Speaking to an auditorium filled with hundreds of listeners, as well as the Minnesota Public Radio audience, Keillor discussed the history of St. Paul and the importance of local history for gaining insight into the experiences of the majority of everyday Americans.
“History is local. Everything has to take place somewhere, and if you write a book about the broad cultural sweep, it’s bound to be two-thirds fiction.”
Describing the development of St. Paul from the small settlement of Pig’s Eye to the metropolis that was home to railroad magnates and famous authors, Keillor painted a vivid portrait of two hundred years of Minnesota’s past. Our local and family stories are central to the national story, he emphasized, and “history” is not just what makes it into the textbooks.
“… he found out that an enormous story was taking place nearby that he had no idea was happening at the time.”