The Minnesota

​Territorial Pioneers

Established May 11, 1897 - Incorporated 1924

Previous Award Recipients

Warren Nelson


Founder, Artistic Director of the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua 


The 2007 Minnesotan of the Year for the Minnesota Territorial Pioneers is Warren Nelson, a songwriter, musician, historian, radio host and a tent show "man of the cloth."

Warren is a native of Fairmont, Minnesota.  Warren, with creative partner Betty Ferris, has led a team of talented musicians, actors, researchers and technicians in the creation of numerous large scale historical musicals since the 1970's.  These "House Shows" are at the center pole of the summer shows of Big Ten Chautauqua in Bayfield, Wisconsin.  Nelson was commissioned by the United States Forest Service for their 2005 Centennial year and performed the show "Centennial Green" at the Jefferson Theater in Washington DC.

In 1998 he led the creation of the 30th star, Wisconsin's Suesquicentennial musical, which toured the Badger State.  He is currently on tour with the Chautauqua troupe with "Old Minnesota: Song of the North Star" written for Minnesota's 150th birthday coming in 2008. 

Minnesotan of the Year

2007 Minnesotan of the Year