RAMSEY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

St. Paul, Minnesota

RCHS Scenes

Home  ●  About Us Gibbs Museum Events & Exhibits Research Center ●  Magazine & Books Membership Support

 


 RAMSEY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

RAMSEY COUNTY HISTORY
INDEX

dingbat1

The following is a brief index with summaries of Ramsey County History, the award winning quarterly magazine published by the Ramsey County Historical Society. 

The best and most cost effective way to get this publication is to become a member of the Ramsey County Historical Society.
The magazine is a benefit of membership along with free admission to the Gibbs Museum.
To become a member, or to learn more click now!


Individual copies may be purchased from the Society's Research Center for $9.00  
email
research@rchs.com 

You can view back issues by
visiting our Research Center

Special thanks to Paul D. Nelson and Steve C. Trimble for summarizing each article in our index!

To search within this page click EDIT in the top left hand of your tool bar choose FIND form the drop down menu. Enter the topic or word you are interested in and click FIND NEXT  until an item you are interested appears.

 

Volume 47, Number 3

 

Hands-On Historian:

Ethel Hall Stewart and Preserving the Gibbs Farm

By Steven C. Trimble

On an October day in 1954, the Gibbs farm museum opened to the public, thanks to the efforts of Ethel Hall Stewart.  Stewart’s love of history and belief in hands-on education was the impetus for the preservation of the farm and the blossoming of the current day Gibbs Museum of Pioneer & Dakota Life.  Moving to St. Paul as a child, Stewart grew up in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood and later returned as an adult with her husband and family, where she became deeply involved in local church activities and in community history.

 

The Center of the Universe for Car Buyers:

University Avenue Dominated the Local Automotive Scene for Fifty Years

By Peter B. Meyers

“University Avenue was the place to go to get your car,” recalls Pete Latuff, whose father and uncle opened Latuff Brothers Auto Body at 880 University Avenue in 1933.

A fascinating and photo-rich account of the role University Avenue once played in the retail auto industry, The Center of the Universe for Car Buyers takes readers for a cruise down the avenue, beginning from the early days of car sales around the teens of the 20th century, until recent decades.

 

Growing Up in St. Paul

University Avenue: Then and Now

By Joanne A. Englund

Looking back on memories of University Avenue mixed with current observations: traffic accidents; the beat of the author’s father, a St. Paul police officer; patronizing local movie theaters, drugstores, and ice cream shops; passing by buildings that still grace the avenue but are now home to new occupants; and the transition from streetcar rail to motorized traffic and then back to newly built light-rail along University Avenue.

 

A School to Remember

St. Joseph’s Academy: The Legacy Lives On

By Mary Jo Richardson

From its days in a log cabin on the Mississippi in the 1850s to its eventual closing in the 1970s as a legendary institution situated in a grand estate of property in the heart of St. Paul, St. Joseph’s Academy, or SJA, is a rare school that lives on in the hearts and minds of its alumni and community. 

“Imagine – just imagine that the high school you graduated from closed its doors forty-one years ago.  Would you still be active in the Alumnae Association, serve on the board or committees, raise scholarship money for students of other high schools, or help prepare the regular newsletter to send to alumnae members?  It’s not too likely, but there is a school where this is happening.”

 

Volume 48, Number 1

 

Rooted in Community

One History of Service:  The Guild of Catholic Women and Guild Incorporated

By Hayla Drake

 

In 1906, out of concern for the welfare of new immigrants in their community, a group of women from St. Luke’s Catholic Church began the Guild of Catholic Women (GCW) attempted help meet basic needs with distributed clothing and food baskets.  GCW later formed the Travelers Aid Bureau in order to expand the range of services by providing temporary shelter and loans to newcomers who did not yet speak English.  Before long the GCW had extended yet again, and became nationally known as a resource for women in the community in need of shelter and work.   A century has seen GCW turn into Guild Incorporated, which provides services ranging from housing assistance to health care and mental health treatment to a wide spectrum of clientele in Ramsey County.

  

 

A Monument to Freedom, a Monument to All: Restoring the Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller Memorial in Como Park

By Colin Nelson-Dusek

 

From 1907 onwards, a bronze sculpture of Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller has reigned over the Gateway to Como Park.  Despite its longtime & ubiquitous presence, little in the way of historical information has been revealed about this creation of German artist Ignatius Taschner, and, until recently, even less had been carried out in the way of preservation of the statue after over a century of being exposed to the elements.  Nelson-Dusek’s story shows how all of this changed in late 2012, with an initiative from St. Paul Parks and Recreation to restore this historically significant work of art.

 

Her Sky-high Career Started Here

Aviation Pioneer: Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie

By Roger Bergerson

 

From the introduction: “Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie (1902-1975) was the first woman to do a lot of things in American aviation: hold a federal pilot’s license; fly over the Rocky Mountains in a light plane; and serve as a top government aeronautics official.  But on this Sunday in July 1921, she was just eighteen-year-old Phoebe Fairgrave, standing on the wing of a plane high over Snelling and Larpenteur Avenues in Rose Township, ready to attempt a world parachute jumping record for women.”

This fascinating tale follows aviatrix Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie throughout her St. Paul childhood to her first adventures in flight, to an aviation career that encompassed stunt flying, disaster aid, pilot training, and more – with highs and lows along the way.

 

Volume 47, Number 4

Preserving a “Fine Residential District”
The Merriam Park Freeway Fight
by Tom O’Connell and Tom Beer

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, planning for the construction of the vast interstate highway system across the United States included an exit from Interstate 94 at Prior Avenue in St. Paul along the projected route connecting downtown St. Paul with the center of Minneapolis. Residents of St. Paul’s Merriam Park neighborhood formed a lasting community organization, the Merriam Park Residential Association, led by J. Douglas Kelm and Fr. Francis J. Gilligan, to fight the construction of this particular exit. This article analyzes the position of the Minnesota Department of Highways, represented by Deputy Commissioner Frank Marzitelli, and various local groups who wanted the exit built along with the arguments from the anti-exit supporters. It then explains how in 1961–1962 Merriam Park residents successfully fought the construction of the exit by enlisting the help of Archbishop William Brady and several well-connected political leaders, who negotiated a settlement of the dispute. This was one of the few times that a local community group was able to materially alter federal highway plans in a significant way.

 

Helping the Sun Shine Brighter for Farmers

Robert Freeman on Mount Ramsey

By Harlan Stoehr

 

2013 marks the centennial of extension work in Ramsey County, beginning with Harry G. Krum’s appointment as county agricultural agent. At the time, Ramsey County was the eleventh Minnesota county to employ such an agent, being home to over a thousand farms.  Freeman, who carried on through the agricultural slump of the 1920s, the Great Depression, World War II, and the transition of Ramsey County’s rural spaces into suburbanization, has left behind first-hand accounts of his work and of the times, gleaned from annual reports left behind in in the county barn on White Bear Avenue.



“Cold Blooded Fraud”
The White Bear Lake Sewer Project of 1926–1935
by James Lindner

In the mid-1920s, the city of White Bear Lake occupied a relatively remote portion of Ramsey and Washington counties in Minnesota, but its population was growing and city leaders decided that they needed to replace outmoded septic systems with a municipal sewer system. In the process of making these improvements to its infrastructure, the city learned that in addition to the tax money needed to pay for this project, it also needed professional engineers to plan and oversee the work and a competent contractor to install the system properly and make sure it functioned as planned. Construction began in 1926 and was not completed until 1929, but litigation over the problems and shortcomings of the project lasted until 1935.  

Volume 46, Number 4

From Boom Times to the Great Depression
Two Stolpestad Men in St. Paul Real Estate, 1886-1936
James A. Stolpestad
This is a story about a Norwegian immigrant to St. Paul in 1884 who went on to make a modest mark for himself in local real estate and unwittingly began a family real estate tradition that continues to the present day. In his time, he did not build any lasting edifice or change the skyline, although later family generations would do both. Hew was not part of the Old Stock establishment that ruled early St. Paul or the German cohort that challenged the existing business order. Instead, he probably was a stereotypical Norwegian: unassuming, hardworking, and from a farm family; yet educated and adventurous enough to have crossed the north Atlantic three times in steam-powered sailing ships in the 1870s and '80s.

At Home and Abroad, St. Paul's Own Impresario Cut a Swath
How Nettie Snyder Put the City on the Musical Map
Roger Bergerson
When Enrico Caruso and the stars of the New York Metropolitan Opera Company took the state at the brand-new St. Paul Auditorium in the spring of 1907, the arias soared ane so did civic pride. "The great building was filled for every performance and the audiences made a brave display in the way of costumes and jewels," the St. Paul Dispatch enthused. "The assemblages were representative of the whole Northwest-representative of its riches and of its culture."

Louis Hill to Henry Ford: "No Deal!"
Henry Ford and the William Crooks
Brian McMahon

Henry Ford was born and raised on a farm and always preached the value of the rural life and character. Ironically, his Model T automobile (first produced in 1908), more than anything, was responsible for the migration of farmers to the city and the transformation of an entire culture. This conflict between Ford's stated goal of preserving the agriculture world he had known and the result on the ground must have added to Ford's unresolved inner turmoil.

This issue also includes the 2011 Donor Recognition Annual Report which can be downloaded in PDF form here.

Volume 46, Number 3

Gone But Not Forgotten?

The Survival of Outdoor Sculpture in St. Paul
M
oira F. Harris
Outdoor sculpture is challenged by vandalism, theft, climate extremes, urban redevelopment, pigeon poop, neglect, and changes in taste. Although a sculpture seems more permanent than a mural, due to size and weight, it can be just as ephemeral and easy to harm. As the 2008 Fall Report of Public Art St. Paul said: Whether works were made of bronze and stone to speak of history , heritage and heroes; whether they were shaped in steel or wood in abstract expression of beauty; whether they comprise entire landscapes or structures for our exploration and discovery, public artworks speak to us of who we are. They deserve our care.

A Different Sesquicentennial
Remembering Fredrick McGhee
Paul D. Nelson
On October 28th of this year, I paused to reflect that Fredrick McGhee was born on that date 150 years ago. I remembered him that day because I admire the man so much, and because, as his biographer, I feel a personal connection to him.

