The Minnesota State Fair program cover for 1949.

Mona Weimer, formerly of Palisade and now of Aitkin, found a special newspaper carefully wrapped in plastic and stored inside the wall of her home.  It was a special Minnesota Centennial Edition of the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, dated Aug. 28, 1949 and celebrating 100 years of statehood.

Weimar believes it was placed there as kind of a time capsule.


The main news section led with a headline about a new record being set for Minnesota State Fair attendance. The tally was 79,900 people for the week of the fair. Several stories and photos about fair events were featured. A controversial mural by artist Julio De Diego, husband of striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, was censored by the State Fair board. The surreal display of women was deemed inappropriate. Countering that decision, De Diego said, “In this country, we cannot have censorship! That is for fascists.”  Interestingly, the display of striptease by De Diego’s spouse passed without any concerns.


Front page medical news was that Minneapolis hospital beds were filled to overflowing with polio patients. Twenty-one new cases were reported for the state, bringing the 1949 total to 649 cases, and 46 deaths. Communities in greater Minnesota were urged to keep their sick at their local hospitals and not send them to Minneapolis.


In 1949 the aftermath of WWII continued in eastern Europe. A headline read ‘Russ mass tanks on Slav border: Crisis seen in Tito-Soviet cold war,’ and the story reported that the situation in eastern Europe was believed to be very serious. The atmosphere in diplomatic circles was compared to the tension that existed in the spring of 1941, on the eve of Germany’s invasion of Yugoslavia.

Meanwhile, in Japan, General Douglas MacArthur was finishing up his fifth year of occupation.  Characterized as “the unseen ruler” of Japan, the occupying general was quoted as saying that an occupying army could not remain effective for any more than five years. The report noted that incidents of restlessness and impatience among the Japanese were increasing, true to MacArthur’s prediction.


The year 1950 would be an election year; predicted to be a “duel” between the incumbent President Truman and his challenger, Senator Taft. President Truman was said to welcome the opposition of Taft, in the sense that he believed Taft represented the opposite of what the people generally wanted. Truman characterized his political challenge with one word: “Taftism”.


An editorial called Minnesota’s First Century, and special columns by Carroll Binder, John K. Sherman and Arthur Upgren focused on the centennial anniversary.

This issue of the Sunday Tribune featured five sections on the state centennial: The Minnesota Story, The First 100 Years, How We Make Our Living, The People and Minneapolis Memories. Two color sections featured full color paintings of early Minnesota, full color historical maps, and full color pictures of the first state capitol and some early churches and schools.


Prices for some products were as low as might be expected for 70 years ago. A General Electric vacuum coffee maker was priced at $1.95, a classic two-piece living room set with wool upholstery was priced at $159, and winter coats with fur trim for $68. Automatic Hotpoint Electric kitchen range was advertised at $179.95 and combination frig-freezer for just under $400.

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