This past weekend, a group of Wright State University Public History Students and one of our professors made the long drive from Dayton, Ohio, to Saint Paul, Minnesota for the Midwest Archives Conference. The conference was great, but I want to talk about the places I saw, not the sessions I attended.
On Friday, some of us decided to go to the Mall of America while we had some free time between planned conference activities in the afternoon. We walked into the mall and were in awe. It is HUGE! We all acted like tourists and were taking pictures left and right. “Look over here! Over there!” In the center of the mall is a decent sized theme park! There are several roller coasters and other rides too! I rode one of the roller coasters… it wasn’t half bad! I mean, it’s no Maverick or Top Thrill Dragster, but it was pretty good! There was also a miniature golf course in the mall. The mall had every store you could possibly think of. It had your typical stores that you see in just about every mall, but even these were not your average store. Like the mall itself, these stores were also huge! As an added bonus to all of this… there is apparently no sales tax on clothing or shoes! Clearly, a few hours here were not enough… but probably good for my wallet!
That night we all went to the Wabasha Street Caves. This was another awesome mini-adventure. The caves are not natural. They were old mining site, but the history of these caves is more interesting than just that. The caves served as a gangster hangout and even a speakeasy during prohibition! There was even a couple of men shot and killed there during its days as a popular hangout for gangsters. I think possibly the best part about this night was that there was a bar set up… we went drinking in an old speakeasy! Ok, so the part of the cave that was the old speakeasy was closed… but it’s still awesome! We all had so much fun! It’s a shame that we were all starting to get pretty tired by this point. Still, I think our adrenaline kept us going. We were going to experience as much as we could in the little time that we had in Saint Paul.