Growing Up in St. Paul

The West End Neighborhood of the Thirties and Forties
Douglas R Heidenreich
Somewhere, probably in a shoebox filled with curved, faded, brittle pictures shot about seventy years ago on a Kodak Brownie camera, I have a short letter from Gerhard Bundlie, a lawyer who was the mayor of St. Paul in the early nineteen thirties. The letter, on official mayor's-office stationary, congratulates my parents on the birth of a son who had been born on February 29, 2932. That was me.

Living la Vida en Ramsey County
A Journey through Ramsey County's Mexican Past
Leila Renee Albert
On September 22, the Ramsey County Historical Society opened an exhibit in its gallery space in the Landmark Center focused on Ramsey County's Mexican past titled Living la Vida en Ramsey County. The curator of the exhibit is Leila Renee Albert with assistance from Jose Anaya and Mollie Spillman, Ramsey County Historical Society curator-archivist. In addition to the various exhibits, the gallery includes a map of St. Paul's West Side that highlights a walking tour of the District del Sol and its colorful and varied works of art that express the neighborhood's Mexican culture and heritage.

Book Reviews
Crystal Clift Memorial Insert

Volume 46, Number 2

From Thomery to “The Anchorage”

The Larpenteurs and Their Journey to St. Paul
Michele Murnane

A Garden Inspires a Community
With Style, Grace, and Pride: The Gardens at the
Minnesota Governor’s Residence
Karine Pouliquen and Lori Schindler

Growing Up in St. Paul

The Rondo Years, 1948–1950
Susanne Sebesta Heimbuch

 

Ramsey County History,  Volume 46, Number 1

 “A Gentle, Kind Spirit Whose Life Was Art”
Jean Sanborn Gross: Artist, Painter, and Printmaker
Eileen R. McCormack
The article looks at the life of Jean Sanborn Gross, the daughter of Helen and Judge John B. Sanborn Jr. Jean Sanborn Gross grew up with an aesthetic perspective that she nurtured by attending the St. Paul Gallery and School of Art, where she studied drawing and printmaking.
Like what you saw at the exhibit and article ? Buy a limited edition giclees print.

For the Good of Order
The ad Man Becomes the "Senator from Ramsey"
John Watson Milton
Mr. Milton shares the story of Nick Coleman, the former Minnesota State Senate majority leader. Coleman enjoyed a long career, starting first with his grassroots campaign that included phone banks and lawn signs, which helped defeat another longtime, Irish Catholic senator. This article features a recipe for the time-honored political fundraising meal-booya!



Ramsey County History,  Volume 45, Number 4

“We Can Do Better with a Chisel and a Hammer”

Appreciating Mary Colter and Her Roots in St. Paul

Diane Trout-Oertel
The article examines the career of Mary Colter, a St. Paul-born designer and architect who learned her craft here, taught at Mechanic Arts High School, and later moved west to design buildings and interiors for the Fred Harvey Company at the Grand Canyon. The article traces Colter’s ties with the Arts and Crafts movement and the integration of Native American traditions in her designs.

Growing Up in St. Paul
Louis and Maybelle: Somewhere Out in the West

John W. Larson

Mr. Larson evocative view of his aunt and her husband who where proprietors of a nightclub hotel in a Montana boom town, which flourished during the construction of the Fort Peck Dam.

 “Write Us in Your Own Way”
A Tombstone from the Sears Catalog

Janice R. Quick
The article highlights the process of buying a tombstone from none other than Sears, Roebuck.

 What Readers Are Saying about
The Dutiful Son,
Louis W. Hill, and Glacier National Park



Ramsey County History,  Volume 45, Number 3

"It Was Like Living in a Small Town”
Three St. Paul Neighborhoods That Worked: Dayton’s Bluff, Payne Avenue, and Arcade Street in the 1940s and ‘50s
Steve C. Trimble
The three neighborhoods that abutted the industrial complex on St. Paul’s East Side developed as the city broke out of downtown. At first they had had a mixture of prosperous families, a strong presence of middle-class residents and a large number of working-class households. Each of them had a strong presence of immigrant groups, whose composition changed over time. The people in the area started a variety of churches and institutions to serve their special needs.

The residents faced hard times during the 1930s Depression, but the job base was expanding even in those days. During World War II and the decade after, good jobs became plentiful and the neighborhoods became predominately blue- collar enclaves. The largest employers were 3M, Hamm’s Brewery, and Seeger/Whirlpool, and the creation of labor unions at their plants was an important part of the story. There were also many smaller sources of employment.

During World War II, a majority of the companies shifted to the production of goods for the military and many women joined the workforce. People strongly supported recycling campaigns and put up with shortages and rationing. Schools also joined in the effort with scrap and paper drives. The 1950s brought changes as the housing aged, people moved away, and the small businesses suffered from the competition of chain stores.

 Once There was a Street Called Decatur
Paul D. NelsonThis is the story if a small street that was perched on the western edge of Swede Hollow in the East Side of St. Paul. It had been laid out in the 1850s but the first buildings did not go up until the early 1880s during the city’s population boom. The article is an attempt to recreate the streetscape, which was destroyed in the 1930s so that a new extension of Payne Avenue could be completed.

The author tried to find out as much as possible about the people who lived there. The 1895 state census showed nineteen households, many of whom took in boarders, and a total of 142 people. A majority of them were immigrants and many of the men were railroad workers or general laborers and there were also many tradesmen, such as butchers, teamsters, and carpenters. Widows and unmarried women were often domestics, seamstresses or worked in laundries.

The author uses the census and city directories, maps and some stories by people who lived there. Because the city took photographs of the houses that were torn down, there is a good visual record of the street. There is an interesting sidebar from Ralph Yekaldo who wrote his reminiscences about Decatur Street and the surrounding area.

Ramsey County History, Volume 45, Number 2

"He Had a Great Flair For Color"
Louis W. Hill and Glacier Park
Biloine W. Young and Eileen McCormack

The article is an excerpt from two chapters of The Dutiful Son: Louis W. Hill; Life in the Shadow of the Empire Builder, James J. Hill, published by the Ramsey County Historical Society. Louis Hill was born in St. Paul in 1872 and after graduation from Yale in 1888 went to work for his father’s railroad. He was made the president of the Great Northern in 1907. But Louis was more than just a businessman. He was a romantic, a dreamer, a painter and an outdoorsman. One of his premier projects was the development of Glacier National Park.

 Working behind the scenes, Louis helped persuade the U.S. Congress to establish Glacier National Park in 1910. Because the Hill family’s Great Northern Railway tracks ran along the southern boundary of the park, Louis knew the railroad could increase passenger traffic if visitors could be encouraged to travel to the park. Louis hoped to entice Easterners to explore the grand vistas in Montana using the slogan “See America First.” Hill supervised almost all of the details of the tourist hotels he constructed. Since a section of the park was also in Canada, alcohol could be legally purchased at the Prince of Wales hotel in Waterton during Prohibition. As part of the development of Glacier Park, Hill bought some land from the Blackfoot reservation. Although he was at times patronizing about the Blackfoot, Hill seemed to get along well with the Native American population and gathered Indian artifacts. He hired prominent painters and authors to draw and describe Glacier Park.

"A Rented House Is Not A Home"
Thomas Frankson: Real Estate Promoter and Unorthodox Politician
Roger BergersonThomas Frankson, a real estate developer, oil land speculator, and often successful politician is no longer well known. However, his house near the western entrance of Como Park with its two concrete lions is easily recognized. He was originally from southern Minnesota, where he was a successful real estate salesman and a member of the state’s House of Representatives. He moved to St. Paul in 1913 and plunged into real estate development, starting with a one hundred-twenty-acre tract on the western edge of Como Park. He coined the phrase “A rented house is not a home” and took out frequent ads in newspapers. At the same time, he began building a home of his own on Midway Parkway with a backyard that included buffalo and other exotic animals. A sidebar detailing the history of the house is included. Although Frankson was not officially a member of the Non-Partisan League, he shared many of its radical perspectives. He also renewed his political career and ran a successful campaign for Minnesota’s lieutenant governor. In 1920 he made a run for governor, but failed badly and left politics. He platted out several other St. Paul neighborhoods before his death in 1939 from a suspected heart attack.

A Saint Paul Chronicle: The Return of the "Black Maria"
Maya J. Beecham
A short article based on an excerpt from a letter written by Bernard M. Schorn, Jr. whose grandfather drove the “Black Maria.” This was a name given to the workforce vans that transported convicts from the courthouse to the city workhouse at Lake Como. The horse-drawn vehicle was purchased in 1897 and used until replaced by an automobile sometime between 1914 and 1920. It was sold to a local politician and then was transferred to a Florida museum in 1953. Two decades later an Ohio collector bought it at an auction. The article then details the efforts by various St. Paul police and others to buy it back. The original “Black Maria” returned to St. Paul on January 21, 1986, and is now housed at the city’s Western District police office on Hamline Avenue.



Ramsey County History, Volume 45, Number 1

They Played for the Love of the Game
Adding to the Legacy of Minnesota Black Baseball

 Frank M. White
Based on a Ramsey County Historical Society exhibit, this article reveals the untold story of some of the local baseball players who struggled to overcome racial indignities and gain recognition for their abilities. There is some material on the national scene and while there was no Negro Leagues team in Minnesota, many African Americans played on integrated teams. The state did have several semi-pro black clubs prior to World War II. Some of the local legends included Bobby Marshall, Billy Williams and Toni Stone, a legendary woman player. Negro Leagues teams did sometimes barnstorm and play in St. Paul in the 1930s through the ‘50s. Although the end of Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947 with the singing of Jackie Robinson was welcomed by many African Americans, it started the demise of the old Negro Leagues. The article contains a list of local players and other African American players, such as Willie Mays, who were in the state’s minor league system on their way to the majors.

"Good Grief!" Said Charlie Brown
The Business of Death in Bygone St. Paul
Moira F. Harris & Leo J. Harris
This article outlines the views of death and funeral customs in the nineteenth century, drawing heavily on the archives of the Albert Scheffer family. It examines a variety of contemporary customs and also gave information on the prominent German family whose items were researched. At the time, there was often a funeral cortege in which family and mourners would accompany the deceased to the cemetery and, if they were prominent, there might be police units and bands. The subheading give a good idea of the illustrated topics covered: Sympathy and Flowers; In the Undertakers Shop; Wooden Overcoats (coffins); Embalming, Dressing and Moving of the Dead; A Dying Art (tombstones); The Cities of the Dead (cemeteries); Funeralia; and Then and Now.

