In Minnesota: Birthday Bash for a Native Son

Every 15 or 20 years someone with a note pad and pencil arrives in Sauk Centre, Minn., and asks cosmic questions: How's it goin'? What's the mood? Whither America? These visitations have been going on since 1920, when a native son named Sinclair Lewis published a best-selling satire called Main Street about a town he dubbed Gopher Prairie, which no one ever seriously doubted was inspired by Sauk Centre. Gopher Prairie was drawn as smug, suspicious and stuck in its ways, and that was a liberating vision for a newly urban America about to plunge into the jazz age. Main Street...

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