On This Date In Twin Cities History - January 6, 1931
On this date in 1931, Floyd Bjornsterne Olson takes office as the 22nd Governor of the State of Minnesota and the first representing the Democratic Farmer-Labor (DFL) party. Born in 1891 in North Minneapolis, he graduated from the city’s North High School in 1909. He earned a law degree from Northwestern College of Law in St. Paul (today the William Mitchell College of Law). Olson began serving as the Hennepin County attorney in 1920 and developed a reputation as a crusader against government corruption. In 1924, while still county attorney, Olson ran for governor as a DFL candidate. He lost to Republican Theodore Christianson. Running for a second time in 1930, Olson captured 59% of the popular vote and the governor’s office defeating Republican Raymond P. Chase and Democrat Edward Indrehus. Olson would go on to win two subsequent terms as Minnesota’s governor. Olson’s third term as governor was cut short due to stomach cancer. He died at the Mayo Clinic on August 22, 1936 at the age of forty-four. Olson is considered one of the greatest governors in Minnesota history and one of the most influential American politicians of his era. Today, a statue dedicated to him sits at the intersection of Olson Memorial Highway and Penn Avenue in North Minneapolis. Another statue of Olson sits on the Minnesota State Capitol mall. In 1974, Olson’s Minneapolis home at 1914 West 49th Street was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Floyd B Olson statue in Minneapolis circa 1950 (MHS)