Gale Family Library

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102



Library Hours

Tuesday: 9 am-8 pm
Wednesday: 9 am-4 pm
Thursday: 9 am-4 pm
Friday: 9 am-4 pm
Saturday: 9 am-4 pm
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Holiday Hours


$6 per day

Using the Library

Collections OnlineTimepieces

Minnesota Facts and Symbols

State Name

Derived from the Dakota Indian word minisota, meaning "water that reflects the sky" or "sky-tinted water."


Quick Facts

Organized as a Territory: 3 March 1849

Entered the Union: 11 May 1858 (32nd state)

Capital City: Saint Paul



Total Area: 84,068 square miles (12th largest state)

Land Area: 79,289 square miles

Width (East to West): 385 miles

Length (North to South): 405 miles

Highest Point: Eagle Mountain in Cook County, 2,301 feet

Lowest Point: the surface of Lake Superior, 602 feet

Actual Number of Lakes: 15,291 that are larger than 10 acres

Largest Lake: Red Lake, 451 square miles



According to 2010 census: 5,303,925, an increase of 7.8% from 2000

21st most populous state in the U.S.

Average Population Density per Square Mile: 66.9

Five Largest Cities (according to 2013 US Census estimate)

  • Minneapolis: 400,070
  • St. Paul: 294,873
  • Rochester: 110,742
  • Bloomington: 86,319
  • Duluth: 86,128
Five Largest Counties (according to 2014 US Census estimate)
  • Hennepin: 1,212,064
  • Ramsey: 532,655
  • Dakota: 412,529
  • Anoka: 341,864
  • Washington: 249,283



Current building is the 3rd MN Capitol Building.  It was designed by Cass Gilbert and finished in 1905.

Minnesota Governors - For biographies and portraits of Minnesota's governors, quick facts on the lieutenant governors and first ladies, and gubernatorial events & traditions (like the Fishing Opener)



State Symbols

  • Bird - Loon (Gavia immer), adopted by the legislature in 1961 (Minn. Statute 1.145)
  • Butterfly - Monarch (Danaus plexippus), chosen in 2000 (1.1497)
  • Drink - Milk, designated in 1984 (1.1495).
  • Fish - Walleye (Stizostedion v. vitreum), adopted in 1965 (1.146), first proposed in 1953
  • Flag - The design for the state flag was adopted in 1893 (1.141); an official photograph of the state flag is kept by the Secretary of State; an article on "The Origin of the Minnesota State Flag" appeared in the spring 1992 issue of Minnesota History.
  • Flower - Showy Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium reginae), also known as the pink and white lady slipper, designated in 1967 (1.142); had been the state flower by resolution since 1902
  • Fruit Honeycrisp apple, adopted in 2006 (1.1475); the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, which developed the Honeycrisp apple, has put Minnesota Report 225-1992 online.
  • Gemstone - Lake Superior Agate, chosen in 1969 (1.147)
  • Grain - Wild rice (Zizania aquatica), designated in 1977 (1.148)
  • License Plate Motto - "10,000 Lakes"
  • Motto - L'etoile du Nord (French for "Star of the North"), was formally adopted in 1861. Selected by Henry Sibley for the state seal, the legislature approved both the seal and motto at the same time, Minnesota Laws 1861, Chapter 43.
  • Muffin - Blueberry muffin, chosen in 1988 (1.1496).
  • Mushroom - Morel (morchella esculenta), designated in 1984 (1.149).
  • Photograph - "Grace," by Eric Enstrom, taken in 1918, adopted in 2002 (1.1498); MNopedia article about the photograph.
  • Quarter - In 1999, the United States Mint began a ten-year initiative to honor each of the 50 states by issuing a commemorative quarter featuring a design of each state’s choosing. The state quarter designs are intended to depict a unique aspect of each state. The Denver mint began production of the Minnesota state quarter in March 2005. It has a lake scene with pine trees, a loon, and people fishing, as well as a textured outline of the state behind its nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes."  The U.S. Mint has an online image of the Minnesota quarter design.
  • Seal - The original design was drawn by Seth Eastman in 1849 and was adopted by the territorial legislature. In 1861 the state legislature adopted the state seal (Minn. Laws 1861, Chapter 43). In 1983 the seal was redesigned, adding Norway pines behind Saint Anthony Falls and changing the direction the Indian was riding. Minnesota Statute 1.135 describes the design of the seal, the symbolism, and uses of the seal. The Secretary of State has an image and a downloadable jpeg of the current seal.
  • Song - "Hail! Minnesota," adopted by Minnesota Laws 1945 Joint Resolution Number 15. 
  • Sport - Ice Hockey, designated in 2009 (1.1499)
  • Tree - Norway pine (Pinus resinosa), also known as the red pine, chosen in 1953 (1.143)

Information relating to Unofficial, Proposed, or Facetious Symbols can by found on the Legislative Refernce Library's website.