|Birdseye view of Hastings, Minnesota|
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(Waaaaiiit a second, Ruger. How did that steamboat get under that bridge?)
Hastings is on U.S. Route 61 -- a road that for many reasons looms large in the American experience. As one of the principal routes for migration of African Americans north, it held (at least in the many delta blues songs I've heard from the time) the promise of escape, of mobility; it took on some rather magical qualities in song.
Bob Dylan, a Minnesota native, tips his hat to this importance, and acknowledges the river connecting his home state to the delta, with his album Highway 61 Revisited.
(One of these days I'm going to write something called ”Roads Americans should appreciate more than punk-assed Route 66". It may have to be split into three volumes.)
For more maps and images from this period in the region's history, visit the Minnesota Historical Society.