Winner:Theodore F. Koch

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Winning Nomination

During his 25-year career as a colonizer and real-estate developer in Minnesota, Theodore F. Koch sold in excess of 1,000,000 acres of land in more than a dozen counties to immigrants from many nations, including the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Koch formed a vital link in the economic network that channeled cash from European investors into the state during the 1880s, 1890s, and 1900s. These investments provided much of the capital that created literally thousands of farms in every corner of the state. Koch, who served as vice consul of the Netherlands in St. Paul for about fifteen years, personally knew and linked politicians and financiers to common farmers. These alliances and his connections with steamship companies and railroads on both sides of the Atlantic, helped create Minnesota's rich cultural mosaic in settlements stretching from Askov in Pine County to Clara City in Chippewa County and Prinsburg in Kandiyohi County all the way to Lake Wilson in Murray County. Theodore F. Koch was truly one of the unsung heroes who made Minnesota the unique place it still remains.
~Robert Schoone-Jongen, Grand Rapids, MI

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