86 episodes

What do you wonder about the people, places and culture of Minnesota? Listen to our community-driven reporting project, which invites listeners to ask questions that our newsroom researches and answers.

Curious Minnesota Star Tribune

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 203 Ratings

What do you wonder about the people, places and culture of Minnesota? Listen to our community-driven reporting project, which invites listeners to ask questions that our newsroom researches and answers.

    What roles did Minnesota's Native American chiefs play? And who were some notable ones?

    What roles did Minnesota's Native American chiefs play? And who were some notable ones?

    The familiar image of a stoic Native American chief wearing a headdress is in many ways a core American cultural stereotype. It has been memorialized in films and statutes, as well as exploited to sell cigarettes and motorcycles. But who are these celebrated figures of the past? Mark Boswell joins host Eric Roper to discuss the roles that Native American chiefs played and introduce some of the state's most prominent chiefs.
    LINKS:
    Garbage graphic / River wall graphic
    What roles did Minnesota's Native American chiefs play? And who were some notable ones? (February 2024 Curious Minnesota story)
    In the Footsteps of Little Crow (eBook)

    • 22 min
    Why does Maplewood have such an odd shape?

    Why does Maplewood have such an odd shape?

    Maplewood arguably has the strangest border of any city in the Twin Cities metro area. Its L shape wraps around the northern and eastern edges of St. Paul. The origins of that border reveals an interesting history of development patterns in the east metro. Reporter Greta Kaul joins host Eric Roper to discuss how Maplewood was born out of leftover land -- and became home to a signature Minnesota company.
    LINKS:
    Why does Maplewood have such an odd shape?
    Why didn't Minneapolis gobble up its suburbs? (Podcast, May 2023)
    Why didn't Minneapolis gobble up its suburbs? (Story, March 2023)

    • 18 min
    How did Northfield become home to St. Olaf and Carleton colleges?

    How did Northfield become home to St. Olaf and Carleton colleges?

    St. Olaf and Carleton colleges have left a big mark on the world. Their alumni have reached the highest levels of entertainment, the arts, politics and the legal system. A reader wanted to know how these two prominent private colleges ended up in Northfield, a small city just south of the Twin Cities metro area.
    Reporter Trey Mewes, who wrote a story on this topic for Curious Minnesota, discusses the interesting tale behind these institutions with host Eric Roper. 
    LINKS:
    How did Northfield become home to St. Olaf and Carleton colleges? (February 2024 Curious Minnesota article)

    • 19 min
    Did union rules prevent Leonard Bernstein from joining the Minnesota Orchestra?

    Did union rules prevent Leonard Bernstein from joining the Minnesota Orchestra?

    Sometimes rejection is the beginning of an exciting new path in life. That's one takeaway from today's episode about Leonard Bernstein, who once planned to work at the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra). Reporter Jenna Ross joins host Eric Roper to discuss how Bernstein's complex relationship with his mentor nearly landed him in Minnesota.
    LINKS:
    Did union rules prevent Leonard Bernstein from joining the Minnesota Orchestra? (January 2024 Curious Minnesota story)
    The Curious Minnesota Collection

    • 19 min
    What does it mean when Minnesota courts sentence offenders to 'the workhouse'?

    What does it mean when Minnesota courts sentence offenders to 'the workhouse'?

    It's not uncommon in Minnesota to see a news story about someone being sentenced to "the workhouse." But what is a workhouse? It turns out Minnesota is one of the only states still using this term, which describes unique facilities that are neither jails nor prisons. Reporter Kim Hyatt joins host Eric Roper to talk about what happens in a workhouse, who is sentenced there and the long history behind these correctional facilities.
    LINKS:
    What does it mean when Minnesota courts sentence offenders to 'the workhouse'? (February 2023 Curious Minnesota article)

    • 20 min
    What is Minnesota's deepest lake?

    What is Minnesota's deepest lake?

    Sometimes, what seems like a simple question unravels into something much more complex and surprising than we expected. That was the case with the question behind today's episode, regarding the deepest lake in Minnesota. Reporter Chloe Johnson and graphics artist Jake Steinberg join host Eric Roper to discuss their reporting journey to find which lake dips the lowest.
    LINKS:
    What is Minnesota's deepest lake? (November 2023 Curious Minnesota story)

    • 15 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
203 Ratings

203 Ratings

SirPurgealot ,

Such a fun show… but it’s not over, is it?

There’s so much to learn about our great state. Love the variety and approachable nature. Please say it isn’t over!

Goranger22 ,

Learning a lot

Thanks for the stories and the question you’re answering to help us understand Minnesota more.

consciousdave ,

Great show on Minnesotan history

There aren’t a ton of other shows on Minnesota history specifically, so really appreciate this one. Normally not a huge fan of the star tribune but they did good here. They usually elicit topics to cover from listeners which is pretty cool cuz they always end up being fascinating. And since this is a newspaper, they typically have good sources to provide input

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