13 above-average facts about Minnesota

Minneapolis-St. Paul was praised as the world capital of the 'knowledge economy,' which would be a great thing to brag about if someone could please explain what the hell it means.

Minneapolis-St. Paul was praised as the world capital of the 'knowledge economy,' which would be a great thing to brag about if someone could please explain what the hell it means. Anthony Souffle, Star Tribune

 Minnesotans’ belief in their and their state’s excellence is so ingrained, we archive it. The Legislative Reference Library in St. Paul maintains three-ringed binders called “MINNESOTA PRAISE,” each bursting with positive news clippings, optimistic research, and rosy miscellany.

Take the 1976 Minneapolis Star survey of nearly 600 residents, described as a “gregarious and neighborly population” who gave upbeat answers about many topics—“most say area is above average in sports”—and determined that life in these parts is better than anywhere this side of St. Peter’s gate.

We’re generous, active, and sophisticated. Just ask us!

Let’s not let “MINNESOTA PRAISE” gather dust. Let us coin mottos, in the Midwestern tradition of Garrison Keillor and assorted ad agencies. We shall weld insecurity, modesty, and ego into pithy wordplay, and our greatness shall, in time, be widely known.

Claim: According to a 2004 St. Cloud Times story touting the region’s unique and superior qualities, “St. Cloud is the world’s largest freezer producer,” Tenvoorde Ford (est. 1901) is the oldest family-owned Ford dealership, and Grede Foundries maintained a “far higher safety rating than U.S. foundries in general... based on federal data.”

Motto: “Visit St. Cloud, where the peas never thaw, the Ford dealer inherited the lot from his dad, and men with large backs are significantly less likely to drop half-shapen sewer grates on their feet.”

Claim: In 2002, the Twin Cities was ranked as the No. 1 worldwide hub for the “knowledge economy,” according to Welsh consulting firm Robert Huggins Associates.

Motto: “Move to Minneapolis-St. Paul! We promise we won’t use the phrase ‘knowledge economy’ more than three times during happy hour.”

Claim: Only Florida has more water skis per person than Minnesota.

Motto: “Waterski Minnesota, where, unlike Florida, we’re not using our water skis to seal off a closet door containing a rabid bat or ex-husband.”

Claim: In 2003, Woodbury was described as the “most desirable place of its size to live in the central United States.”

Motto: “Woodbury: If you’ll swallow that many qualifiers just to argue we’re ‘desirable,’ you already live here.”

Claim: Crookston purports to be the proud home of the “world’s largest oxcart.”

Motto: “Do commerce in Crookston! Unless you’re a giant ox. In that case, run like hell.”

Claim: In 1991, Minnesota was labeled one of the best destinations to relocate an international business, thanks in part to praise from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Motto: “Minnesota: We’re also so passive-aggressive we won’t mention your birthmark until after you leave the room.”

Claim: Madison, Minnesota, says it’s the nation’s “lutefisk capital,” citing its annual Stinker Days celebration.

Motto: “Move to Madison, where the smell of your breath will deter every human encounter.”

Claim: Longville is the “turtle racing capital” of America.

Motto: “Life in Longville is so comfortable, even the reptiles have a surplus of free time.”

Claim: In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau labeled Minnesota the “minivan capital of the United States.”

Motto: “Minnesota: You chuckle, but the screaming kids in this Windstar means someone agreed to have sex with me more than once!”

Claim: In 2013, called Minneapolis the number-one city in the country “where you might be eaten by a dragon.”


Claim: In 2000, said Minneapolis-St. Paul is the fourth most-affordable city for internet and tech workers, behind only Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

Motto: “Would you really want to live in a state that seceded from Mexico and the United States, and elected Ted Cruz?”

Claim: In the mid-2000s, Minnneapolis’ U.S. Bank held more mortgage loans than any other American bank.

Motto: “Minneapolis: The only place where your neighbor doesn’t just wanna screw you. He insists on it.”

Claim: In 2007, a study confirmed the Twin Cities has the highest percentage of 16-and-up residents who’d done at least some volunteering the previous year.

Motto: “And that doesn’t even include the many of us who volunteer their time phone banking to tell all their friends how great it is to live here, especially compared to Wisconsin. I mean, can you even imagine? Anyway, the point is, TELL ME I’M GOOD ENOUGH!”

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