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MSP Mag: A Tour of a Forgotten Minneapolis Murder Scene

By Drew Wood
Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine

The Infamous Harry Hayward (Shawn Francis Peters)On the evening of December 3, 1894, a 29-year-old dressmaker named Kittie Ging met her untimely end along the northwest shore of what was at the time Lake Calhoun (and now officially called Bde Maka Ska). Ging was taking a buggy ride, which she did not particularly want to take, in the company of Claus Blixt, a hardscrabble Swedish immigrant, who perhaps wanted to be there even less. Nerves calmed by a pint of whiskey, Blixt raised another man’s pistol and shot Ging through the head—the sound of ice skaters and revelers echoing from across the frozen lake. Blixt pushed Ging from the buggy, abandoned the rig, and slunk into a nearby saloon. 

Meanwhile, downtown, Harry Hayward—the man detective William Pinkerton would dub “one of the greatest criminals the world has ever seen”—sat at the opera with a lady friend. He was unmoved by the dominoes he’d set in motion—gleeful, in fact. Within a week, both Blixt, the patsy triggerman, and Hayward, the golden boy who’d put him up to it, sat awaiting trial for murder.

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