Project:Pseudonymous Minnesota

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Coleman's Pseudonymous Minnesota: The Real Models for Fictional Minnesota Places

I know this topic will seem a tad esoteric to the general public but after 30 years as the curator of the Minnesota Historical Society's book collection I just had to share this list with somebody. The Society has the largest collection in the universe of Minnesota fiction and many of these books create thinly veiled places based on the author's experience with an authentic local place. Some of these disguises are fairly pedestrian, such as William McNally's "Capital City" for St. Paul, but others are wonderfully creative, such as Sinclair Lewis's "Northernapolis" for Duluth. Shown above is the cover of one of Dan Brennan's books in which Minneapolis is called "Cereal City". A perfect sobriquet.

Since it is nearly impossible for any one person to have read all the older Minnesota fiction and crazy making to attempt to keep up on currently published work, a wiki is the perfect tool for completing this job. I appreciate any and all additions and corrections to my list but especially hope that authors will weigh in. No one knows better than the original author what geographic feature in Minnesota is in the back of their head when they write about a place. Thanks in advance for any help.
~~Patrick Coleman


The list so far...

Adrian, MN = St. Ives
(Sonia Gernes The Way to St. Ives. NY; 1982)

Badbattle River = Fishhook River, Park Rapids
(Jon Hassler North of Hope. NY; 1990)

Bemidji = Rookery
(Jon Hassler Rookery Blues. NY; 1995)

Beaver Bay [?] = Bergen
(Edna Hong Wild, Blue Berries. Minneapolis; 1987)

Biwabik = Birora
(Phil Stong Honk the Moose. NY; 1935)

Biwabik [area] = Old Big
(Shirley Schoonover Mountain of Winter. NY; 1965)

Brainerd = Linden Falls
(Jon Hassler North of Hope. NY; 1990)

Caledonia [and a little Harmony] = New Heidelberg
(Jenna Blum Those Who Save Us. NY; 2004)

Cannon City = Metropolisville
(Edward Eggleston Mystery of Metropolisville. NY; 1873)

Cannon River = Big Gun River
(Edward Eggleston Mystery of Metropolisville. NY; 1873)

Carleton College = Courtland College
(Siri Hustvedt The Enchantment of Lily Dahl. NY; 1996)

Cloquet = Mokoman
(Walter O'Meara Minnesota Gothic. New York; 1956)

Cold Spring = Cosmos
(Bill Meissner The Road to Cosmos. South Bend, IN; 2006)

Crispus Attucks Home for Colored Orphans = Peter Salem Home
(Lloyd L. Brown "God's Chosen People" in Masses and Mainstream, April 1948)

Duluth = Valencia
(Claude C. Washburn Gerald Northrop. NY; Duffield, 1914)
Duluth = Fond Port
(Margaret Culkin Banning The Quality of Mercy. NY; 1963)

Duluth = Port Greysolon
(Daragh Aldrich Peter Good For Nothing. New York; 1929)

Duluth = Twin Bridges
(Margaret Culkin Banning Country Club People. New York; 1923)

Duluth = Northernapolis
(Sinclair Lewis "Ghost Patrol" NY; 1946)

Duluth = Grand Republic
(Sinclair Lewis Cass Timberlane. NY; 1945)

Duluth = Lakeside
(Marie L. Nowinson The Legacy of Gabriel Martel NY; 1949)

Faribault = Perritaut
(Edward Eggleston Mystery of Metropolisville. NY; 1873)

Fergus Falls [region] = Pockerbrush
(Herbert Krause Wind Without Rain. Indianapolis; 1939)

Freeport = Lake Wobegon
(Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon Days. New York; 1985)

Frontenac = Old Beauharnois
(William McNally House of Vanished Splendor. New York; 1932)

Glencoe = Minerva
(Mary Sharratt The Real Minerva. 2004)

Glenwood [?] = Boomville
(M. J. Glennon Boomville; A Tale of Western Minnesota. Minneapolis; 1891)

Hopkins [+ Wayzata] = Purgatory Springs, MN
(Mary Grace Chute's "Sheriff Olson" stories in "Saturday Evening Post" 1938-)

International Falls = Frostbite Falls
Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons

La Crescent [?] = Cup
(Mabel Seeley The Whispering Cup. NY; 1940)