Ramsey County History Volume 44, Number 4

Recollections of Cathedral Hill
A Glimpse of Old St. Paul from an Up-and-Down Duplex on Holly Avenue
Mary Reichardt
An owner of 444 Holly Avenue in the Cathedral neighborhood tells the story of her home. Allen John Sovereign, a railroad man, moved to St. Paul with his family and built the house in 1913. It was a grand duplex designed in a modified Arts and Crafts style. Relative Harry Dow and his family lived upstairs. His grandson George, who lived there for over thirty years, provided much of the information for the article. His impressions include memories of Harry Dow’s involvement in movie theaters and the close knit neighborhood and kid’s entertainment. There are short biographies of some of the prominent area residents including Adelaide Enright and her involvement with Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1951 the house was sold to Cecil and Emmy Lou Reed and some of their stories were told.

Part and Parcel of a great Cause
The St. Paul Society for the Hard of Hearing
Kristen Mapel Bloomberg & Leah S. McLaughlin
After giving information on social clubs and organizations in the late nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, this article focuses on the group that worked with deaf and hard of hearing people. Two separate organizations were merged in 1936 into the St. Paul Society for the Hard of Hearing. There are short biographies of the board members as well as an explanation of the organizational structure and various committees. Details are given on some of the daytime and evening meetings and the strong focus on the learning and use of lip reading, drama club, movies and other activities.

Growing Up in St. Paul
The CCC, Flying Hands, and the Armistice Day Blizzard
Norman C. Horton Sr.
Norman Horton’s family moved to St. Paul at the onset of the Great Depression eking out an existence and moving often. After graduation, Horton ended up with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), starting in northern Minnesota. He describes the bitterly cold weather and the hard work. He was finally able to get a good job at the Ford plant and tells how, during this time, he experienced the wrath of the legendary blizzard of 1940. He and his family eventually moved to 2186 North Rice Street near Highway 36, where he started a successful auto parts and repair shop.

Ramsey County History Volume 44, Number 3

The 1924 Junior World Series
The Saint Paul Saints’ Magnificent Comeback
Roger A. Godin
Starting in 1920 the winners of the two “high minor” baseball leagues began to  their own world series. It was a time when the smaller city teams played strong, independent entities whose play was close to the quality of the major leagues. The St. Paul Saints were among the strongest but had been beaten at the event  in 1920 and 1922. In 1924 the Junior World Series (JWS) opened on October 2nd, a “best of nine” battle between the Saints and the Baltimore Orioles. The October 4th game had a record crowd of 10,000, went thirteen innings and was called because of darkness, since the stadium had no lights. When the series shifted to St. Paul, Baltimore was one game away from victory and the locals had to win three in a row. They won the first two and then 6,000 people watched the decisive game at Lexington Field, a great come-from-behind victory for the Saints. There is a sidebar on the composition of the St. Paul team.

 St. Paul’s Biggest Party
The Grand Army of the Republic’s1896 National Encampment
Moira F. Harris and Leo J. Harris
After the Civil War there had been annual “Grand Army of the Republic.” national conventions or “encampments” in many different cities. Between August 3rd and September 4th, 1896, the thirtieth of such events came to St. Paul and an estimated 150,000 people attended. The author explains some of the history behind Memorial Day, the custom of decorating graves at that time and the origins of the GAR. St. Paul’s Acker Post, with its 600 veterans, was host for the 1896 encampment. The hotels were packed, people invited veterans to stay in their homes, several churches and colleges offered sleeping cots and the city set up a free tent city at Dale Street that accommodated 4,000. There were parades, a “living flag” made up of children wearing red, white and blue clothing, a number of “triumphal arches,” an “army day” at the Winter Carnival and exhibits at the State Fair Grounds.

 Growing Up in St. Paul
The Mispacha on Texas Street
Nathalie Chase Bernstein
“Mishpacha” is Hebrew word for family, and this article looks at the story of the author’s Jewish family from Lithuania. They came to St. Paul and in the late 1890s started a scrap iron business. When they became a little better off than other West Side residents, they left “The Flats” and lived on Eaton Avenue. There are descriptions of the many small stores and groceries, selling eggs, skating, attending Lafayette School, and the effects of the Great Depression.

Ramsey County History Volume 44, Number 2

Pith Heart and Nerve

Truman M. Smith: Horticulture as the Way Back
Barry L. & Joan Miller Cotter
The second article on Truman Smith--the first was in the Fall, 2008 issue. This one tells how, after financial difficulties and economic crash in the 1850s, he transformed himself into to a successful market gardener in St. Paul. Smith’s “Fruit Garden” was located in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood and he was involved what is now called “fringe farming.” Part of Smith’s goal was to convince outsiders that fruits as well as vegetables could be successfully grown in Minnesota’s northern climate. As such, he kept careful records of all his experiments.

Using correspondence, newspaper accounts and census data, the authors describe his experiences, successes as well as troubles as he bought and sold nursery trees, made wine and sold at the Farmer’s Market. He seems to have been content with his new role and he made a decent living at the endeavor. His philosophy of “ethical mutuality” led him to become involved in the Grange Movement.

Food for a Good Life
John J. Ryan and the Minnesota Growers Association

Mary Jo Richardson
This article, written by his granddaughter, is the story of J. J. Ryan who made his mark both on the state and nation as a spokesman for retail grocers. He was born in 1863 and came to St. Paul in the late nineteenth century. Ryan started out as a grocery clerk and eventually became a partner in the business. He was a founder of the Retail Clerk’s Union and even when he became part of the Retail Grocers Association, was involved in the labor movement. In 1892 Ryan was elected president of the St. Paul Trades and Labor Association.

Ramsey County History Volume 44, Number 1

Minnesota Politics and Irish Identity:

Five Sons of Erin At the State Capitol
John W. Milton
The author, a former state senator, researched the five men of Irish extraction who are honored in the State Capitol. The first is “The Senator: Nicholas David Coleman (1925-1981)” a St. Paulite who served eighteen years in the legislative body and helped strengthen its role. Next was “The Populist: Ignatius Donnelly (1831-1901)” who was born in Philadelphia, he settled south of St. Paul in Nininger, and was a third-party politician and writer. Next, “The Archbishop: John Ireland (1838-1918)” an immigrant from Ireland who eventually became known throughout the country. “The Governor: Andrew Ryan McGill (1840-1905)” was raised in Pennsylvania, settled in Nicollet County, and became a Governor and author. The last is “The General: James J. Shields (1810-1879),” who settled in Faribault, and was a Civil War hero. The author then compares and contrasts the similarities and differences among the men and looks at the stories of their descendants.

 

St. Paul Underground:
History and Geology at Carver's Cave
Greg Brick
This is a survey of the history of St. Paul’s legendary Carver’s Cave from the time of its first visit by Europeans to the present day. The geologist Greg Brick discusses the changes to this spring-cut cave over time. Using contemporary accounts by various explorers and visitors, the author focuses on the changes at the cavern. The natural sliding of rocks and dirt covered the entrance from time to time and then railroad construction dug into the front of the landmark. The article ends with Carver’s Cave in current times, when Brick did his own exploring there.

 

A 4-H Trail Blazer:
Clara Oberg and the Ramsey County 4-H
Harlan Stoer and Helen Hammersten
When Clara Oberg, who had lost her family farm, was hired by the 4H in March, 1928, there were only sixteen clubs with around 200 members, but under her leadership there were 1200 young people a decade later. By WWII there were clubs in all twenty-eight rural school districts. The Ramsey County agricultural society was reorganized in 1911 to support the county extension service and to promote county fairs. She stressed junior leadership, sports teams and recreational activities. Oberg nurtured the organization through the lean times during the Depression and started a successful newsletter. During the war they had scrap drives and supported one-hundred-eighteen acres of victory gardens. Oberg was forcibly retired in 1953 after twenty-five years of service. The 4H did not hire another full time agent.

Ramsey County History Volume 43, Number 4

Courthouse Sculptor: Lee Lawrie
Paul D. Nelson
A look at renowned sculptor Lee Lawrie who designed the exterior artwork  for the New York Rockefeller Center and  the St Paul City and County Courthouse. His specialty was architectural sculpture or, so to speak, carving on buildings. Lawrie was born in Prussia in 1877 and came to the United States four years later. He learned his trade in Chicago and with Eastern artists. Like others, he dealt with the development of skyscrapers and how adornment could fit into vertical spaces. One of his first major projects was the Nebraska State Capitol, which rejected the usual neo-classical style.

He was hired to be the sculptor for the St. Paul courthouse, which also was a modern structure. Lawrie departed from the suggestions of the public commission that was set up to help plan the building. The article discusses the two entrance panels on walls and exterior details. Lawrie felt that his artistic goal was not to express himself but to express the purpose and function of the building and called his work “modern mural sculpture.” There are sidebars on Lawrie’s works around the country and other area architectural sculptures.

Stanford Newel, Proposal  Rock and Newell Park Windows: Newell Park Celebrates its Centennial
Krista Finstad Hanson
This article was timed to help Newell Park celebrate its hundredth anniversary in 2008. It starts with the early history of the land, which had been bought and sold often in the 1880s. Hamline Village, which included the university, was annexed into St. Paul in 1885. William Marshall bought the area at Fairview Avenue and Pierce Butler Road and platted it out. It included a frog pond that Hamline students often visited, sometimes to court.

Newell Park Improvement Association was started in 1912 and, among other things, successfully pushed for the erection of a pavilion in 1929. A strong booster club was formed in 1932. There is information on its architecture and reports on the uses of the park over the years. The site faced a decline after WWII, but there were still activities and meetings. In recent years the pavilion was restored and the windows were un-bricked There is also a sizeable sidebar on Stanford Newell. The author is a member of the Hamline Midway History Corps, which has done a great deal of research on the neighborhood.

