1B State's sesquicentennial banner arrives in Rochester

By Bob Freund

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Library by library, the red, white and blue banner marking Minnesota’s statehood has been traveling through southeastern Minnesota.

Sometimes the sesquicentennial banner has arrived with a flourish. Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede escorted it to Rochester from Stewartville by air in one of Mayo Clinic’s medical helicopters on Wednesday. Other trips perhaps have been less lofty, but still ceremonial.

The banner appearing locally is one of two being passed across the state for the past year. Their journeys end in St. Paul on May 10 for presentation to Gov. Tim Pawlenty during Statehood Weekend, the formal celebration of Minnesota’s 150 years.


But while dignitaries such as Brede might escort or greet the sesquicentennial display, so Joe and Jane Minnesota also can have their say. A leatherbound journal travels with it. Viewers are encouraged to write a few lines in the Sesquicentennial Journal about statehood, famous Minnesotans, local communities and their roles in the state’s history — even about "experiences you or your family have had in Minnesota." Almost anything Minnesotan that comes to mind.

Some selected scribblings from the journal on a stand in front of the banner at Rochester’s Public Library:

  • "MN is beautiful! I’m proud to live here for 42 years. The people of MN are beautiful, ‘down-to-earth’, heart-warming people."
  • "MN rules — Happy b-day!"
  • "Five generations ago my ancestors made a home (in) Minnesota. They built the state to last."
  • "Happy Birthday — Keep up the good workl. Save our people. The Hmong.
  • "We heard stories about Minnesota at the Rushford Library," followed by a long list of handwritten names.
  • A Canton woman left some history about her family’s farm.
  • "The Wild Turkey Capital of MN is a proud participaint in this event," Mayor Bob Burns of Caledonia wrote.
  • "Happy B-day Minnesota — a great state for poetry," signed by the poet laureate of Winona, James Armstrong.

Brede was back at the library late Thursday afternoon to send the sesquicentennial commemoratives off to the next stop. He passed the boxed banner and journal to Kasson Library Director Bonnie Adams, three military veterans and Dodge County Sheriff Gary Thompson, traveling in a county squad car.
The banner spends today at Kasson. On Saturday or Monday, it will be passed to West Concord’s library. Subsequent stops in the schedule include Dodge Center, Brownsdale, Grand Meadow, LeRoy, Austin and Albert Lea, and on to the north.

To learn more, go to

Minnesota 150

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