country. In Minnesota, The first radio station on the air was
WLB, the University of Minnesota station, which started broadcasting
experimentally in the spring of 1921. It received its call letters
and license on January 13, 1922, making it the first radio station
in Minnesota. Another station, WLAG started on September 4, 1922.
It was known as "The Call of the NorthWLAG was purchased in 1924 by
the Washburn-Crosby Company, which had a long history in the state.
Washburn-Crosby was a giant flour-milling company in Minneapolis. In
time, it would become the General Mills company. When Washburn-Crosby
bought WLAG, it renamed the station WCCO. WCCO would become one of the
largest and most successful radio stations in the country—one
that still broadcasts today (along with a "sister" television station,
also called WCCO).
1923: Metropolitan Airport Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airport opens
The Wright brothers flew the first airplane in 1903. For a number of
years afterward, air travel was a novelty. People wondered what sort
of practical uses it might have. In World War I, airplanes played a big
role in the fighting, and ace pilots captured the imagination of the
public. After the war, cities all over the United States decided they
ought to build airports. The Twin Cities were no exception. In 1920 a
group of citizens from the Aero Club rented some property that had once
held an auto racetrack. It was located about halfway between Minneapolis
and St. Paul. Runways and airplane hangars were built, and three years
later an airport named Wold-Chamberlain Field was opened. Wold and
Chamberlain were two pilots from Minneapolis who had been killed in
World War I. One of the first and most important roles of the airport
was to serve as a major stop on a national airmail route established
by the U.S. Post Office. In 1926 Northwest Airways was started and was
awarded the contract for this route—the Chicago-Twin Cities mail
line. In 1944 Wold-Chamberlain Field was renamed the Minneapolis-St.Paul
Metropolitan Airport. Northwest Airways would eventually become Northwest
Airlines, which is now one of the largest airline companies in the world.
The city of Minneapolis owes its beginnings to waterpower. In the
nineteenth century, the Falls of St. Anthony on the Mississippi River
provided the power for sawmills and flour mills. Those mills created
enough jobs and industry for the city of Minneapolis to grow from
a tiny frontier town to one of the major cities in the United States.
With this history in mind, the citizens of Minneapolis decided, in
1940, to have a party to celebrate water. In that year, and every
summer since, Minneapolitans have celebrated the Aquatennial.
Highlighted by an evening Torchlight Parade, the Aquatennial also
features a milk carton boat race, outdoor concerts, and about 30
other events. For the first Aquatennial, Gene Autry, "the Singing
Cowboy," was special guest and grand marshal of the parade. Other
famous people who have served as grand marshal over the years include
Richard Nixon, who at the time (1958) was the nation's vice president.
The Aquatennial is held each year during the third week of July,
which—curiously, for a celebration of water—is usually the
driest week of the year in Minnesota.
Streetcars discontinued Last
electric streetcar is retired
The streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul were once lined with rails.
Electric streetcars, which ran on railroad tracks, were the quickest
way for commuters to move around the cities. Electrical lines hung
above the streets. Each car—which looked like a railroad car
and was sometimes called a trolley—was connected to the line
by a rod that sent electricity to the streetcar's motor. The electricity
powered the machine. From the late 1880s until around the time of World
War II in the 1940s, electric streetcars were the most popular way to
get around the cities. But as the Twin Cities expanded after the war,
and more people started to use automobiles, electric streetcars seemed
less practical. People wanted the convenience of traveling directly from
one destination, like their home, to another, like their place of business
or a store. In 1954, the last streetcar was retired, leaving buses as the
only means of mass transit within the Twin Cities.
1956: Southdale opens Southdale becomes the first enclosed mall in the United States
American cities underwent a huge change in the last half of the
twentieth century. In the 1950s the populations of both Minneapolis
and St. Paul stopped growing, but the cities that surrounded them got
bigger every day. More and better roads were constructed and thousands
of affordable homes were built outside the center of the cities. Retail
department store owners, such as the Dayton family, knew that this
population shift meant a shift in shopping habits as well. Suburban
shoppers would want to visit stores located more conveniently, close
to where they lived. Customers would also want plenty of space to park
their cars. In 1952 Dayton's Department Store hired an architectural
firm to create a giant shopping center in Edina, to cater to suburban
shopping needs. Four years later, Southdale opened, boasting 72 stores
and more than 5,000 parking spaces. Regardless of the weather outside,
the temperature inside was always comfortable. The first enclosed
shopping mall in the nation, Southdale set a trend both around the
country and in the Twin Cities, where a series of "Dales" (Rosedale,
Ridgedale, Brookdale) were subsequently opened in other suburbs. The
inner cities would continue to decline for many years as suburbs grew.