Growing up in St Paul
The Teen Years at Our Lady of Peace (OLP)
Susanne Sebesta Heimbuch
This article focuses on memories of a schoolgirl starting in 1959. She came from St. Mark’s Grade School into a much larger Our Lady of Peace (OLP), a high school with a thousand students. She did well and became an honor student track. She lost a good friend because the nuns said to stay with others in the college tract trying to “dainty-fy” her. There were memories of events, such as her first dance at St. Thomas Academy and the mother-daughter teas. There is some information on the family’s life, including coping with a father who had a drinking problem. Susanne and her friends partied in each other’s  houses and took a memorable trip to New York and the East Coast. Heimbuch worked part time at St. Luke’s rectory houses to get spending money. There are reminiscences of the OLP junior prom at which hemlines were measured to insure modesty. The author also attended the Cretin High School officer’s ball. There is a three-page sidebar on Our Lady of Peace’s High School building and what happened to it after the institution closed.

Ramsey County History Volume 43, Number 3

Pith Heart & Nerve
Truman M. Smith: From Banker to Market Gardner
Barry L. & Joan Miller Cotter
According to the authors, Truman Smith did not give up in the face of a major economic collapse in 1857, but instead showed resilience and used “pith, heart and nerve” to survive in frontier St. Paul. He came to the city in 1851 with little money but in a few years had opened a bank. His wife and child came a bit later from Wisconsin, traveling in a private carriage.

Smith’s anguish when the economy crashed is shown through quotes from his letters to family and friends. He frantically tried to find financial support from Eastern sources and had success for a time, but soon was overextended. His bank failed, and he continued to struggle to keep their heavily mortgaged home on the crest of Dayton’s Bluff. He was able to keep it for a time by putting the ownership in his wife’s name. Unfortunately, she died of tuberculosis in 1864 and the fight was over. His somewhat opulent life style was reduced to struggle to maintain subsistence. He turned a horticultural hobby into a means of support. Smith grew splendid vegetables, fruit trees and flowers and managed to make a decent, if not comfortable living. There is a sidebar of St. Paul real estate mania of 1856.

 Growing Up In Saint Paul
Random Recollections of Grace Flandrau

Horace Blair Flandrau Klein
This is the memories of a nephew of Grace Flandrau, who was called  “Aunt Geese” by most of the youngsters of the family. He remembered her as having a strong “sense of presence” and never seemed to be flustered. He visited her from time to time and then spent two weeks as a paid chauffer to drive her around the state in her green Packard as she wrote about Minnesota for Holiday Magazine. Even though the trip was during the summer,  Grace always wore a suit even on hot days. There were visits to factories and conversations with many people, but Klein felt she seemed to live on another plane. He never saw her after their tour, as Flandrau became somewhat of a recluse, partly because of ill health

"Mr. Livingston...Had the Tenth"
An Episode in Minnesota Railroad Building

John M. Lindley
On October 3, 1883, the Minnesota Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case of James H. Weed et al. vs. Little Falls & Dakota Railroad et al. One of many railroad cases of the era, the case resulted from  an  argument  over who would profit over the building of the LF&D line. One of the vital findings was that that Henry Villard, president of the Northern Pacific Railroad had agreed to pay Crawford Livingston one-tenth of any profits made from the sale of the LF&D to the Northern Pacific. The article examines how one nineteenth century Minnesota railroad was financed by asking several questions—how Livingston came to play a behind-the-scenes role in the financing; what his participation tells us about who profited and who lost in this railroad deal; and why the court ruled as it did. Details of the court case and the people involved are covered. One group wanted the court to issue an injunction to stop the issuance of bonds secured by the railroad’s stocks. The railroad and the bridge across Mississippi at Little Falls were completed and full service began on November 1, 1883. The courts found that Livingston had successfully brokered a deal between Colonel William Crooks and Henry Villard and as a result deserved to a share of the profits.

Ramsey County History Volume 43, Number 2

Strike for Better Schools
The Saint Paul Public Schools Teachers' Strike of 1946

Cheryl Carlson
The story of the first teachers’ strike in the country carried out by 1,165 St. Paul educators. The background causes included the lack of support for public schools, partly because around a third of all students were in parochial schools. At that time the city ran the schools and for decades there had been had low per capita financing. The students had to buy their own textbooks. Along with allies, the teachers tried earlier to get amendments to the city charter to reform the situation, but they were all defeated. The separate Men’s and Women’s Federations gave notice of their intent to strike and November 25th pickets appeared in front of the school buildings. The City Council finally agreed to support an amendment to separate school finances from the city budget and, after the charter commission agreed, the teachers returned to work on December 28, 1946. The charter changes were passed in 1947 and a school board was soon established. The historic strike  had a national impact There is a sidebar on Mary McGough and Lettisha Henderson, two of the important Federation leaders.

Our Courage and Cowards
The Controversy Surrounding Macalester College's Neutrality and Peace Association, 1917

Emily Skidmore
When eighty students sent a petition to Woodrow Wilson in support of neutrality from the World War, Macalester found itself enmeshed in what became national controversy. The students formed a large Neutrality and Peace Association. Professor James Wallace, the president of the college, was part of the group, but switched his views after the country declared war. Most of the state newspapers attacked the students. The author believed that the power of gender as a cultural motivator was important and examines the masculine and feminine language that was used to discuss the war. As soon as the country officially entered the war, even the students changed their attitudes and many of them enlisted, some of whom never returned.

 Growing Up In Saint Paul
Love in Bloom

John L. Relf
This is an excerpt from the author’s book My Life,  published in 2007. Relf was born in 1927 and first lived on Portland Avenue near Fairview. He graduated from Central High School, entered the Army and later went to the University of Minnesota for a business degree. Relf describes his courtship and wedding, an apartment on Grand Avenue and purchasing a lot near White Bear Lake, where they built a new home in Pine Tree Hills addition. The author covers summer vacations, relations with friends and neighbors and working at 3M as well as his interest in politics and involvement in city council meetings.

Ramsey County History Volume 43, Number 1

From Swede Hollow to Capitol Boulevard
Bethesda Hospital Celebrates Its 125th Anniversary (1883–2008)

Dr. Donald B. Swenson
A survey of the Bethesda Hospital as it celebrated its 125th anniversary. At the start, the institution dealt primarily with Swedish and Norwegian clients. Initially located near Como Lake, it admitted the first patient in 1883. There is some information on Swede Hollow and Lower Town. The old Upham residence became the new hospital in 1892 and there soon was a training school for nurses. Pastor-administrators were in charge in the early days but as time went on more professional managers emerged. There is also an exploration of rules for patients, money needs and other matters. The organization started building a new hospital on Capitol Boulevard in the early 1930s. There are biographical items on some of the prominent physicians and nurses who served at Bethesda

 Growing Up In Saint Paul
When Selby and Snelling Had a Life of Its Own, 1943–1954

Bernard P. Friel
The author, who was born in 1930, lived in a three-generation home at 1237 Selby. His first real job was at Park Drug Store at Selby and Snelling and lasted eleven years. He also worked on a railroad dining car. Friel went to Central High School where he participated in sports and other  activities. He wrote of O’Gara’s Bar, working at Park Liquor Drug and Liquor and gives a description of the corner and its great activity. There are memories of the big fire of 1947. In his adult years he became an attorney.

 A Whirlwind of Crimes
The Crimes and Times of Wonnigkeit and Ermisch

Janice R. Quick
The story of two friends who ran around together and ran afoul of the law together. Both were of German ancestry. They were first arrested for burglary in 1892 and were sentenced to the St. Cloud Reformatory. When they got out, they jumped parole, went on a crime spree, and then killed a bartender in a downtown saloon. Wonnigkeit’s attorney defended him saying he was destroyed by alcohol, but the jury convicted them. A petition to commute the death sentence was signed by many prominent people who are mentioned. Aged nineteen and twenty years old, they were hanged together on a single scaffold in the Ramsey County jail on October 19, 1894 and were buried next to each other in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Ramsey County History Volume 42, Number 4

Tommy Milton "St. Paul's Speed King"
Steven C. Trimble
    See Tommy Milton Images
While he is rarely remembered except by sports historians, “St. Paul’s Speed King” Tommy Milton was one of the most prominent race car drivers in America during the early years of the Twentieth Century. He was the first person to win the Indianapolis 500 twice. Milton lived with his family on Dayton Avenue and attended Mechanic Arts High School. He became fascinated with racing first with motorcycles and then, around 1913, turned to automobiles. He toured with a barnstorming show, then worked with the Duisenberg Company. It was at this time he met Jimmy Murphy, who was his mechanic and then a racer himself. After a strong friendship, the two had a major fight that turned into a long feud. His first surprising win was at the 1921 Indianapolis race. He married and lived to California, but often visited friends and relatives in St. Paul. He won the race again in 1923. In 1924, his old friend Jimmy Murphy died in a crash and Milton‘s grief was deep. He soon decided to quit racing. However, he remained in the world of cars, worked for the Packard Company and was the chief steward for the Indianapolis event. He died of self-inflicted gunshots in 1962  and now rests in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Labor Found a Friend
W.W. Erwin for the Defense
David Riehle
Known as “The Northwest Whirlwind” or “The Tall Pine,” William Wallis Erwin was an accomplished defense attorney. Even though he was respected throughout the country as a champion of underdogs, he is little known in the city where he lived. Born in 1842, Erwin arrived in St. Paul in 1870. He was a splendid orator, often quoting classical writers, and became a favorite speaker at local labor events. He became nationally famous when he successfully defended the strikers who were arrested during the 1893 Homestead Strike by using a “justification defense.”   One of his greatest moments was being the lead defense council for Eugene V. Debs and the members of the American Railway Union after the turbulent 1894 Pullman strike. Although he ably defended Debs, the case was lost. He became a hero of the labor movement and was made honorary member of several union locals. Erwin moved to Florida in 1900 and died there eight years later.

Ramsey County History Volume 42, Number 3

Clara Baldwin and the Public Library Movement in Minnesota
Robert F. Garland
Clara Baldwin was the state librarian from 1900 to 1936. She lived almost all her life in St. Paul and was part of a turn of the century movement to establish public libraries throughout Minnesota. She became the director of the division of libraries and interacted with many local educational groups. One of her innovations was the traveling local library. Partly because of her efforts new library buildings started to appear throughout the state.

