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Short and Lindgren Map Minnesota River Valley Historical Sites

Posted by Zak Threadgill '15, Anoka on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013

Alexander Short ’14, Saint Paul, and Michael Lindgren ’14, Crystal, are partnering with the Minnesota Valley History Learning Center (MVHLC) and the University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) to create a comprehensive listing of historical sites in the Minnesota River Valley. The goal of the project is to create a website that provides information about historical sites along the Minnesota River.

Scenic byways, historical societies, parks, and museums located in the Minnesota River Valley offer an abundance of historical significance to the region, so Short and Lindgren intend to find and list them all. They are adding to a database originally created by two other students working at CST, Abigail Thebault–Spieker ’16, Bemidji, and Tori McDougald ’15, Nashua. Short and Lindgren will also build a user-friendly website that illustrates where to find each historical site.

“We have one giant Google map [on the site] that has dots for every single historical site, along with information of what it is as well as a link to that website and a place to get directions,” Lindgren says.

The task has not been as smooth as the two had hoped, since vital data regarding registered sites and markers was temporarily unavailable from the Department of Transportation due to last month’s federal government shutdown. Furthermore, some of the historical sites do not provide exact locations. To address this issue, Short and Lindgren will visit these sites to collect their GPS coordinates for the database. They will also submit this information to Google maps.

Short and Lindgren have already collected a multitude of sites, including 50 between Hennepin and Ramsey counties and more than 100 sites total thus far. They commented that they both enjoy the work they are doing for the project because it provides an opportunity to learn about Minnesota’s history.

“Sometimes you find sites and things you had no idea existed within the Minnesota River Valley,” Short says.

Information about the sites and locations will be available at upon completion of the project.

This project was partially supported by an operating support grant to the University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns from the Otto Bremer Foundation.

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize the Center’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Their mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.