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5 Fun Facts About December 17 In Minnesota History

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1. In 1853, the Minnesota territorial legislature approved the construction of a state capitol building in St. Paul. The building, which still stands today, was completed in 1905 and is considered one of the most impressive state capitols in the country.

2. On December 17, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the largest mass execution in American history. Thirty-eight Dakota men were hanged in Mankato for their involvement in the Dakota War of 1862, which had resulted in the deaths of hundreds of white settlers.

3. In 1903, the first long-distance telephone call between Minnesota and Chicago was made. The call was placed by then-governor Samuel Van Sant to James J. Hill, a prominent businessman from St. Paul who had interests in the railway industry.

4. On December 17, 1933, the first highway bridge across the Mississippi River in Minnesota opened. The Wabasha Street Bridge, which connects St. Paul and West St. Paul, was designed by renowned engineer C.A.P. Turner and has become an iconic landmark in the Twin Cities.

5. The first professional basketball game in Minnesota was played on December 17, 1947 between the Minneapolis Lakers and the Chicago Stags. The Lakers, led by Hall of Famers George Mikan and Jim Pollard, won the game 84-70 and went on to win the inaugural NBA championship later that season.
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