Printing Plate for 1936 Condition Map of Minnesota Trunk Highways, Minnesota Department of Highways
The 1930s may have been a time of economic crisis but that did not stop all progress, including the improvement of roads. This 1936 printing plate for a Condition Map of Minnesota Trunk Highways, published by the State of Minnesota, Department of Highways, in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that most major road surfaces throughout the state had been markedly improved during the previous decades. Instigated by popular demand and the pressure of the newly formed highway lobby, which was initially funded by bicycle manufacturers, the good roads movement led to the passing of federal and state legislation and the improvement of road networks, including those in Morrison County. According to the printing plate, Morrison County’s major roads in 1936 were either paved or bituminous. Both Highway 371 and the portion of Highway 10 from Royalton to Little Falls were paved. Highway 10 from Little Falls through Randall and Cushing was bituminous. State Highway 27, the main route running east-west across the center of the county, was also bituminous.
The printing plate was donated by the family of Mary (Johannes) Fietek (1921-1984). Mary was born in Culdrum Township on October 15, 1921, to Erich and Anna Johannes. She married Clement Fietek on October 15, 1940, and had five children – Clarence, Leon, Gregory, Anna and JoAnn. Mary worked as an inspector for Munsingwear Manufacturing of Little Falls for twenty years. One of Mary’s hobbies was apparently printmaking, which came as a surprise to her children who found the printing plate and a marking stamp set while cleaning out a closet in the family home.
For more information on the history of Minnesota roads, Minnesota Department of Transportation Library or call 651-366-3791 (toll free 800-657-3774).
Printing Plate for 1936 Condition Map of Minnesota Trunk Highways (Legend), Minnesota Department of Highways
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Winter Wonderland License Plate Topper, Circa 1947
Winter Wonderland was a popular community celebration started by the recently ordained Father Edward C. Ramacher (1917-2007). Ramacher had been assigned to a parish in Little Falls and came up with the idea to start a winter recreational event to benefit the young people of his parish as well as the entire community. The popular event ran for five years, from 1945 to 1950, and took place four miles southeast of Little Falls on property owned by a parishoner of Ramacher’s, Andrew Jarosh. One of the largest winter community events in Minnesota, Winter Wonderland came to be known as America’s Little Switzerland. Features included toboggan runs, a “Blue Mirror” skating rink, a chalet known as Ski-Esta Inn, and a Winter Wonderland Queen. In 1949, BeBe Shopp, Miss America 1948 and a Minnesota native, served as Miss Wonderland.
The metal license plate topper shown above was produced by the Vernon Company of Newton, Iowa. Founded in 1910 by F. L. Vernon, the company is still in business and is in its fourth generation of family ownership. The company started as a small local graphics agency and has grown into a promotional marketing and manufacturing firm supplying promotional items and sign graphics.
If you would like to learn more about Winter Wonderland, stop by the museum and check out our Winter Wonderland exhibit or plunge into our Winter Wonderland collection. The exhibit will run through March 2013.
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Leather Briefcase (front) of Charles A. Fortier (1901-1976). 1951.
Leather Briefcase (back) of Charles A. Fortier (1901-1976). 1951.
No image of the professional man in the United States in 1951 would be complete without the ubiquitous briefcase. Little Falls City Attorney, Charles A. Fortier, purchased this beautifully decorated hand-tooled leather briefcase during a family vacation in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1951. Charles Alexander Fortier was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, on January 17, 1901, to G.M.A. Fortier I and Petronilla Rosa (Vasaly) Fortier. G.M.A. was a leading physician and surgeon in Little Falls. Charles became an attorney in 1927 and four years later was appointed city attorney for Little Falls, a position which he held for over twenty years. Fortier’s professional career included one term as mayor of Little Falls and a fifteen-year stint as a probate and juvenile judge. Fortier married Margaret Steffes (1901-1986) in Little Falls on August 8, 1932. Margaret and Charles had two children, Natalie and Jeanne. Fortier retired as probate judge in 1971 and died in Little Falls on October 10, 1976.
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