It’s the end of an era (OK, decade), which means it’s time to honor what was the tens. Here, we present our top 10 stories from our archives, including a James Beard Award–winning essay about Northern food, a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a retelling of Minnesota’s infamous Glensheen murders and more.
In 2018, the North had a food moment. It was a moment that looked from the outside like a discovery, but from the inside, as all discoveries do, like what has always been. Northern food was and is about four fundamental things: the constraints of northern latitudes. The blessings of fertile soil. The proximity of woods and water, and their wild yield. And the arrivals of people from somewhere else who decided to stay. But of course, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Ailing Duluth heiress Elisabeth Congdon was smothered in her bed and her nurse bludgeoned to death on a sweeping staircase overlooking Lake Superior in June 1977. On the 40th anniversary of the stranger-than-fiction crime, Joe Kimball — the newspaper reporter who covered the story as it unfolded back in the seventies — gives the inside scoop on this whodunnit.
Bob Dylan has never much cared for homecomings. You don’t leave town, drop out of college, change your name and not look back for more than half a century if you do. An eternally restless soul, the musician has always found his home somewhere down the highway. And on his never-ending tour of life, Minnesota never stood a chance at winning him over.
Lake Minnetonka has had its fair share of grand dames, among them Eleanor Jerusha Lawler Pillsbury, Grace Bliss Dayton and Louise Heffelfinger Bell. As the wives of successful men, these women wielded significant influence with wit, charm and intelligence. They shared many interests in which they delighted: the arts, fashion, travel, sports, philanthropy, and of course decorating and tending to their equally fantastic mansions.
Music writer Andrea Swensson visited Prince’s Paisley Park enough times to know the routine: turning off her cell phone, walking through the gate and up to the stark white building, catching a glimpse of the Purple Rain motorcycle in the lobby, standing in awe of the larger-than-life purple plush furniture. But one evening was different. It was the 30th anniversary of the Purple Rain soundtrack release, and Swensson was invited to a private celebration with the Purple One himself.
All along the upper portion of the Brule are the summer homes of well-to-do families who have been faithfully vacationing here for at least four generations. Some of the most moneyed names in the North can be found on this river: Congdon, Drake, Ordway, Rand, Weyerhaeuser. Each family has its own sprawling riverfront estate with spectacular views of rushing water and sky.
It was the go-go eighties, and United States v. Rubin captured all the flavor of the decade. One of the defendants, 37-year-old Bill Rubin, drove a late-model Lamborghini and wore tinted aviator glasses and diamond signet rings. Another defendant, Janet Karki, was a 50-year-old frosted blonde with exquisitely painted nails. Their federal court case had it all: sex, money, intrigue.
In the world of sports, no athlete has been more mysterious than Aaron Rodgers. The typically tight-lipped Green Bay Packers quarterback opened up to Artful Living special contributor and award-winning sportscaster Michele Tafoya on a wide range of topics, from his spirituality to his legacy to his personal relationships with girlfriend Danica Patrick and predecessor Brett Favre.
People still wear pressed tennis whites and go yachting. There are still women who call themselves “Babs.” But many of the Twin Cities’ private country clubs have changed, particularly since the Great Recession. Which is not to say there aren’t real benefits to joining. If you want to tee off with Minnesota’s most powerful players, you will still find them at “the club.”