What electric device was used to reduce crime in Minneapolis, Minn., in the late 1800’s? Hint: It was too tall for a cow to jump over.

Discover more bite-sized state history stories by checking out our 30-Second Minnesota series.

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Crave more local “space” history? Turns out, Minnesota serves as ground zero for a slew of pioneering technological advancements that fueled America’s Space Race and ultimately led to the mission that landed the first man on the moon. Discover more about  G. T. Schjeldahl Company, a Northfield, Minn.-based innovator that went from making “Bread Bags to Satelloons.”

A certain “je ne sais quoi,” a hefty dose of guts and machismo, defined the men of NASA’s earliest program in the race to send the first humans into space. The seven astronauts – the Mercury 7, as they were known – definitely had what writer Tom Wolfe called “The Right Stuff,” as he explained in a Saint Paul Airport hangar in 1980.

Two Minnesota husband-and-wife teams – the Piccards and the Winzens – pioneered high-altitude ballooning in the years leading up to the Space Race. Discover more about their stories.