American Indian Movement American
Indian Movement begins
Founded in Minneapolis in 1968, the American Indian Movement (AIM)
is a national organization that promotes the culture and political
rights of Native Americans. One reason the organization was started
was to help change the ongoing mistreatment of Native Americans by
the dominant white culture. By the late 1960s, that mistreatment had
led many Native Americans into a life of poverty and hopelessness.
AIM wanted to help these people build their own schools, get better
job training, and regain a sense of their native heritage. The group
also wanted to gain some political power. In the early years after
its founding, AIM led a series of protests that brought national
attention to its causes. Off the coast of California, AIM members
occupied Alcatraz Island for more than a year to protest treatment
of Native Americans on reservations in the United States. They also
led a protest in South Dakota at Wounded Knee—the site of a
nineteenth century massacre of Dakota Indians by U.S. soldiers. These
activities awakened many people in the country to the plight of American
Indians. AIM remains one of the most important voices in Indian affairs
in the country.
HHH Metrodome First baseball
game played in Metrodome
Until the early 1960s, Minnesota had no professional Major League
sports teams. In quick succession, the state acquired two: the Minnesota
Twins baseball team and the Minnesota Vikings football team. A new
stadium was built in Bloomington, and for the next 20 years, fans
enjoyed outdoor sports in Met Stadium. By the late 1970s, however,
owners of the two teams, and some fans, argued that the Twins and
the Vikings needed a new stadium. They said that harsh weather—
cold springs and freezing winters—kept fans from the games.
A new stadium, with a dome protecting the games from rain and snow,
was built in downtown Minneapolis. The Twins played their first
baseball game in the new Metrodome in 1982. Just fifteen years
later, the same two teams were suggesting that they needed another
stadium. This time, the Twins and the Vikings wanted a retractable
roof—one that could be kept open in good weather and closed
in bad. But the cost of building a new structure seemed too high
to many people in Minnesota in the late 1990s.
Mall of America Mall of
Thirty-six years after Minnesota became the home of the first enclosed
shopping mall ever built in the United States, the state became home
to the largest mall ever built in the United States. In 1992 the Mall
of America opened in Bloomington. Critics of shopping malls have
claimed that malls create an artificial environment and steal business
from stores in inner cities and small towns, weakening those
communities. Still, the popularity of malls remains strong, and
the success of the Mall of America might even suggest that the
"unreal" atmosphere actually adds to the mall's appeal. Since its
opening, the Mall of America has become one of the biggest tourist
attractions in the state. It has more than 520 stores, restaurants,
and other attractions, including Knott's Camp Snoopy, a seven-acre
indoor family theme park.
Baseball and Cooperstown
Baseball has been played in the United States for a long time.
A game called rounders was very popular in the early 1800s. In
rounders a bat, ball, and bases were used, just like in modern baseball.
But unlike today's game, in rounders batters were put "out" when they
were hit by a thrown ball—called "plugging"—as they raced
around the base path. Just when and where present-day baseball was created
is hard to pinpoint. Around the turn of the twentieth century, a committee
named by Major League baseball owners decided that the game began in
Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. To honor its greatest players, the Major
League built the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. It seems likely now,
however, that the first modern game of baseball was actually played in New
Jersey in 1846 by a team called the New York Knickerbockers. The manager of
the Knickerbockers, Alexander Cartwright, is credited with writing a set of
rules for the game that still stand. They include the creation of foul lines,
nine-member teams, and a standard of three bases and a home plate—and
no more plugging.
1848: Seneca Falls
Seneca Falls Convention is held
The first large, organized Women's Rights gathering in the United
States took place in the little town of Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.
More than a hundred women, along with a few men, met there to discuss
society's unequal treatment of the sexes. Most of those attending were
women from northern states. Many were veterans of the Abolitionist
movement, including two of the most notable leaders of the convention,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. The Convention drafted a
statement styled after the 1776 Declaration of Independence. The Seneca
Falls Declaration asserted that "all men and women are created equal."
It also listed examples of male dominance in government and the law, and
demanded that women should be allowed the right to vote. It would be many
years before that right was granted to women by passage of the 19th
Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. But the seeds of a nationwide women's
movement, dedicated to furthering the cause of women's rights, were planted
in Seneca Falls.