Lake City [area] = Vale of Siddem
(Arthur Rogers and Maud Merrill Dwellers in the Vale of Siddem: a True Story of the Social Aspects of Feeble-Mindedness. Boston: 1919)

Linden Hills Neighborhood of Minneapolis= Inspiration for Floral Heights District of Zenith[?] (Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt, 1922)

McGregor = Midden
(Cheryl Strayed Torch. NY: 2006) [see Moose Lake also]

Macalester College = Darton Hall College
(Tim O'Brien July, July. Boston: 2002)

Madelia = Lake Amelia
(Becky Bohan Fertile Betrayal. Northboro, MA; 1995)

Madison [geographically closer to Sturgeon Lake] = Rachael River
(Carol Bly Backbone. Minneapolis; 1985)

Manitou Island = Sherry Island
(F. Scott Fitzgerald "Winter Dreams")

Mankato = Deep Valley
(Maud Hart Lovelace Betsy-Tacy. Ney York; 1940)

Mankato = Welcome
(Maud Hart Lovelace One Stayed at Welcome. NY; 1934)

Marine = Genesis
(James Gray Wake and Remember. NY; 1936)

Minneapolis = Zenith
(Sinclair Lewis Babbitt. NY; 1922)

Minneapolis = Cornucopia
(Sinclair Lewis "All Wives are Angles" in The Cosmopolitan, February, 1943 and three other short stories)

Minneapolis = Indian City
(James Gray Penciled Frown. NY; 1925)

Minneapolis = St. Etienne
(Alice Winter The Prize to the Hardy. Indianapolis; 1905 and Jewel Weed. Indianapolis; c. 1906)

Minneapolis = St. Anthony
(Margaret Culkin Banning Prelude to Love. NY; 1930)

Minneapolis = St. Anthony
(Wanda Fraiken Neff Lone Voyagers. Boston; 1929)

Minneapolis = Cereal City
(Dan Brennan The Velvet Rut. Chicago; 1962. Also in No Sense of Shame.)

State of Minnesota = Winnemac
(Sinclair Lewis Babbitt. NY; 1922)

State of Minnesota = North Isota
(Sinclair Lewis "The Shadowy Glass")

Moose Lake = Midden
(Cheryl Strayed Torch. NY: 2006)

Morgan, MN = Cloten
(Kent Meyers The River Warren. St. Paul: Hungry Mind Press, 1998. Also in Light in the Crossing: Stories. NY: St. Martin's Press, 1999.)

New Ulm = Germantown
(Franklin Elsworth The Bandwagon.)

Northfield, MN = Clarence
(Anne Ursu Spilling Clarence. 2004)

Northfield = Lindbrook
(Beth Kendrick [Beth Lavin] My Favorite Mistake. 2004;
J Grundy's "Rueb ‘n' Stein bar = Roof Rat bar)

Northfield = Webster
(Siri Hustvedt The Enchantment of Lily Dahl. NY; 1996)

Park Rapids = Staggerford
(Jon Hassler Staggerford. NY; 1977)

Park Rapids = Flint
(Will Weaver Striking Out. NY; 1993 and Farm Team. NY; 1995)

Pine Island [?] = Pine Bend
(Squire Littell Pierce Di; A Story. Philadelphia; 1891)

Pipestone = Redstone
(KJ Erickson Alone At Night. New York: 2004)

Pipestone = Harvester
(Faith Sullivan The Cape Ann; 1988. & The Empress of One; 1996. & What a Woman Must Do. 2002)

Pipestone = Rye
(Faith Sullivan Repent Lanny Merkel. 1981)

Plainview = Plum
(Jon Hassler Grand Opening. NY; 1987)

Red Lake = Sovereign Lake
(Jon Hassler North of Hope. NY; 1990)

Red Lake Reservation = Basswood Reservation
(Jon Hassler North of Hope. NY; 1990)

Red Wing = Aile Rouge
(William McNally House of Vanished Splendor. New York; 1932)

Red Wing = Red Owl Landing
(Edward Eggleston Mystery of Metropolisville.