Baldwin traveled widely, gave summer institutes, and was active in the World War One effort by establishing soldier’s libraries. She struggled with the economic problems of the Depression. She retired in 1936 at age sixty-five. Baldwin never married lived with her parents and later in a series of apartments then with her sister. Baldwin suffered a stroke in 1949 and died two years later.

Creating a Diocese
The Election of Minnesota's First Episcopal Bishop

Ann Beiser Allen
By 1857, there were nineteen Episcopal churches in Minnesota, several others that were forming, and 400 members, many of them leaders in their communities. As required by the national body, there was, in September, 1857, a meeting in St. Paul at which a diocesan constitution was drawn up and approved. The election of a bishop was postponed but happened on June 29, 1859 at St. Paul’s Church located at Olive and Ninth. A deadlock occurred and neither of the two local leaders could be elected. Finally a long-shot named Henry B. Whipple was supported by several people who knew him and he was elected. Whipple had been successful as an organizer and fundraiser in New York and Chicago, where he was then located. As it turned out, he did a fine job in his forty-two years heading the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Whipple is also well known for his support of Native American causes. The article discusses the differences between the more formal “high church movement” and the Low Church” group often called the evangelical party.

Frogtown's Arundel Street
James R. Brown
Driving through the old neighborhood brought back memories to the author while looking at the Edmund Street home where he lived in the 1920 and 30s. One of his recollections was about climbing up a ladder and breaking his arm when he fell. Another was sharing the back seat of the car with bossy sisters. The family car took him on trips to look at downtown store windows, Como Park and Phalen Lake, Ft. Snelling and Minneapolis. The author goes into details on making friends and often dealing with prejudiced whites at school or in the neighborhood. A lengthy part of the work tells the tale of getting one of his sister’s prize marbles back from a bully. He did it by teaming up with “Tomboy,” an athletic girl who won it back by arm wrestling. James Brown, a poet and playwright, concludes the article with a section entitled “Learning about Life,” hearing about the troubles faced by African Americans throughout the country while he shined shoes at a barber shop in the Rondo neighborhood. He described the barbershop education as “candid and brutal,” usually learned from railroad workers who shared their experiences. It changed his “happy-go-lucky” outlook on life to one that included an understanding of prejudice after learning “the shocking truth about what being black truly meant here in these United States.”

Roseville's "Lost Son" Honored
John M. Lindley
A follow up to an earlier article on early Roseville resident Benjamin Rose. He died while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, but his body was never returned. Until recently it was unclear where his remains were buried. Thanks to Pat Hill and Cindy Rose Torfin, it was proved that he was among the 2,500 unknown soldiers buried in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They also convinced the Veterans Administration to approve funding for a headstone and the cemetery to donate the plot. Benjamin Rose now has a cemetery marker in the Soldier’s Rest section of Oakland Cemetery placed on August 11, 2007.

Ramsey County History Volume 42, Number 2

Minneapolis and St. Paul Stumble-
Henry Ford Wins the Struggle for the High Dam
Brian McMahon
See online exhibit

There were two early Ford plants in the Twin Cities—one in Minneapolis and another on University Avenue in St. Paul. Henry Ford was a big promoter of hydroelectric power, so he wanted to locate plants on navigable rivers. The building of  Dam Number one on the Mississippi launched a big debate over its financing. There was a Municipal Electric Company that wanted to operate it. St. Paul wanted to work with Ford to create an industrial area in 1923. Ford announced plans for an assembly and manufacturing plant in St. Paul, Minneapolis wanted to block the plan. Business leaders didn’t want a “socialistic” plan for a municipally owned facility. Ford visited the Twin Cities and the Federal Power Commission agreed to let Ford have the franchise. There was also a fight between industries that wanted dams with a high drop for power and barge haulers who wanted shallow, slow rivers. A single large dam for the hydroelectric plant was launched in 1924.

The Bishop Jade Books and the St. Paul Public Library
Billie Young
The article revolves around a local library “mystery.”  It began in April 22, 1915, when a candy store located in the Market House building caught fire. It spread to the second story which housed the St. Paul Public Library with its 158,000 books. Two men among the watching crowd of 25,000 that resolved to save the “Jade Books” that were inside. They were part of a rare edition written by a man named Bishop, who was fascinated with the gem had given the tome to the library. They ran through smoke and succeeded in carrying out the heavy tomes. Since only 100 copies of the books were ever made, the mystery is how St. Paul ended up having one of them. The story of his decision to put the books together on his deathbed is told. He made a list of all the institutions he wanted to have the books. St. Paul got number twenty-seven, but to this day no one knows why.

Growing Up in St. Paul   Memories of Dayton Avenue in the 1950s
 Susanne Sebesta Heimbuch,
In August, 1956, the parents and five siblings of the author moved to 1795 Dayton. Their parents had been attracted to the parish by St. Mark’s no-tuition policy. They all took time inspecting the neighborhood and roaming the nearby woods. At the time Suzanne was eleven years old and has vivid memories of the community and the school girls in navy blue jumpers and white blouses. She writes about a variety of things, including Sister Dorinda, her sixth grade teacher, wondering about the facts of life and Ed Gein jokes. One frequent activity was reading comics at the drug store. She eventually moved on to Our Lady of Peace for high school.

Ramsey County History Volume 42, Number 1

The Jews of Fourteenth Street Remembered
Gene Rosenblum
Gene Rosenblum’s grandparents, immigrants from Lithuania, moved into the Fourteenth Street neighborhood in 1907. This heavily Jewish community was comprised several streets in the shadow of the State Capitol. It had two synagogues, a community center and many grocery stores and bakeries. The residents were fairly prosperous, at least compared to those of the West Side Flats. Many of the earliest Jewish residents were peddlers or small businessmen. They started arriving in the early 1880s, fleeing persecution in Russia and were different than the earlier Jews who had come to the city. Topics included the schools, social activities and changes in the Fourteenth Street community. The construction of the I-94 freeway in the 1960s wiped out the remnants of the community. The article includes a large number of rarely seen family photos.

The William and Carrie Lightner Residence at 318 Summit
Paul Clifford Larson
William Lightner was a prominent St. Paul attorney for fifty years. He dabbled in politics and was a big supporter of history. Born in Pennsylvania, he came to this city in 1878, married and initially lived in a duplex. As the family grew, it built a home at 318 Summit Avenue. It was created by a young Cass Gilbert, the third of his designs erected on the fashionable street. Like many people at the time, Lightner dealt in real estate. He had been successful, but was not yet well known publicly and often struggled financially. The author goes into detail about the architecture of the 1894 house and his choices of material. The article ends with a short history of those who lived in the house in later years.

The Forgotten Fate of Roseville's First Child,
Benjamin Rose
Patrick Hill & Cindy Rose Torfin
This is a portrait of Isaac Rose for whom Roseville, Minnesota is named. He was born in New Jersey, journeyed west, married and joined the army. He would later farm in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. He and his family arrived in Minnesota in 1843 and first settled on the banks of the Mississippi River. The area eventually became part of Rose Township. Isaac’s sons Benjamin and Gideon followed the family military tradition and both enlisted in a Civil War regiment and were part of the Army of the Cumberland. In one battle     Benjamin helped a wounded Gideon off a battlefield. Unfortunately, Benjamin Rose would soon die of typhoid fever. Gideon recovered and fought in many other battles and was with Sherman in the taking of Atlanta and the famous march to the sea. He lived the rest of his life in St. Paul and along with another brother, Henry, is buried in the Soldier’s Rest in Oakland Cemetery.

 
Ramsey County History Volume 41, Number 4

"If It Can Be Manufactured From Wood, We Can Make It"
A History of the Villaume Family and the Company They Built

Steve Trimble
In 1847, Joseph Villaume, a Frenchman, arrived in St. Paul and his two nephews joined him joined him in 1873. One of them, Eugene, landed a job as a woodworker with a local company and in 1882 he and his brother opened a box-making company on the West Side. Eugene and his family lived in a small house on the river flats. The company, which started with beer boxes, soon diversified into other wood products and Eugene also dabbled in real estate. The second generation of the Villaumes continued the business and started producing fancy millwork. The company survived the Great Depression. Another generation took the business through World War II and the changes during the postwar era. The big flood of 1952 had a widespread, but short-term effect. There were financial problems in 1954 and Grandson Robert Linsmeyer took over, bringing in truss production and introducing new technology. His son Nick Linsmeyer carried Villaume Industries, as it is now named, into its fourth generation and oversaw a move to Eagan. There is a full-page sidebar on the family’s ownership of land in Cuba.

"A Great Experience"
Villaume Builds Gliders in World War II

John M. Lindley
German troops used gliders in May 1940 and the Americans decided to use them too. They didn’t want to use already existing airplane manufacturers and wanted to minimize the use of scarce metal. The gliders were made of wood, fabric, and a bit of steel. They would be hauled into the air by motored aircraft. Glider pilots had minimal control of the “flying coffins,” as some soldiers called them, because these aircraft were unpowered. Northwestern Aeronautical Corporation (NAC) of St. Paul received a contract to build CG-4A gliders in 1942. NAC hired Villaume Box and Lumber Company as a primary sub-contractor to build wooden wings and cargo floors. Villaume employed a large number of new workers, many of them women to build gliders. A high level of precision was required, since all 70,000 parts in each glider had to be interchangeable with spares. Each CG-4A glider held thirteen soldiers and equipment. The U. S. first used gliders July 9, 1943, in the invasion of Sicily. Subsequently the Allies employed gliders at Normandy on June 6, 1944, and in Holland in September 1944. The biggest glider operation was the assault across the Rhine River on March 24, 1945.

An Encounter at Kaposia
The Bishop and Chief
Leo J. Harris
In July, 1839, there was a meeting of two men at Kaposia during a time of cultural change for the Mdewakanton Dakota who lived there. Their leader at the time was Wakoyantanke (Big Thunder) commonly called Little Crow III (1765-1845). Pierre Mathias Loras was the first Catholic bishop for the area and was interested in converting them, which led to his visit. When they met there were speeches and an exchange of gifts and tobacco. Loras baptized 226 people at the meeting. Some of the Bishop’s letters have survived and tell of Dakota daily life and their conflicts with the Ojibwa. There is some information on Protestant ministers. Loras never returned to Kaposia. Big Thunder traveled to Washington for treaty negotiations in 1837. The author relates a variety of circumstances that provide an insight into the times.

