County fairs have been part of the Minnesota experience for generations, and Hennepin County is no exception. This ribbon comes from the 1930 Hennepin County Fair, and is one of many ribbons in Hennepin History Museum’s County Fair Collection.
“Outside the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County is one of the richest agricultural areas in all the northwest,” reported the Minneapolis Tribune in August 1930 in an article extolling the virtues of Hennepin County as an agricultural powerhouse. The Hennepin County Fair, they wrote, was the perfect place to see this agricultural legacy in action: “A visit to Hopkins this week will beget new faith in Hennepin County, inspire a broader understanding of rural problems, and assure worthwhile entertainment.”
Hennepin County’s fair moved to Hopkins in 1907, bouncing around in specific location from downtown to, eventually, an indoors location at a Hennepin County Highway Department garage, also located in Hopkins – giving it the distinction of being the only Minnesota county fair to be located indoors. In 1986, the fair moved back outside, this time in Corcoran.
Click here to learn more about the Hennepin County Fair today.
Do you have a favorite county fair memory – whether in Hennepin County or somewhere else? Please share below; we’d love to hear your stories.
While Hennepin History Museum doesn’t have the space to collect tractors, that doesn’t stop us from collecting tractor history. And even the briefest survey of tractor history will unearth the name Minneapolis-Moline.
The 1918 tractor shown here was originally used on a farm in Nebraska. A Model “D” Universal tractor, it featured electric ignition, speed control, and electric lights. In 1953, Minneapolis-Moline’s marketing department purchased the tractor and brought it home to Minnesota and sent it on tour to the state and county fairs. In 1957, the company exhibited it at their headquarters in Hopkins.
In 1962, the tractor moved yet again — this time to Washington, DC. The Smithsonian Institution recognized the significance of Minneapolis-Moline and their role in American innovation and agriculture and installed it in one of their history and technology galleries.
The following year, Minnesota business leaders gathered at the Smithsonian during the 1963 Convention of the Chamber of Commerce. Shown here are representatives from the Minneapolis Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pillsbury Company, the United States Navy, the Smithsonian, and, of course, Minneapolis-Moline.
Learn more about the history of Minneapolis Moline and other Hennepin County companies in our library and archives.
In 1932 twenty-nine counties from across Minnesota gathered at the Minnesota State Fair grounds to compete for fame and glory. Well, at least glory. The entrants in the “lively” county booth competition were judged on “general scope and quality” and beauty. While Hennepin County didn’t wow the judges, we didn’t go home entirely empty-handed: Hennepin County took third in the Central Section beauty contest, coming in behind Wright and Chisago Counties.
Governor Floyd B. Olson, a Hennepin County native himself, presented the county booth awards to the lucky winners.