Does water really only flow out of Minnesota — not into it?

A peculiar factoid tucked into an old official highway map of Minnesota has stuck with Mike LaFave for many years: water only flows out of Minnesota, but not into it.

LaFave spent 20 years on the road working for a labor union, often driving between Minnesota and Washington, D.C. The more time he spent behind the wheel, the more unusual it seemed that no rivers flowed into his home state.

“In all these other states, water is flowing in from every which way,” said LaFave, who is now retired. “And it just stayed with me, that we were kind of the center of the water universe for North America.”

He asked the Star Tribune to explore the oddity as part of its Curious Minnesota project, a community-driven series fueled by inquisitive readers.

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