MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State Fair has a rich history that dates back more than 130 years.
And its past is laid out for all to see at the History and Heritage Center.
A picture shows President Teddy Roosevelt in 1910. It’s the same place nine years earlier that Vice President Roosevelt delivered a now-famous quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
In addition to presidential visits, the state fair is where Minnesota’s aviation industry took off.
The first flight ever in the state occurred on the fairgrounds in 1910, and eventually led to exciting airshows.
Yet the state fair’s most influential contributor is a horse by the name of Dan Patch.
His 1906 world record of running a mile in 1 minute and 55 seconds — witnessed by a crowd of 80,000 fairgoers — is still held to this day.
Minnesota was home turf for Patch, who was in national demand.
Anticipation for a return in 1909 would forever change the look of the Grandstand.
The old wooden structure was replaced with brick and concrete, which still stands today. It is a lasting reminder of the impact of a single horse.
Learn more about the Minnesota State Fair’s history at the History and Heritage Center, located in the West End. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.