Ramsey County History Volume 41, Number 3

A Little Known Railway That Couldn't: The St Paul Southern

John Diers
The St. Paul Southern Electric Railway, an obscure “electric interurban,” was built to connect the Twin Cities with several southern Minnesota cities. This form of mass transit was developed in other parts of the United States, but came late to Minnesota. It opened on November 17, 1914, and went as far as Hastings, which hailed its arrival. While there were plans to connect with Rochester and other sites, the line went no further. Unfortunately, casual riders, commuters, salesmen and fishermen never provided enough revenue to meet expenses. In its best years the line barely broke even. The increasing popularity of cars and use of bus travel was impossible to overcome and by July, 1928 the company’s assets were sold for scrap. The article includes an interesting personal reminiscence of a woman whose father was a motorman for the Southern Electric.

The 1894 Pullman Strike in St. Paul and the Death of Switchman Charles Luth
Greg Proferl
The 1894 Pullman Strike had a major impact on the country and on St. Paul, a union and railroad town. Eugene V. Debs, the leader of the American Railway Union (ARU), came to St. Paul in April, 1894. At the urging of union officials, many bars, restaurants and many boarding houses refused to cater to the “replacement workers” hired by the railroads. On July 14th, two railroad representatives were trying to convince a Lower Town woman to take in scabs as boarders. One ARU striker named Charles Luth interfered and was shot to death by Charles Leonard. St. Paul’s working people were outraged, Luth was given a huge funeral but Leonard was  found not guilty of murder at a trial.

The article goes on to a more in-depth look at the status of unionism in the 1890s, the Pullman Strike and its effect on the country and St. Paul and the local relations between labor, capital and the Catholic Church. According to the author, the events of 1894 set the stage for an era of compromise and negotiation between business and organized labor. There is a sizeable sidebar on labor supporter Reverend Hermann Fleer.

Memories of Frogtown in the 1930s
James R.. Brown
Poet and playwright James Brown relates vignettes of the life of his family in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood during the 1930s. It was a community that was a mixture of public schools, churches, bars and gambling houses, with a diverse group of inhabitants. Brown draws a delightful portrait filled with interesting stories of the people he met as an African American child in a predominately white community. He lays out his neighborhood and school experiences—some of them positive and some of them not. There is a short description of the nearby Rondo neighborhood that was the heart of the African American business and residential area at the time.

The main thrust of the story begins on the day of his birthday one August day when he expected a party, but instead was taken on a drive with his father, hoping to go to a movie. It was the first time he was allowed to wear long pants and felt proud as he met neighborhood characters, visited a nearby family, played catch and spent time at a barber shop. He watched and listened as the men talked, played dice and checkers and was worried about how long his father was taking. It turned out there was a surprise party waiting for him as well as the new bicycle that he had been hoping to get. It was a great lesson in understanding, realizing his father knew what he was doing all along and how much love there was in his family.

Ramsey County History Volume 41, Number 2

He was Mechanic Arts”
Mechanic Arts High School,
The Dietrich Lange Year, 1916-1939

John W. Larson
While this article features Dietrich Lange--educator, naturalist and writer--it gives biographical information on several other teachers as well as several Mechanic Arts High School students who became prominent. Roy Wilkins, for instance, became a national civil rights leader. He was encouraged to develop his writing skills by Mary Copley, who background and career are outlined. Dietrich Lange became principal of Mechanic Arts High School in 1916. In 1921, there were 1,500 students with diverse backgrounds. It had college-bound tracks as well as commercial classes and art and shop classes.

Creative writing and the publication of a school magazine to display the work of students was a primary goal at the school. Future U. S. Supreme Court justice  Harry Blackmun experience in the writing classes is explained. There is information on Lange’s upbringing in a strict German family. When they moved to St Paul in 1887 he soon started teaching. He became a nationally-known author and lecturer on nature studies. Mechanic Arts’ proficient sports figures are given room along with other important teachers. Lange’s last years finish the article.

"Dreams of the Immensity of the Future"
Crex Carpet Company Revisted

Paul D. Nelson
Online Extra:
Michael O'Shaughnessy Manuscript
See more Crex photos
This short article is a follow-up on an earlier piece by the author, published in the Winter, 2006 issue. It was prompted by the discovery of an unpublished manuscript written by Michael O’Shaughnessy, the founder of the American Twine Grass Company, later known as Crex. The fifty page document was provided by O’Shaughnessy’s great-grandson provided a lot of new information about the major St. Paul manufacturing company.

Fighting Billy Miske
The Heart of a Champion

Paul Picard
St. Paul was known for its champion boxers, even before the sport became legal in the city, and bouts had to be  fought outside the state. Miske, “the St. Paul Thunderbolt,” was the son of German immigrants. He ran a car dealership that was barely profitable. Miske learned that he had a chronic kidney disease; however, he still needed to box to provide for his family so he trained at home to conceal his poor health. Against doctor’s orders he went into the ring for over thirty fights. One of his last ones was against the new champion Jack Dempsey. Although he fought valiantly, he lost in the third round. By the end of 1923, Miske was too sick to train; however, he still needed money. He fought in Omaha and won a sizeable purse that helped him have a large Christmas for his family. The next day he called his manager to take him to the hospital. He died on New Year’s Day, leaving behind a wife and three children. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Volume 41, Number 1

Mary Hill's Lowertown, 1867-1891

Eileen McCormack
Mary Mehegan Hill lived most of her early life in St. Paul’s Lower Town and was there with her husband, James J. Hill from the time of their marriage until  they moved to Summit Avenue in 1891. Her family was surrounded by prosperous families in the block located between Ninth, Tenth, Wacouta and Canada streets. The Hills were very close, both geographically and socially, to three other families-the Gotzians, the Uphams and the Schurmeiers. They had close interactions over many years even after moving away. The men and James J. Hill. had many common economic and social shared activities.

The core of this article is based on diaries kept by Mary Hill, starting in 1883 and continuing, with a few gaps, until 1921. They are a record of her daily activities and information about her family; however, they contain few introspective thoughts. The author supplemented the writings with information from the Hill Papers, census records and city directories.

The article looks at the institutions of the neighborhood--groceries, churches, and specialty retail. The children were taught at home in the early years and often played in nearby Lafayette Park. Shopping, cultural activities, work and worship were most often undertaken within walking distance.

Mary’s household chores and dinners and other activities are detailed. She was active in the church, especially with charitable activities, and supported St. Mary’s Home for Girls  and the Catholic Orphan Asylum. The article covers the changes to the community that were brought by railroad construction. There is also a sizeable sidebar on the Church of St. Mary.

Lowertown: Another Perspective
David Riehle
Fire insurance maps are valuable resources that can reveal some of the patterns of economic class. For instance pink coloring on the plats is reserved for stone and blue for frame homes. The Hills, Gotzians and Uphams were socially active with each other, but mingling of the classes was common as people usually walked to stores and neighbors houses. The area surrounding the Hills home included boarding houses and several saloons. City directories give the names and occupations of residents. There was even a significant mixture in churches. The social differentiation would develop later.

St. PaulUnderground
Stahlmann's Cellar: The Cave Under the Castle
Greg A. Brick
Bavarian-born Christopher Stahlmann opened his brewery in St. Paul in 1855 on Fort and Oneida streets in the West Seventh area. By the late 1870s it was the largest brewery in the state. Its lagering caves were carved into the sandstone twenty to thirty feet below the surface. In time, icehouses were replaced with mechanical refrigeration that could be scientifically controlled. After Stahlman died, the brewery went bankrupt and Jacob Schmidt bought it in 1900. When he died a decade later, Adolf and Otto Bremer took over and built  Schmidt’s into one of the leading regional beer producers. They made it through prohibition by selling soft drink and near beer. In the late 1930s  Schmidt’s was thought to be the seventh largest brewery in the country.

The second half of the article describes a trip through the caverns by the author and caving friends in November, 1999. It graphically describes the “sewer slime” the smells of the brewery, crawling through pipes and finding evidence of earlier people who passed through. Surprising rats as they traveled, the group came out of the Fort Road sewer. They went again after the brewery had closed for good to see if that changed things. The cave was much drier and cooler and in the absence of brewery waste the cave life had disappeared. There are eight photos of the underground areas.

Growing Up in St. Paul
Stranger in a Strange Land: A Culture That for a Child Was Foreign and Alien
Bernice Fisher
Bernice started kindergarten at Scheffer School in 1933. The later shift to St. Adelbert’s School changed her in ways her parents had not anticipated. It was their child’s first introduction to Polish people, their church, culture and language. Most of the sisters were immigrants and the students greeted them in Polish. The Polish language was a required subject, but they also had English grammar, ad learned to write both in ink. The preferred learning by rote, the children all wore uniforms and days were very regimented. Boys and girls were separated in the classrooms and even on the playground. The teaching was almost always by the question and answer approach. The school and church also had a large number of Polish dinners and dances.


Volume 40, Number 4

'The Greatest Single Industry?'
Crex: Created Out of Nothing 

  Paul D. Nelson
See more Crex photos
The American Grass Twine Company was the fifth largest employer in St. Paul in 1903 and its largest manufacturing industry, with nine hundred employees. The company was based on taking wire grass, which grew in peat bogs, and was a plentiful, cheap resource that could be twisted to create twine, fabric and wicker. The company bought an old cordage enterprise and added new technology, such as  “bog shoes” and a new type of bailer which made gathering the grass easier. It quit making binder twine and entered new markets for home furnishing by making chairs, couches, and tables and had almost 400 products. Carpets were one of their mainstays and Crex rugs were light and easy to clean. Business soared as did the number of employees, many of them women. Things went awry with the arrival of cheaper materials and Japanese imports undersold their products. By 1931, it was over and the company went bankrupt. There is a sidebar about life in the wire grass harvest camps.

