Ever heard of Nininger, Minnesota? Its founders had high hopes for the now ghost town in Dakota County. By the spring of 1858, about 1,000 residents had settled in the community near Hastings.
Most of them arrived there because of one man, Ignatius Donnelly, a quirky Minnesota Congressman, writer, publisher and amateur scientist. On this date, Dec. 1, in 1856, Donnelly published the Emigrant Aid Journal to entice newcomers to Nininger, his version of a utopian community.
On a brisk, windy day earlier this week, MPR's Cathy Wurzer caught up with historian Annette Atkins at Donnelly's modest gravestone in Calvery Cemetery in St. Paul. They talked about Donnelly, who Atkins said was a man who always dreamed big.