1857: Elevators invented
E. G. Otis installs the first safety elevator
The invention of the elevator in 1857 helped introduce the age of
the skyscraper. For the first time in history, people could safely
rise above a few stories in any given building without climbing
seemingly endless stairs. Freight could be hauled upward. Businesses
and homes could be located high above the ground. Crowded cities began
to expand toward the sky rather than squeezing into ever-diminishing
space on the ground. Primitive elevators had existed for many years
prior to 1857. Most were operated by pulleys and ropes and had no
safety features. Then a man named Elisha Otis created an elevator
that would "catch," or break its fall, if the rope pulling an elevator
car snapped. After Otis exhibited his creation, safety elevators
became widely used. The increased use of electricity after the 1880s
helped further the construction of elevators. Innovations in design
allowed elevators to go higher with more safety, and architects began
designing ever-taller buildings. The physical shape of cities across
the country began to change as skylines created by tall buildings began
1861: Civil War begins
The Civil War
The U.S. Civil War was the most brutal conflict ever fought on
American soil. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed or wounded,
and the war dragged on for four long years. The Civil War was fought
between a group of Northern states, called the Union, and a group of
Southern states, called the Confederacy. The Confederacy had seceded,
or left, the United States because they felt the rights of its people—
including the right to hold slaves—were being challenged by the
Union. The Northern states, led by President Abraham Lincoln, fought
to maintain the United States as one nation. As the war dragged on, it
became apparent that the deepest division between the two regions was
caused by the institution of slavery. The Confederate states felt that
slavery was necessary to maintain the economic stability and social
traditions of the South. African Americans—and many others—felt
that slavery was an evil practice that needed to end immediately. In 1862
Abraham Lincoln issued a document called the Emancipation Proclamation,
which declared the slaves to be free. In 1865 the North won the war when
Confederate forces, under the command of Robert E. Lee, surrendered at a
courthouse in Appamattox, Virginia. Though it would take many decades to
heal the scars left from the conflict, the Civil War brought an end to slavery.
1876: Telephone invented
Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone
Until the nineteenth century, the only way for people to communicate
over long distances was by messenger or by the written word. A
revolution in communications began in the mid-1800s with the invention
of the telegraph by Samuel Morse. Morse discovered that it was possible
to send electrical impulses through wires in a series of dots and
dashes that could be decoded into words. An even more dramatic discovery
was made by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Bell found out that these
same wires could transmit a human voice. By converting sound waves
into electrical impulses, and then converting them back into sound
waves through a receiver, the telephone allowed people to talk with
one another as if they were in the same room. In a matter of years,
telephones could be found in thousands of homes across the country.
By the late twentieth century, the basic element of these inventions—
the transmission of electronic communciation impulses through wires—
was still being used in new developments such as the Internet and
1888: Box Camera invented
George Eastman perfects the Kodak box camera
Photography was a very specialized profession before George Eastman
created "rolls" of film. Since it began in the 1820s and 30s,
photography had required quick access to dark rooms for immediate
developing. The cumbersome glass plates used to capture images in
cameras needed to stay wet with a chemical coating. Otherwise, they
would be "exposed" before they were developed. Mathew Brady, famed
for his powerful photographs of the Civil War, had to build a traveling
darkroom to accompany him in the field. Not everyone had the means or
the knowledge to create photographs. Then Eastman invented a process
by which images could be captured and safely stored on a roll of
celluloid—one of the earliest kinds of plastic. These rolls
fit neatly in a portable box camera, which Eastman called the "Kodak".
Suddenly photography became possible for millions of Americans.
Anyone who could afford a camera became an amateur photographer.
Pictures of family, friends and special events could be recorded—
something that had never before been possible for the average person.
Eastman and his film also helped lead the way to the creation of
motion pictures by Thomas Edison, just a few years later.
1892: Iron and steel workers strike
Iron and steel workers strike in the United States
During the nineteenth century, many Americans saw changes in the way
they earned a living. New inventions and new forms of power, such as
steam and electricity, allowed work to be done faster than it had ever
been done before. New machinery allowed farmers to tend their fields
with fewer farmhands, and factories were springing up throughout the
land to produce goods that used to be made by hand. People began
leaving farmwork to find employment at large companies. Many new
immigrants also found work in factories. Factory owners often set very
long hours and very low wages. To help protect their interests,
workers began to form labor unions to demand better pay and working
conditions. One of the chief means they used to get what they wanted
was the strike. A whole group of workers would simply refuse toperform
their jobs. The managers of the factories, and those who invested in
them, called capitalists, countered strikes by hiring new workers. As
a consequence, angry and violent fights erupted between workers and
owners. One of the most violent occurred in 1892 when Andrew Carnegie,
the owner of a giant steel manufactory, hired replacement workers at
his plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Though Carnegie ultimately won this
battle, unions and their tactics—including strikes—became
more and more accepted by the people of the United States.