My Years at the Andahazy School of Ballet
 Sandra Snell Weinberg
At the age of eleven, the author took her first lessons at the Andahazy School of Classical Ballet located at 1680 Grand Avenue. She was thrilled and read all the books she could find on dance. The Andahazy teachings were based on classical Russian ballet. Mrs. Andahazy was a disciplinarian and the first American girl to be accepted into the Ballet Russe. Weinberg remembered the full-length mirrors in the studio and in the 1950s and dance concerts at Northrup Auditorium. Many of the students went to camp Ballet Borealis in Northern Minnesota. Many of her recollections are of blistered feet,  lessons in applying makeup, dress rehearsals and making life-long friends. Two sidebars from Del Carter and Stanley Hubbard contain their memories of the Andahazys.

Rabies Scare in St. Paul
'Mad Dog on the Loose.' Panic prevails as fear rips through the city in 1910

 Susan Dowd
This short article looks at two weeks of fear that began in St. Paul on April 13, 1901. On that day a dog was reported to have attacked other dogs and horses on the West Side. A few people were also mauled. The newspapers reported three mad dogs and five attacks in three days. Dr. Justus Ohage, the St. Paul Health Commissioner, took matter into his hands. After additional attacks in the Rondo neighborhood seventeen animals were condemned. There is additional information on the treatment for rabies at time.

Fall, 2005 Volume 40, Number 3
No back issues available
  

The Story of a Lost Estate and Oliver Crosby, the Inventive Genius Who Created It
Jay Pfaender
See photos of Stonebridge
Even in the Groveland neighborhood, little is remembered about Stonebridge, an estate owned by civic leader Oliver Crosby. A New Englander from Maine,  he came to St. Paul in 1876 with an inclination for mechanics. He became a holder of thirty-six patents and founded a company that grew to over a thousand employees. In 1882, he co-founded what would become American Hoist and Derrick, a business that built and repaired heavy equipment. He was an inventor and designed hooks and cranes as well as a traveling crane. The company moved to the south end of the Robert Street Bridge. Crosby’s first home, at 804 Lincoln, was a splendid limestone structure designed by Clarence Johnston Jr. But Crosby wanted  a mansion and in 1907 purchased twenty-eight acres on the western bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Crosby had a love of gardening, water and cars. The new brick mansion with twenty-four main rooms was built on a beautifully designed site. It was named after a stone bridge that crossed a ravine on the property. His interest in water led to the construction of two artificial lakes and a reservoir to feed waterfalls. There were also large sunken gardens, a hundred-foot-long pergola, a greenhouse and a nine car garage. Crosby moved there in 1916 but died after only six years. His wife lived there for a time and then sold to John Cable, a 3M executive. In 1928 much of the estate was sold off for development but the mansion remained on a three acre site. Frederick Crosby lived in the home from 1928 to 1935, but the proposed development lagged because of the Depression. There was a debate on what to do with the structure and it was even considered for the Governor’s house, but it was razed in 1953. There is an epilogue on houses that were built on the location. There are sidebars on Crosby’s inventions, Stonebridge chronology, and on the Gale family who there for many years.

Ramsey County's Distinguished Agriculturist Willet M. Hayes, the Scientist Who Saw 'Shakespeares' Among His Plants
Harlan Stoehr and Forrest Troyer
Willet M. Hays, the first head of agronomic research at the University of Minnesota is arguably the greatest all-time contributor to the advancement of agriculture in Minnesota. The experiment station system was created in 1887 and twenty-nine year-old Hays was its first head. He worked off the principles of heredity and sometimes said there were “Shakespeares among plants.”   He started the use of organized field plots tests and appointed William Boss, who would have a long career at the field station, as farm foreman. He worked with farmers to test his crops and convinced the Legislature to establish remote experiment stations in Crookston and Grand Rapids. Hays pushed scientific plant and animal breeding, flax development as well as wheat and alfalfa improvement. Minnesota 13, one of his department’s hybrids, became the country’s most popular corn variety for many years. He was also concerned with business of farming and was a pioneer of agricultural economics. A prolific author of almost a hundred books and pamphlets, he was considered a good teacher. He left Minnesota when asked to go to Washington to be Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, a post he held for many years. The article concludes with the work of Willett Hays until his death in 1928 and information his son and daughter.

Summer, 2005  Volume 40, Number 2

Rendezvous at the Riverbend
Pike's Seven Day in the Band of Little Crow-

Gary Bruggeman
Zebulon Pike, a twenty-six year old lieutenant led the first American expedition to explore Minnesota in 1805. A group of twenty-two men came up the Mississippi river in a thirty-foot bateau. The author describes the native Mdewakatwon Dakota, their village of Kaposia and Carvers Cave. In 1817, Major Stephen Long also described the village as did Henry Schoolcraft in 1820. Little Crow ate breakfast and had a council with Pike on what is now known as Pike Island. The government acquired land for a military post, but Pike didn’t write a clear treaty to show the boundaries. He went further up the River and then later returned to Pike Island. He wanted Little Crow to accompany them to St. Louis,  but he declined.

Zebulon Pike and James Aird: The Explorer and the 'Scottish Gentleman'
Duke Addicks & James Aird
A short piece written by a fur trade re-enactor who portrays James Aird, who farmed near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. He states that one of his goals is to remind visitors of the importance of Zebulon Pike. The fur trader, who Pike’s journal calls a “Scottish Gentleman,” breakfasted with the Lieutenant on August 28, 1805. The article includes the narrative that Duke Addicks uses when portraying Aird. In his rendition, there is information on other people of the era, including fur traders and Native Americans Wabasha and Little Crow. He bases his story telling on Pike’s journal and other sources and tries to convince listeners of  Pike and Aird’s importance and how their meeting affected both their lives.

Lots of St. Paul: A Photo Essay on Downtown Parking
and What Urban History Can Tell Us About a City
Steve Trimble
This is a response to a letter to the editor wondering why the magazine bothered to publish  an article on “nothing more than a parking ramp.”  It opens with four quotes from 1927 to 1986 all saying how lack of parking was hurting the downtown economy. In fact, the search for parking was perhaps the most powerful force in shaping the cities. American culture had been increasingly enamored with the automobile. At first older buildings were converted,  then new “auto laundries” as service stations added auxiliary services. Next was the development of flat surfaces for parking, which had a negative effect on pedestrians and left gaps in the city fabric. The 1950s bought large ramps and then self-parking.

I Remember My Aunt: Frances Boardman-
Music Critic, Who Covered an Archbishop's Funeral

Alexandra (Sandy) Klas
Written by the niece of the Frances Boardman, the article starts out with the background of the family. She graduated from Central High School and became a pioneering woman in the newspaper world. First she did odd jobs of writing, but soon took over theater and literary criticism and then was given a special job to update the obituary for Archbishop Ireland, who was near death. The author describes the procession and dignitaries at the funeral. She lived in an apartment at 235 Summit that was filled with Victorian furnishings and hundreds of books. Because of the death of her mother, the author spent a great deal of time in her apartment, listening to stories and accompanying her to concerts. When Boardman passed away in 1953, her friend James Gray wrote that she was “the very embodiment of a gentlewoman” and “a creature of myriad insights and the little candle of her wit lightened up everyone.”


Spring, 2005  Volume 40, Number 1

The Force That Shaped the Neighborhoods
1890-1953: Sixty Years of Streetcars in St. Paul and Millions of Dollars in Investments

 John Diers 
The streetcars were one of the most important inventions to shape the growth and development of the Twin Cities. The system hit its peak in 1920 when it transported 238 million passengers. The first streetcar franchise was established on January 8, 1872 and on February 22, 1890 the first electric streetcar began a journey down Grand Avenue and stimulated neighborhood growth. Cable railways were necessary on two steep grades. The company needed well- constructed cars so they started building them. A forty-acre site on University and Snelling was acquired and eventually had 3,000 employees. Sometimes the workers were dissatisfied, as was the case in fall of 1917, when there was a long strike. Competition would soon arrive as a “jitney craze” showed the potential impact of the automobile. A long decline began in the 1920s and the Depression further cut into profits. Buses, which had once been feeders for the streetcars, would now take over. The author does not believe that Fred Ossanna, the last owner of the system, was part of a conspiracy to destroy the streetcar system.

Spanish Influenza in 1918
by Susan Dowd
The Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918, often referred to as “the wolf,” was one of the most lethal outbreaks the world has ever known. It came in waves. The first, in September, 1918, was mild in Minnesota but did prompt the St. Paul officials to draft new regulations. By mid-October, 181 influenza cases had been reported and with no modern medicines to use health officials relied on quarantine. The Red Cross handed out thousands of face masks. At the start of November, all St. Paul schools, churches, saloons and soda fountains were closed. There was a third wave of the disease in the winter but only a few reported cases in early 1919. The official total of cases was about 10,000 and the total number of fatalities was around 4,000.

Growing up in St. Paul   Simple, Carefree Days—Hague and Fry—And the Center of a Boy’s Universe,”
James B. Bell
The author lived his first sixteen years at the house of his grandfather, a businessman engaged in finance. Life at 1618 Hague was simple and had many carefree days. He wrote that “the neighborhood of Hague Avenue and Fry Street” was “the focal point of my earliest education” and recalls the village-like character of the shops at Selby and Snelling. He and his siblings all attended the Richards Gordon School on Dayton Avenue. There are memories of bringing money for Red Cross drives, participating in the student police patrol and school release for Protestant religious instruction. There were dance lessons from Marie Rothfuss after school and French lessons through his school. There were stories of the formation of camaraderie among playmates.

Trimble, Steve “A Novel Look at History,”
Steve Trimble
There are some historians who believe that in many cases novels can give readers the real feel of a city---its smells, sounds and landscape. This article looks at four novels set in St. Paul. Mr. White’s Confession by Robert Clark is set in 1939. The main character was an avid amateur photographer with a strange inability to remember the past. He is suspected of a murder of a St. Paul dance hall worker. Mary Sharratt’s Summit Avenue is set between 1912 and 1918 and features Kathrin, a young woman who hired to  translate German fairy tales for a rich woman. Call Me Kick by John Osander speculates on what would happen to Nick Carraway, protagonist of the Great Gatsby in the 1930s. A young girl nicknamed Kick sees him being kidnapped  and decides to  rescue him. She ends up visiting the Castle Royale night spot, Calvary Cemetery, the Hamm Building  and the Hollyhocks Club. A reunion of the class of 1969 is the starting point for Tim O’Brien’s July, July. It is held in the year 2000 at Darton Hall a thinly-disguised Macalester College. It includes memories of their college years, their disillusioned with society and the course of their lives. There are scenes on Grand Avenue, in White Bear Lake and various St. Paul neighborhoods.