Rochester = Rutherford
(Elizabeth Gunn Par Four. New York; 1999)

St. Cloud = Great Plains, MN
(J. F. Powers Morte D'Urban. New York; 1962)

St. Cloud [?] = Kingston
(Julia Amanda Wood Strayed From The Fold. New York; 1878

St. Cloud = Bracken
(Rebecca Hill Among Birches. NY; 1986)

St. Croix River = North Star River
(William McNally Roofs of Elm Street. New York; 1936)

St. James = Bentley
(Evelyn Voss Wise As the Pines Grow. NY; 1939)

St. John the Evangelist [Portland Ave, St. Paul] = St. Andrew's Church
(Grace Flandreau Being Respectable. NY; 1923)

St. Olaf College = Oslo College
(Elias Rachie Thor's Gold. Minneapolis; 1927)

St. Paul = Beer Town
(Meridel LeSueur "Beer Town" in Life in the United States NY; 1933)

St. Paul = St. Saul
([Ione G. Daniels] A Social Conspiracy; or Under the Ban. St. Paul; 1888)

St. Paul = Capitol City
(William McNally The Barb New York; 1923

St. Paul = New Bagdad
(Elias Rachie Thor's Gold:.. Minneapolis; 1927)

St. Paul = Gilling City
(Mabel Seeley Listening House. NY; 1938

St. Paul = St. Pierre
(Margaret Culkin Banning Spellbinders. New York: 1922)

St. Paul = Columbia
(Grace Flandreau Being Respectable. NY; 1923)

The Saint Paul = Columbia Hotel
(Grace Flandreau Being Respectable. NY; 1923)

Sauk Centre = Joralemon
(Sinclair Lewis The Trail of the Hawk. NY; 1915)

Sauk Centre = Gopher Prairie
(Sinclair Lewis Free Air. New York; 1919 and Main Street. New York; 1920)

Stearns County = Mist County
(Garrison Keillor Pontoon. New York; 2007)

Stillwater = North Star
(William McNally Roofs of Elm Street. New York; 1936)

Stillwater = Hamilton
(Ann Chidester Young Pandora. New York; 1942)

Stillwater = Riverport
(Neil S. Boardman The Long Home. NY; 1948)

Summit Avenue = Crest Avenue
(F. Scott Fitzgerald "The Crack-Up". NY; New Directions Pub. Corp., 1945)

Swanville = Lake Eden
(Joanne Fluke's "Hannah Swensen" mysteries such as Key Lime Pie Murder. 2007)

Taylors Falls = Cooper's Falls
(Thomas Gifford The Wind Chill Factor. NY; 1975)

Thief River Falls = Twin Forks, Minnesota
(Gary Paulson Winterkill. NY:Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1976)

Twin Cities = Vernon
(Sinclair Lewis "The Shadowy Glass" [and many other short stories])

Two Harbors = Twin Harbors
(Emma L. Brock Then Came Adventure. NY; 1941)

Two Harbors = Good Harbor
(Edna Hong Wild, Blue Berries. Minneapolis; 1987)

University of Minnesota = Chippewa University
(Wanda Neff Lone Voyageurs. Boston; 1929)

Wayzata [+ Hopkins] = Purgatory Springs, MN
(Mary Grace Chute's "Sheriff Olson" stories in "Saturday Evening Post" 1938 - )

White Bear Lake = Black Bear Lake
(F. Scott Fitzgerald "Winter Dreams")

Willmar = Conorra
(Eileen Davis Happiness Around Her: A Tapestry of Youth. NY; 1947)

Winona = Hoosac
(John Bellairs The Treasur of Alpheus Winterborn. NY; 1978 and The Dark Secret of Weatherend. NY; 1984)

Winona = Woodard, MN
(Marjorie Dorner Blood Kin. NY; 1992)

Winona = Holton
(Marjorie Dorner Nightmare. NY; 1987)

Fictional Minnesota Places With No Real Place Reference

(According to the Author)

Berrington, MN
(Jon Hassler North of Hope. NY; 1990)

Flame Lake
(Lorna Landvik Your Oasis on Flame Lake. NY; 1997)

Nokomis, MN
(James Gray Shoulder the Sky. NY; 1935)

Tall Pine, MN
(Lorna Landvik The Tall Pine Polka. NY; 1999)

To Be Determined

? = Little Horn, MN
(Neil S. Boardman The Wine of Violence. NY; 1964)

? = Placid Lake, MN
(Carol Brink Stopover. NY; 1951)

? = Westcott
(Marguerite Murphy Patricia From New York. Boston; 1925)

Lewis's Wakamin

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