1903: Self-propelled flight
Wright brothers make their first flight
For centuries humans had dreamed of flying. As early as the 1500s, the
famous artist and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci drew sketches of a machine
that looked much like a modern-day helicopter. In 1783, two French
brothers named Montgolfier filled a large balloon with hot air and sent
a friend aloft in the world's first balloon ride. Throughout the
nineteenth century, inventors tinkered with ideas for self-propelled
flight. None succeeded. Then around the turn of the twentieth century,
two brothers from Dayton, Ohio—Wilbur and Orville Wright—
decided they would try to build an airplane. The Wright brothers were
bicycle mechanics. They had no special training in aerodynamics
(the science of flight). But through careful observation and repeated
tests, they devised a machine that combined just the right ingredients
for flight. At Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December 1903, Orville Wright
became the first person ever to fly an airplane. It would take a while
before self-propelled flight would have a wide impact on the way people
travel, but in time planes, jets, and rockets—all means by which
humans defy gravity—would change the modern world.
1909: NAACP Creation of the NAACP
Although the Civil War had ended slavery in the United States, African
Americans at the turn of the twentieth century still were viewed by
most other people in the United States as second-class citizens. The
separation of white and black people from one another—called
segregation—was enforced by law in many parts of the country.
This meant, among many other restrictions, that African Americans
couldn't eat at the same restaurants as white people, or stay in
the same hotels, or ride on the same trolley cars. In 1909 the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
was founded to help change this state of affairs. Led by leaders
like W. E. B. Du Bois, the NAACP demanded an end to biased treatment
of African Americans. They insisted upon equal voting rights, the
abolishment of racial discrimination, better educational opportunities
for black people, and full acceptance of the constitutional rights of
African Americans. The NAACP would be a powerful voice throughout the
twentieth century. It would play a major role in the civil rights movement
of the 1950s and 1960s, which finally put an end to segregation.
1917: World War I (U.S. enters)
World War I
World War I began in Europe in July 1914, as a results of events which
caused Germany and Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia, Russia, and France.
The countries of Europe had agreements with each other so that if
one was attacked, others would assist. Within days Great Britain and
other European nations had joined the fight. Because so many countries
were involved, it was called a world war. At the start, most Americans
felt it had little to do with them. Not only were the battles being
fought overseas, they involved issues of European power that didn't
seem connected to the United States. But as the war raged on and millions
died, it became apparent that the United States couldn't stay neutral.
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany
and its allies. The United States joined the fighting on the side of
France and Great Britain. The added resources brought by American soldiers
helped defeat Germany and peace was declared on November 11, 1918. The horrible
carnage of the war (the death and destruction) shocked everyone. Woodrow
Wilson, and others, hoped to create a peace between the warring powers which
would make World War I "the war to end all wars." Unfortunately the resulting
Treaty of Versailles failed to bring this lasting peace. Just 20 years later,
Europe would once again be at war.
1920: Nineteenth Ammendment
Nineteenth Amendment gives women the right to vote
When the United States Constitution was written in 1787, it did not
grant women the right to vote. The men who wrote it believed that
women's opinions didn't belong in what they called "the public sphere."
They felt that women didn't know enough about law and government to
have a voice in politics. By the mid-nineteenth century, many women
(and men) thought this view of women no longer made sense, and it
made them angry. They began to lobby for an amendment to the
Constitution that would grant women the right to vote. Those involved
in this movement were called suffragists. “Suffrage” was simply the
right to vote. To be passed, an amendment to the Constitution requires
a favorable vote from two-thirds of the members in Congress, and
ratification (or acceptance) by three-fourths of the states. For almost
75 years, suffragists led by women like Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Carrie
Chapman Catt, and Alice Paul lobbied at both the state and federal level
for passage of the amendment. The first state to grant women the right to
vote was Wyoming, in 1869. Over the next 50 years, a number of other
states would accept women's suffrage. But it wasn't until 1920 that the
Nineteenth Amendment was passed by Congress and three-fourths of the states.
