He rated Red Lake County the worst place to live, and now he and his family love living there.

Wednesday evening, the Crookston Public Library hosted Washington Post reporter and Red Lake Falls resident Chris Ingraham, a self-proclaimed “born-again Minnesotan.” He discussed his book “If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now: Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie” and ended with a book signing, selling and signing copies about his journey to loving our little community.

Four years ago, Ingraham published an article, ranking all 3,111 counties in America by how desirable they were to live in. Based on the climate, scenery, weather, and lake/shoreline presence, the entirety of Minnesota leapt to the defense of their state when Red Lake County was named the “absolute worst place to live.” Ingraham said, “The article was published at 9:27 a.m. By 9:42 a.m, the hate mail was coming in.” Pictures of scenery and very polite messages detailing the perks of the state flooded the article and the paper, all trying to prove how wonderful life was in northwest Minnesota.
Now, a visit to the county and several years later, Ingraham is living happily in Red Lake Falls with his wife and three kids. Upon a warm welcome when visiting, he returned back home to Baltimore where his cramped home and horrific daily commute awaited. While searching for a new place to call home, a suggestion by his mother caught on, and nine months after a viral declaration of the county’s last place ranking, he was moving in to a new house in rural Red Lake Falls.

Ingraham denoted in his book talk the topic of the book: his adjustment to Minnesota, the effect on his family, and what he learned from the experience. From hilarious cricket prison breaks to being slowly infected with “Minnesota Nice,” Ingraham details the lifestyle change he encountered. For example: he holds tight to his beliefs of casserole over hotdish, but has fallen prey to the Minnesota virus known as “uff da.”

Chris Ingraham will be at the Red Lake Falls Public Library Thursday, September 26 at 6 p.m. for another book signing, and will be holding a book launch September 27 in Red Lake Falls at The Spot, starting at 5 p.m.