Minnesota celebrates 160 years of statehood - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Minnesota celebrates 160 years of statehood

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KTTC's Shannon Rousseau gets a tour of the History Center of Olmsted County from collections manager Ryan Harren. KTTC's Shannon Rousseau gets a tour of the History Center of Olmsted County from collections manager Ryan Harren.
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Happy Birthday, Minnesota! The Land of 10,000 Lakes turned 160 years old Friday. On May 11, 1858, Minnesota became the 32nd state to enter the union.

Minnesota was a territory for almost a decade from 1849 to 1858. Back then the state's population was pretty small with about 160,000 residents. As of 2018, Minnesota has roughly 5.5 million residents.

The Minnesota Territory included parts of South and North Dakota. "Southern Minnesota has a really interesting history compared to the rest of Minnesota. We became part of the Minnesota territory in 1851," said Ryan Harren with the History Center of Olmsted County.

While residents were trying to make Minnesota become a state in 1857, the state's political beginnings were off to a rocky start. The North Star State had two Constitutions drafted in 1857 that had similar language. That's because back then things were so dysfunctional between Democrats and Republicans. They wouldn't sit in the same room together, and they refused to sign the other's Constitution even though both documents were identical. 

A conference committee eventually worked out a solution.

"During the start of the Civil War, our first state governor, Henry Sibley, was in Washington. After he heard the news that we were at war with the southern states he ran to President Lincoln's desk and pledged 20,000 men to serve in the Civil War," added Harren.

Minnesota was the first state to offer troops to fight for the Union in the Civil War.

Meanwhile, Minnesota's first state capitol was built a few years before the Civil War but burned down in 1881. The second one was temporary. The third capitol, the one we know today in St. Paul, opened in 1905.

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