Women finally had the right to vote throughout the country.
1933: New Deal
Roosevelt introduces the New Deal
In October 1929 the stock market crashed. People across the country,
who had invested millions of dollars in companies listed on the New
York Stock Exchange, saw their investments lost. The United States,
and countries all around the world, went into an economic depression.
Banks and businesses closed everywhere. Millions of people lost their
jobs. Low prices on the world market for farm products made it hard
for farmers to stay in business. In 1932 Americans decided that the
government needed to do something to help those who had lost jobs and
money. They elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt president of the United
States because he promised to give Americans a "New Deal." What
Roosevelt meant was that government would take a more active role than
it ever had before in helping people who needed economic assistance.
Roosevelt and his supporters created relief funds for the unemployed.
They passed the Social Security Act, which made funds available for the
elderly and for people with disabilities. They helped rural people
receive electrical power through the Rural Electrification Administration.
They created jobs through the Work Projects Administration. These and
many other programs collectively became known as the New Deal. While the
Great Depression would continue to plague the country until World War II,
Roosevelt's reforms had a lasting impact on the nature of government.
1936: Jesse Owens Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Olympic Games
In 1932 the German people elected Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party
as the leaders of their nation. One of the central beliefs of Hitler
and the Nazis was that Aryans—white people of non-Jewish
descent—were physically superior to all other races. The Olympic
Games were scheduled to be held in Berlin, Germany's capital city, in
1936. Hitler and the Nazis planned to use the games to showcase for all
the world the superiority of Aryan, especially German, athletes. Instead,
a black man from Ohio State University named Jesse Owens stole the
show. Owens won four gold medals, an Olympic record at the time. He won
the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and the long jump competition. He was
also a member of a world record-breaking relay team, which won the 400-meter
relay. While Hitler was a constant presence at the games, he refused to
present Owens with any gold medals or even to acknowledge Owens's victories.
Many other observers around the world, however, understood that black
athletes were equal to white.
1941: World War II (U.S. enters)
The United States fights in World War II
American involvement in World War II began with the bombing of the
Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. But there had
been tensions for years prior to that act. In Germany, Adolf Hitler
and the Nazi Party had established a totalitarian government—
one which controlled every aspect of German life, and even tried to
eliminate one whole group of people, European Jews. Germany attacked
a number of nations in Europe, including Poland, France and the
Soviet Union. In Japan, a government dominated by military men had
subjugated several countries in Asia, including China. The United
States would have to fight two powerful enemies in different parts
of the world. In the Pacific, they fought Japan through a series of
invasions which removed Japanese forces from islands they had invaded,
but also to set the stage for the inevitable invasion of Japan. In
Europe, the North African and Italian campaigns and the Russian Front
were all part of a strategy to defeat Hitler, the ultimate move coming
with D-Day, the invasion of France. Along with the courage of its
fighting forces, it was the great industrial and natural resources
of the nation that helped the United States and its allies win the war.
The cost to everyone involved was enormous. More than 6 million Jews
were killed by Hitler and the Germans. And to more quickly end the war
in the Pacific, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese
cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The world would never be the same.
1945: Atom bomb First test explosion of an atomic bomb is performed in New Mexico
Atoms are the tiniest particles of elements like hydrogen. An atom
contains an enormous amount of energy. For many years before World
War II, scientists theorized about what would happen if an atom were
split and that energy was released. They guessed that a nuclear
reaction would occur—that there would be a tremendous explosion
followed by an emission of dangerous gases, particles, and incredible
amounts of energy. But no one had ever made an atomic bomb, so no one
could be certain exactly what would happen. Then in 1942, the United
States and its allies heard that Germany was planning to create an A-bomb.
They decided that they had to build one first. President Franklin
Roosevelt sent a team of scientists to a remote location in New Mexico
to create the world's first nuclear weapon. This very secret operation
was called The Manhattan Project. For three years, the scientists
worked on the bomb, until finally, it was ready. The first atom bomb
was exploded in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. Dust and heat swept the
desert for miles around. A huge mushroom-shaped cloud darkened the sky.
Even the scientists working on the project were awed by the bomb's power.
A month later, the United States dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese
cities. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. The incredible power of
nuclear explosions has terrified the world ever since.
1951: Color TV invented
Color TV is introduced in the United States
Television in the 1950s was a brand new medium. It was a revolutionary
way to bring information and entertainment into homes across the country.
