Giacomo Beltrami never found the source of the Mississippi River, as he had hoped to do in 1823, but he did more than anyone before him to establish Minnesota or what would become Minnesota as a land of whimsy. Can any other state claim that one of its earliest Western explorers tramped through the wilderness protected by a red umbrella? I think not. Those of who cherish our state's reputation for quirkiness owe the man a 21-parasol salute.
~Dave Kenney, Roseville, MN
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