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Witness to History

Newsworthy Category

Witness to History: 1926

On this day in 1926, the first transatlantic telephone call was made between London and New York. That same year, Charlotte Farrish, the law office’s namesake, joined the firm and started one of the most celebrated legal careers in the history of Minnesota. First Transatlantic Telephone Call Though France joined to Britain by a telephone cable as far back as 1891, the Atlantic was a far greater challenge. With the state of technology at that time a simple cable link would not work. But the needs of commerce and politics meant that the task would inevitably be mastered. On March...
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Witness to History: 1919

This week in 1919, Congress passed the act that established the Grand Canyon National Park in the state of Arizona. Also in 1919, Sinclair Lewis, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, befriended and lived with J.W. Schmitt, one the firm’s original attorneys. Lewis completed two books, “Main Street” and “Free Air”, while living in Mankato. Grand Canyon President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act on February 26, 1919. President Theodore Roosevelt had declared the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument in 1908. The canyon, Roosevelt said, is “the one great sight which every...
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Witness to History: 1972

On this day in 1972, President Richard Nixon became the first US President to visit China. This weeklong visit normalized relations between the countries. That same year, Harrison H. Schmitt, the great grandson of H.L. Schmitt, the firm’s founder, walked on the moon. He was one of three crew members of Apollo 17, the final mission of the Apollo program. Richard Nixon’s 1972 Visit to China President Richard Nixon took a dramatic first step normalizing relations with the communist People’s Republic of China by traveling to Beijing for a week of talks. This historic visit began the slow process between...
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Witness to History: 2011

This month in 2011, writer and activist Maya Angelou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. In that same year, Scott Kelly and Daniel Bellig were selected by Minnesota Lawyer as “Attorneys of the Year” for their efforts in stopping illegal use of newborn screening blood samples. Maya Angelou During a ceremony on February 5, 2011, President Barack Obama presented to Dr. Maya Angelou the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Angelou is perhaps best known for her 1969 autobiography, about growing up in Arkansas during the Jim Crow era of segregation....
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Witness to History: 2002

This week in 2002, the 19th Olympic Winter Games began in Salt Lake City, Utah. The United States won 34 medals during these Games. Also in 2002, Daniel Bellig began working with Farrish Johnson Law Office. 19th Olympic Winter Games The opening ceremony for the XIX Olympic Winter Games was held on February 8, 2002 where athletes from 78 nations participated in 78 events contested in seven sports, including alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, luge, and snowboarding. The United States set the record for most gold medals at a home Winter Olympics, with 10, tying with Norway at the 1994...
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Witness to History: 1963

This month in 1963, an oil spill from the Honeymead Products Company sent millions of gallons of soybean oil into Mankato streets and the Minnesota River, prompting the creation of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. In that same year, Robert J. Sheran, who worked with Farrish Johnson Law Office 1945-1963, was appointed Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Elmer L. Andersen*. Honeymead Oil Spill The rupture of a soy oil storage tank sent millions of gallons into Mankato streets and the Minnesota River. At that time the Mankato plant was the largest oil-processing facility in the world....
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Witness to History: 1997

This week in 1997 Hale-Bopp, the most viewed comet of the 20th century, crossed Mars’ orbit en route to its closest proximity to Earth later that spring. Also in 1997, Attorney Steve Fink became part of the Farrish Johnson Law Office through a merger with the McLean Peterson Law Firm. Hale-Bopp Comet Hale-Bopp Comet, officially designated C/1995 O1, provided quite the show, being 1,000 times brighter than Halley’s Comet at the time of its discovery. The comet was found independently by two amateur astronomers, Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bopp in Arizona. Hale-Bopp’s last appearance had been about...
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Witness to History: 1945

This week in 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term in office. In 1945, Attorney Henry M. Gallagher returned to the Farrish Johnson Law Office after serving seven years as MN Supreme Court Chief Justice. FDR Franklin Delano Roosevelt, commonly known as FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. He is often rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Roosevelt was born in 1882. He...
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Witness to History: 1893

In 1893 Katharine Lee Bates penned the words of a poem that would eventually become the song, “America the Beautiful.” In Mankato that same year, Harrison L. Schmitt opened a legal practice that would eventually become Farrish Johnson Law Office. Katharine Lee Bates In 1893, at the age of 33, Katharine Lee Bates, on a trip to Colorado Springs, penned the words to what is now known as the song “America the Beautiful.”  Bates originally  wrote the words as a poem, “Pike’s Peak,” first published in the Fourth of July edition of the church periodical, The Congregationalist.  The sites on her...
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