The Good Life in Minnesota

On August 13,1973, Time Magazine’s cover was labeled “The Good Life in Minnesota.” It showed a smiling young Governor Wendell Anderson lifting a northern pike. While 1973 would not be considered in the early resort period, I included the Time cover in The Early Resorts of Minnesota because the book is also about tourism and the ways that early resorts strove to attract guests. The famous cover no doubt was a bonus in helping make Minnesota a national destination to those seeking a happy outdoor vacation. Holding up a fish has always been a traditional Minnesota photo opportunity, especially for resorts.

Brian Kobilka

On October 12, 2012, I searched for a photo in another publication, the Little Falls Community High School Flyer Yearbook. I was looking for Brian Kobilka, a 1973 graduate. Kobilka made worldwide headlines that day as a Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry (click here to read a StarTribune article). It was a huge honor for Kobilka and his parents, and in turn, it credited the United States, Minnesota, and the Little Falls community for the role education played in his development as an individual and as a scientist.

As I paged through the yearbook, I found that 1973 was special in other ways. That year an outstanding new community high school opened in Little Falls. The guest speaker at its dedication was then-Governor Wendell Anderson! It was also a year that introduced a superior vocational education program, along with a new emphasis on special education. Many new teachers and staff were hired in 1972 and 1973. The high school changed to a quarter system, allowing numerous exciting new classes to be introduced.

A large part of the new spirit in education was due to a change in school financing that the legislature passed in 1971 and which Wendell Anderson had championed. It became known as “The Minnesota Miracle.”

I am proud to have Wendell Anderson as one of the four outstanding individuals endorsing The Early Resorts of Minnesota. Others include Mark Ludlow, who operates Ludlow’s Island Resort on Lake Vermilion; Jill Johnson, who has recently written Little Minnesota100 Towns Around 100; and Al Baert, Founder of the Minnesota Fishing Museum in Little Falls. My appreciation is expressed to all four. All have been important contributors to The Good Life in Minnesota.

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