What's in a name?From the Sheldon Theatre to Colvill Park, sites around Red Wing pay homage to landmark descriptions, people, history and events.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
From the Sheldon Theatre to Colvill Park, sites around Red Wing pay homage to landmark descriptions, people, history and events.
The roots of some of these names are more widely known, such as Barn Bluff or the donor that made the Sheldon possible. But others might not be as clear. How did the Cannon River get its title, for example? What about Sorin’s Bluff, or for that matter, its Memorial Park?
Here’s a snapshot of some names in Red Wing and an overview of their origins.
•Sorin’s Bluff: The bluff carries the name of one of the early European settlers to Red Wing. The Rev. Matthew Sorin held services here beginning in the early 1850s. He was a Methodist Episcopal pastor.
Sorin also served on the first board of trustees for Hamline University when the school was located in Red Wing.
Barn Bluff was named by the French in Red Wing, who called it “la grange,” meaning “the barn,” because of its shape. It served as a landmark and guidepost for travelers, including those on the river.
•Memorial Park: The park that covers parts of Sorin’s Bluff is a memorial dedicated to Goodhue County’s soldiers.
The site was purchased by the Goodhue County Soldiers’ Memorial Association, with fundraising help from the Women’s Community association and a donation from former Red Wing citizen William Lawther. The park was dedicated in the fall of 1929.
•Colvill Park: Col. William Colvill led the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. He also served as the state’s attorney general and in the House of Representatives.
Colvill was born in New York but moved to Minnesota. He opened a law office in Red Wing in 1854 and also founded the Red Wing Sentinel and edited the Red Wing Republican.
A section of Highway 19 is named in Colvill’s honor as well.
•Burnside: The Burnside neighborhood used to be Burnside Township, which was organized in 1858.
The township first was known as Union and then Milton, but renamed in 1862 to Burnside. The name honors Ambrose Burnside, a general in the Civil War, politician and apparently the man whose interesting facial hair stemmed the creation the word “sideburns,” originally called “burnsides.”
In 1971, Burnside Township was annexed by the city of Red Wing.
A.P. Anderson Park, Anderson Center: A.P. Anderson was a scientist. He is credited, among other creative and scientific work, with the tasty discovery of how to make puff cereal. He sold the patent to the product to Quaker Oats.
Anderson, whose estate is now the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, also was a poet, teacher and farmer.
•T.B. Sheldon Theatre: One of the more well-known names in Red Wing, the Sheldon Theatre honors Theodore Sheldon, a successful businessman and a Red Wing City Council member.
He gave $83,000 to the city to develop a public institution for “some public benefit but nonsectarian purpose” in the city, according to the organization’s website. In 1904, four years after Sheldon’s death, construction was complete on the auditorium.
The theater started with stage productions. It was converted to a movie theater in the 1930s, but restored again in the early 1980s to house live theater again as well.
•Cannon River : French fur trappers in the area originally named the Cannon River La Riviere aux Canots, meaning “the river of canoes,” according to research from St. Olaf College.
However, a mistranslation of the word “canots” led to the body of water being called the Cannon River.
•Goodhue County The county with Red Wing as its seat was named for James Madison Goodhue, the first printer-editor in Minnesota.
He was born in 1810 in New Hampshire, but moved around and eventually relocated to Minnesota when it became a territory in 1849.
He founded the Minnesota Pioneer, the first newspaper printed in the state. In 1853, the Territorial Legislature decided to honor Goodhue by naming Goodhue County after him, and it stuck.
•Red Wing: Last, but of course not least, the city is named after the Native American Chief Hupahuduta, whose name means “a swan’s wing dyed in red.”
The location had been called several different names, but eventually as settlers moved into the area it became known as Red Wing. The city was incorporated in 1857.