Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Shapely State

What is it with Minnesota's love of, well, Minnesota? I'm not talking about the fact that most of us (particularly me) love every aspect of Minnesota and must rave for long lengths about how such and such in Minnesota is SOOO much better than what's in your state.

What I'm blogging about here today is Minnesota's love affair with the SHAPE of Minnesota. See the photo below I took yesterday at the Minnesota Historical Society Museum:

You actually walk THROUGH Minnesota and are immediately confronted with the shape of Minnesota again! (and again and again throughout the MN150 exhibit).

Beyond that, it seems that the shape of Minnesota is omnipresent. It's on our license plates, the Minnesota quarter, and logos of all the great Minnesota institutions.

Minnesota is hardly alone in this. Pennsylvania celebrates their status and shape as the "Keystone State". Florida rejoices in being "America's Wang". And probably no other states are more proud of their shape than Colorado and Wyoming, which obsess over their respective shapes so much that both states mandate that all windows and pizza boxes be in the shape of their states.

Yet there is something about Minnesota's shape that is so enchanting, so popular that many businesses and organizations incorporate the shape into their logo. I believe it is the distinctive nature of our state. The sharp angular points of the jutting chin of SE Minnesota (driftless zone), the nose of the arrowhead region above Lake Superior, the tuft of hair that is the Northwest Angle by Lake of the Woods, and that odd bump on the west side of the state that is part of the upper Minnesota River. Who doesn't love that weird bump? It fascinates me more than the NW Angle, yet as close as it is to the Twin Cities, I've never been there. I wonder if the people living there have weird bumps on their backs too.

The other thing about Minnesota that I alluded to above, is that it looks like a face of sorts. And it seems appropriate that the face is facing East. There's so much going on just immediately to our east. I think there are great things about North and South Dakota, but come on, if you had to pick an eternity to face one direction, wouldn't you rather be looking out over Lake Superior than the North Dakota pocket wetlands? I'm just sayin'...

To read about how Minnesota REALLY got its shape, check out this MnDNR article on the history of Minnesota's odd shape.

I'll leave you with the greatest Minnesota-shaped logo of all time:


beautifully/broken said...

Very intriguing post. I enjoyed this little look at our quirky state. I've always found the shape attractive, too -- maybe because it's very distinct.

Anonymous said...

I'd surmise that all states have pride in something particular to their area. Take New Hampshire--the Old Man of the Mountain shows up EVERYWHERE--license plates, highway signs . . . you name it, he's there. Funny thing is, the Old Man fell down several years ago.

ChrisT said...

weird western bump is from Minnesota river headwaters (big stone lake) and the red river headwaters (lake travers). it is also a continental divide at the point of the bump - browns valley (,_Minnesota)

Very interesting place - fun to camp as well.

Nikki said...

I agree with the end of your article...I LOVE that Twins logo.

GO TWINS! (and Minnesota) :)