Radio had been extremely popular since the 1920s, but now an audience
could actually see performers, newscasters and personalities in their
own homes. That added enormously to the impact and power of television and it
quickly changed the world of politics.
1954: McCarthyism The McCarthy hearings are televised
In 1954, Senator Joseph McCarthy held the first Congressional
hearings ever to be televised. For several years, McCarthy had been
leading an effort to rid various branches of government of people
he thought were disloyal to the United States. In the process, he had
wrongly accused a great number of people, ruining careers and damaging
personal lives. McCarthy maintained a lot of popular support until
people saw him on television. The hearings concerned the Army, another
reason they were so widely watched, aside from people wanting to see
McCarthy in action. There, for the first time, viewers could see his
bullying tactics and smirking manner. McCarthy's popularity plummeted
and his efforts at ridding the government of "communists" lost support.
McCarthy drifted from power, and politicians throughout the country
understood that a new age had begun.
1963: Freedom March
Freedom March in Washington, D. C.
The 1960s were a time of great social upheaval and drama throughout the
nation. Efforts by African Americans and others to change discriminatory
practices and segregationist laws culminated in a great "Freedom March"
on Washington, D. C. in 1963. There hundreds of thousands of people
listened to Martin Luther King, Jr., make a famous speech in which he
declared "I have a dream"—that some day the nation would be free of
prejudice and hate.
1963: J.F.K. assassinated President John F. Kennedy assassinated
On November 22, an assassin took the life of President John F. Kennedy.
His death had a profound affect on the nation. People who had seen in
Kennedy the spirit of a coming age of hope and optimism felt a great
sense of despair.
1969: Apollo 11 Humans walk on the moon
On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human
being to walk on the moon.
1971: Cigarette ad ban
Cigarette advertisements are banned from U.S. television
Tobacco was introduced to Europeans by American Indians. It quickly
became very popular and was grown by farmers in colonial America for
shipment to Europe. Tobacco became an important part of the economy
in a number of states, primarily in the south. The health hazards
of smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco were not well-
understood or acknowledged. But in the last half of the twentieth
century, doctors and medical researchers began to make a connection
between smoking and illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease.
They also began to see that smoking had an addictive quality. People
who began smoking would continue to smoke, regardless of what it did
to their health, simply because their bodies craved the nicotine
found in tobacco. Health officials tried to curb smoking across the
country, but the large tobacco companies made it difficult to do so.
They didn't want smokers to quit using their products. Change came
slowly, but in 1964 the U.S. surgeon general issued a warning about
the health hazards of smoking that was printed on cigarette packs.
Seven years later, in an attempt to prevent young people from ever
starting to smoke, cigarette advertisements were banned from television.
1974: Nixon resigns President Nixon resigns
During the 1972 presidential election campaign, burglars broke into
the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate
office complex in Washington, D. C. They were caught, but what they
were doing at the Watergate seemed at first a mystery. From this
small beginning grew the biggest political scandal of the century.
In time, the five thieves would be linked to officials in the re-election
campaign for President Richard Nixon, a member of the rival Republican
Party. Then they would be linked to members of Nixon's presidential
administration. And finally, they would be linked to President Nixon
himself. The burglars were looking for documents that would give them
inside, or secret, information about the Democratic Party and its
upcoming presidential campaign. As the Watergate scandal unfolded, it
turned out that the burglary was only one of numerous illegal efforts
to undercut the Democratic Party's plans. For more than two years,
President Nixon not only denied his involvement in these efforts, but
also he tried to cover up evidence that would link him to the crimes.
As more evidence came forward, however, it became increasingly clear that
Nixon was involved. Impeachment proceedings against President Nixon
were started to remove him from office. Before they were finished, however,
Richard Nixon became the first and only president ever to resign from office.
The Internet is formed
Almost from the time computers were invented, scientists and engineers
looked for ways to link the information found on one computer with the
information found on others. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, an
agency of the U. S. government developed a way for a number of different
computers to share information through a "host" computer. But the modern
Internet was still a long way off. In the mid-1980s, the National
Science Foundation created a computer network which allowed universities
and research centers around the country to share electronic information
through a number of "super-computing" centers. It was also at this time
that the idea of using phone lines to connect computers was developed.
In the late 1980s, group of scientists in Europe devised a system called
the World Wide Web, which created a standard "language" which computers
around the world could understand. With these various tools in place,
Internet use and development exploded in the 1990s.