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The Minnesota ​Territorial Pioneers

Established May 11, 1897-Incorporated1897

Postage Stamps

The Minnesota

​Territorial Pioneers

Established May 11, 1897 – Incorporated 1924

Little Falls native Charles Lindbergh was on leave from his job as an air mail pilot when he crossed the Atlantic in 1927.  He landed in Paris on May 21st and the 10-cent Lindbergh air mail stamp went on sale June 18th. Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St Louis, was shown in flight over the Atlantic, with the route from New York to Paris sketched into the background.  First Day sales were made in Washington DC, St Louis MO, Detroit MI, and Little Falls MN.

Other Commemorative Stamps with a Minnesota Connection

A five-cent stamp celebrating the 50th anniversary of Finnish Independence went on sale in 1967.  The honor of the first day issue on October 6, 1967, was given to Finland, Minnesota.

The 1949 3-cent Territorial Centennial stamp celebrated the Red River Ox Carts that connected the early settlements in northwestern Minnesota with the population centers in the southeast. 

The “Greetings from…” stamps were issued on April 2, 2002. Each state capitol, including St Paul, was the First Day issuer for its state stamp. Minnesota’s stamp featured the Minneapolis sky line in the background and a loon on a lake in the foreground.

In 1958, the Statehood Centennial 3-cent stamp featured the outdoors with lake, river and pine trees.

Minnesota’s sesquicentennial commemorative stamp celebrates the importance of the Mississippi in the state’s history with a photograph by Richard Hamilton Smith. The sunset scene at Winona has the Highway 43 bridge in the foreground, with the river and its bluffs stretching past the far horizon. This 42-cent first class stamp was issued in May, 2008.

Sinclair Lewis became the first American to win the Nobel prize for literature in 1930.  His body of work included his portrait of small town life in the novel “Main Street,” based on his experiences growing up in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. When the 14-cent Sinclair Lewis stamp was issued on March 21, 1985, his hometown was honored as a First Day Issuer.  

Fun Facts & State Symbols

A five-cent stamp was issued in 1964 honoring the “Pioneers of Group Practice,”Dr. William and Dr. Charles Mayo, who founded the Mayo Clinic in 1889. The stamps went on sale in Rochester, Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic, on September 11, 1964.

Fort Snelling was founded in 1920  and celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1970. In its early days, it was considered to be the Gateway to the Great Northwest.  The stamp features the fort, which sits at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, with a Mississippi river barge in the foreground.  First day issue was on October 17, 1970, at Fort Snelling.

On May 18, 1925 two stamps went on sale that commemorated the centennial of Norse-American immigration.  The two cent stamp featured the sloop Restauration, which brought the first Norwegian immigrants to the US in 1825.  The 5-cent stamp featured the replica Viking ship that sailed from Norway to Chicago for the 1893 exposition.  Of the six official first day sales offices, three were in Minnesota: Minneapolis, St Paul, and Benson.  Washington DC, Decorah IA, and Algona IA were also honored as First Day Issuers. Some sources indicate that Northfield MN also participated in first day sales.