John and Stephan Odea

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John and Stephan were Irish immigrants to the Winona area. John owned a quarry that supplied stone for buildings and roads in the booming river town. His quarrying carved off the top of the bluff near Winona. In the late 1890s, many citizens felt he was defacing the bluff and he stopped operations. He trimmed up the hill and it became Winona's landmark, Sugar Loaf.

Many people think Sugar Loaf was a result of glaciers. When it was decided to light the rock at night, a cross appeared in the rock. Did old John, a strong Catholic, have a cross carved out and it didn't appear until modern man lit it? Is it just a coincidence or our imagination?

John and Stephan's story as poor Irish teenage immigrants who found the "American Dream" in Minnesota by hard work is very interesting. They came to Minnesota in 1850. Stephan is my great-grandfather.
~P. B., Eagan, MN


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