Friday, March 30, 2012

A little trip down history lane...

Every year about this time my DH and I make our way down to Le Sueur to have our taxes prepared by our accountant.  We have used him for years and don't mind traveling the hour plus down the road to visit him each year.

We lived in Le Sueur, MN for just over seven years and have many good memories of being there.  It is a small, farming community of around 3500 people that is situated on the Minnesota River.  As in just about anyplace in America, if you dig deep enough, you can mine out wonderful nuggets of history about characters from its past.  However, in Le Sueur, you don't have to dig too deep.  It is rich in history.

Here is just a little to scratch the surface.  Here is a picture of the Mayo House on Main Street.  It was here in Le Sueur that the two Mayo brothers first practiced medicine in MN before moving to Rochester MN in what later became the famous Mayo Clinic.

This same house later housed the Cosgrove family.  Who are they?  Well, they ended up starting what became known as the Green Giant Company.  Have you ever seen the advertisements for the Jolly Green Giant?  LeSueur is the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant!  This is the sign that greets you as you enter town -

Have you ever eaten Le Sueur Peas?  This is where they originated.  They are still grown around here somewhere even though the company is now owned and operated by General Mills out of Minneapolis.

Right next to the Mayo house there is a wonderful sculpture called "The Mothers". It is a representation of Louise Mayo, mother of William J. Mayo and his sister, Gertrude, and of Louise Cosgrove, mother of Robert Cosgrove.

Louise Mayo: mother of the founder of the Mayo Clinic, William, and his brother, Charles
Louise Cosgrove: wife of Edward Cosgrove and mother of Robert Cosgrove; President and Chairmen of the Green Giant Company.

Sculpture created by Dr. Paul Grunland, 1978.

After we left Le Sueur we drove on across the MN river valley through St. Peter which is where we used to attend church.  I commented as we drove through that "you can still see the college".  What I meant by that was that years ago you would drive through town and never know that Gustavus Adolphus College was up on the hill.  But years ago a tornado went through St. Peter and pretty much destroyed most of the town.  It tore out all of the beautiful old trees that "hid" the college.

We were not personally affected by the tornado but knew many who lost their homes, most of their possessions, and had to "start over".  It was a very difficult time for many people.  I didn't think about it until we got home later that evening that we were driving through St. Peter that day on the 14th anniversary of that tornado. 

My Jubilee quilt has some fabric in it from a lady whose home was destroyed in that tornado and she was throwing out her mother's sewing stuff.  She gave me the fabric since she didn't sew and I kept what I could use. Memories in the scraps.

Now to leave you with a smile on your face... a few years ago I was driving through St. Peter and noticed they had added this to one of the highways as you are leaving town.  I thought it was pretty funny. :)

Have a great day - look around for what history is in your backyard.  You never know what you might find. :)


Dawn said...

I've spent a lot of time in Le Suer! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. It is a very pretty drive from Chanhassen. Thank you for sharing.

Diane Wild said...

Thanks for the renewed history lesson, Judy. I never noticed the "Mothers" before and I've driven pass there several times. I'll take extra time to look the next time I'm in town.

KOcanQuilt said...

Fun post! I have driven through that valley many times. Mom grew up in St. Peter, and Grandma lived in the nursing home when the tornado went through. I remember what a shock it was to come into the town soon after and see the devastation.

quiltmania said...

Thanks for sharing the beautiful history!