The East Side Freedom Library invites you to “Minnesota Swedes Raising Cane:” Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Reflections on Thursday, January 4 @ 7:00PM-8:30PM.
Marilyn McGriff will offer a powerpoint presentation, including images from her recent trip to Cuba. Shortly after the Spanish-American war, a Minneapolis doctor bought a huge tract of land in eastern Cuba. He then urged fellow Swedish-American farmers to trade their overcoats and marginal land for short sleeves and a tropical paradise. Enough farmers and other laborers responded so that there was a viable Swedish American settlement for 20 years. Most returned to the United States. Some of their descendants were invited to participate in the 110th anniversary celebration in December. Of particular interest was the opening of a museum/gallery that features photos and paintings commemorating the influence of those hard-working northerners.
Marilyn McGriff, an East Sider, is a local historian who first heard about the Swedish-American settlement in Cuba when she was director of the Isanti County Historical Society during the 1980s. She soon discovered that there were several from that area who had participated. She began gathering photographs and stories and initially wrote an article for Minnesota History in 1999. “I thought I was done with the story, but it continues to grow.”
Here’s a link to the 1999 article: http://collections.mnhs.org/MNHistoryMagazine/articles/56/v56i05p286-300.pdf
And for Map sources: countryreports.org and map-of-cuba.co.uk
Free and Open to All. East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106.