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5 Fun Facts About May 18 In Minnesota History

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1. In 1858, the Minnesota state legislature convened for the first time in St. Paul, officially establishing Minnesota as a state. The historic vote took place on May 11, but the legislature continued to meet and begin the work of setting up state government throughout the week, including May 18.

2. The Mayo Clinic, one of the world's most renowned medical institutions, was founded in Rochester, Minnesota on May 18, 1889 by Dr. William W. Mayo and his sons William J. Mayo and Charles H. Mayo. The clinic started out as a small family practice but grew to become a leading center for medical research and treatment.

3. On May 18, 1927, the Mississippi River in St. Paul reached its second-highest recorded level at the time, cresting at 20.4 feet above flood stage. The flood caused extensive damage to buildings and homes along the river, and several lives were lost. The disaster spurred the creation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' flood control program.

4. In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd of thousands at the Minnesota State Capitol on May 18, calling for an end to racial discrimination and segregation. King's speech came just weeks after the landmark Birmingham campaign and helped galvanize support for the growing civil rights movement in Minnesota and across the country.

5. On May 18, 1980, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state sent a plume of ash and debris across the Midwest, causing widespread travel disruptions and closing airports in Minnesota and other states. The ash fall also caused damage to crops and soil, and led to increased awareness of the potential impacts of volcanic activity on human communities.
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