Winter, 2005  Volume 39, Number 4

Curtain Up in 1933
The Legacy of the St. Paul Opera Association 

Steve Trimble
Inspired by a trip to Europe, Mrs. W. Homer Sweeney successfully spearheaded the creation of the St. Paul Municipal Opera. Opening in 1933, it was a “civic opera” that chose to present quality music made accessible to a general public by low ticket prices and performances in English. The company also wanted to develop and showcase local talent, a policy that slowly changed when it moved toward a “star system.” That move pleased some, but not all of the city’s residents. Two outsiders who had a long relationship with the organization were Phil Fein, a director and Leo Kopp, a conductor. Strapped for money, the opera became involved in summer “pop concerts,” sometimes accompanied by skaters inside the St. Paul Auditorium. It also began showing many “light operas.” WWII had its effects on the organization. A theme of  “civic pride” came in the 1950s and at the same time a Women’s Guild became active as a support group. Professionalism developed and there was a return to a partial season of traditional opera, but costs continued to rise. The group, now minus the word “civic” in its name, gained a new home with the creation of the Arts and Sciences Center. The opera was able to get grants to keep going in the face of higher expenses and began to offer regional and American offerings. A severe recession brought a merger with a Minneapolis opera in the mid-1970s.

Ramsey County Historical Society's Collection of Building Permits and the Story of the DeLoop Parking Ramp
Bob Garland
St. Paul began to require building permits in 1883. This is the story of one downtown property which the author researched using these permits, now housed at the Ramsey County Historical Society. He had a distant memory of the DeLoop Parking Ramp and decided to see what he could find. In 1905, early owner Michael J. O’Neill constructed the first garage where a house had been. Over time, according to records, the garage expanded. One of the more interesting permits was for a “parking roof” put over the service station in 1931. The permits also show the 1966 destruction of the structure. The author expressed a hope that hope that more people interested in history of buildings would use the permit collection of Ramsey County Historical Society.

Union Park in the 1880s
Band Concerts, Ballon Ascensions Once Lured 10,000 People in a single day 
In 1880, the Milwaukee Short Line Railroad opened up development in today’s Macalester Groveland and Merriam Park neighborhoods, then on the outskirts of St. Paul. Union Park, as it was called, was a thirty- acre area that contained Lake Iris. Land there was purchased by people for an entertainment area with a pavilion and bandstand that could be rented out by church groups and was soon opened to the public. One of the more exciting events was the balloon ascensions. The site was eventually platted into lots for homeowners, with streets following the natural contours of the land. John O. Hinkel, one of the developers, built a fine house on Feronia Avenue.

No back issues available  

Fall, 2004  Volume 39, Number 3

Another Lost Neighborhood
The Life and Death of Central Park-
A Small Part of the Past Illuminated

Paul D. Nelson
See extra photos of Central Park 
The Central Park story begins in 1884. It was a time of city expansion and the affluent and powerful residents in an area near today’s State Capitol wanted a park to buffer them from the spreading downtown. The Lampreys, the Dawsons, the Lindekes and the Schurmeiers donated parts of their land to the city to create Central Park. Landscaping began around a year later and in 1886 it was the site of the first Winter Carnival Ice Castle. However, the group living there preferred it to be a neighborhood park rather than a city-wide attraction.

The presence of the park attracted additional wealthy families who built elegant homes around the amenity. As time went on the houses became grander and fine apartment houses were added. Seen originally as a formal “pleasure garden,” the park’s use would begin changing with the surrounding neighborhood and its days as an exclusive retreat came to an end. The 1920s and 1930s were hard on the park and the neighborhood, at least in economic terms. Houses and apartments were divided into smaller units and Central Park became a more of a children’s playground. The article contains some reminiscences of area residents in the 1940s and 50s telling about the entertainment and hanging out spots and day-to-day life in the neighborhood.

The biggest change, however, was the increasing desire to level much of the area to increase the Capitol mall and to clear out what were seen as deteriorated structures. The 1958 construction of the Centennial Building signaled the park’s doom. In 1970 the state decided to build a parking ramp on the site and to assuage the feelings of some, it was topped off with a swatch of grass and trees to maintain a park-like sense. The article includes an interesting discussion of the search for urban history sources that tell this almost forgotten story of the birth and death of one of St. Paul’s former landmarks.

Hamline University and its Royal Refugee
The Prince and the Pearl of Great Price

John W. Larson
The author, a Hamline University graduate, recalls the impact of WWII  on  the school’s students and  the visit of a royal refugee from Germany. Larson, raised in a working class neighborhood, was accepted into the university, even though his high school grades were marginal. War seemed far away at the start of his studies in the fall of 1941; however, the institution slowly became militarized. That was the situation when Prince Hubertus zu Lowenstein arrived on campus in October of 1942. He had fled the Nazi regime and was now in St. Paul, where he lectured at the school and other places. The author recalls some of the times he spent talking and walking with the European writer and lecturer and how his  interests were greatly expanded. They did keep in touch over the years. The article includes a sidebar on the Prince and the Fascists.

The Rondo Oral History Series
Kathryn Coram Gagnon: Operettas, Dances, Parties, and a Growing Love of Music 

A HandinHand Interview with Kate Cavett
Based on oral history interviews, this is the story of Kathryn Coram Gagnon, an African American woman who grew up in St. Paul’s old Rondo neighborhood. It starts with the background of her family with its well-educated mother. The community was never totally segregated. She went to McKinley school, attended St. Philip’s Church and frequented the Hallie Q. Brown Center, where people often went to dances. Gagnon and a group of girls formed the  “Eight Debs,” a social group and they sometimes ate at the Elite Grill near Rondo and  Milton. She attended University High School. Gagnon tells about becoming an accomplished speed skater. She got a B. A. and Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota. The oral history selection discusses race and racism and the art of speaking different ways in different situations. Gagnon believed that music was an expression of the community and was an important part of the vibrancy of the  Rondo neighborhood, described as a warm and accepting place where a person felt truly safe. The article ends  with information on her work life.

Summer, 2004  Volume 39, Number 2

From Farm to Florence: The Gifted Keating Sisters and the Mystery of Their Lost Paintings
Margaret M. Marrinan
The story centers on two Irish farm girls, Anysia and Sophia Keating who became nuns developed into prolific painters. The mystery had to do with a search for information on how that happened and the location of their mostly forgotten paintings. The article also tells part of the story of the College of St. Catherine and that of St. Agatha’s Conservatory of Art and Music that was run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Sister Anysia entered the convent in 1884, followed by Sister Sophia two years later. Because they excelled in visual arts they were sent for three years of study in Europe. There are excerpts from a journal kept by Anysia that give a feel for their journeys. They expertly copied over 300 old paintings to use at the school and did some of their own original work as well. After St. Agatha’s closed and because tastes in art had changed, their paintings were scattered to the wind, sold or given away. Along with relatives, the author was able to locate a number of the works of art. A special feature of the article is the inclusion of several full color photos of Sister Anysia’s works.

Say it Ain't So, Charlie
The 1897 Dispute Between Charles Comiskey and the St. Paul Labor Trades 

Dave Riehle
On April 30, 1897, the famed Lexington ballpark opened to the public. The St. Paul Saints were then managed by Charles Comiskey and were part of the Western League. Professional baseball at the time was the most popular sport of the masses, many of whom were part of a growing labor movement. As it opened, there were a series of disputes with Labor. They fought against signage in the park for non-union businesses and demand that only union musicians play at the games. To enforce their position the Trades and Labor Assembly instituted a successful boycott until matters were resolved. Some of the extensive notes in the article look at a variety of sports and labor issues.

The Rondo Oral History Project
Buelah Mae Baines Swan Remembers Piano Lessons and a 'nice vegetable garden' Out Back

A HandinHand Interview with Kate Cavett
This article is from an oral history interview with Beulah Mae Baines Swan, who was raised near Como and Dale in a very small Black community. Her father’s business was in the Rondo area, where he sold coal, wood and ice. Though living away from it, she often visited in the legendary neighborhood and adds memories of the area. The family struggled as they made it through the Depression. Swan offered memories of going to Gorman School. Most of her friends were White and she wasn’t highly race conscious until searching for employment. She started out working for a private company and then had a job at the post office for twenty-six years. She took college business courses and then worked as a stenographer for the state for several years.

Spring Wagons and No Roads
A Gibbs Daughter Remembers a Pioneer Family's Sunday as a 'serious Undertaking'

Lillie Gibbs LeVesconte 
This is a reminiscence of the youngest daughter of Heman and Jane Gibbs. She remembered that getting to church services was no easy task in the 1870s. It meant going in the family’s two-seated spring wagon more than three miles with no available public  road. They attended a Methodist church in northeast St. Anthony. She had a vivid memory of hearing a visiting woman evangelist and how cold the little church was in the winter. Soon there was a road–today’s Como Avenue. For her, the scenery was a pleasant memory.

Spring, 2004  Volume 39, Number 1

'High and Dry on a Sandstone Cliff' St. Paul and the Year of the Grand Railroad Excursion
Steve Trimble 
This article looks at what St. Paul looked like in 1854 when the Great Railroad Excursion arrived. St. Paul was part of the urban frontier experience in America, a sometimes overlooked part of our history. Based on contemporary  newspapers, diaries, magazines and other sources, it appears that the important issues 150 years earlier were very similar to modern problems. Crime led to public safety measures. Support of religion led to a boom in church construction. The economy was booming and the number and variety of businesses led to a chronic labor shortage.

Like today, the population was very diverse with several ethnic “island communities.” Cholera fears led to a concern for public health and a hospital  was built. The Excursion was a celebration of the railroad reaching the Mississippi River and the Eastern visitors were feted in St. Paul. There was a beginning of government with elections and city ordinances. Feeding the population was a challenge, especially in the winter. There were a variety of cultural activities including theater, popular entertainments, literary societies and French lessons. Even then, the city was spreading outward and there was “suburban” development. There was a desire for education and both public and catholic schools were initiated. The article closes with the execution of U-Ha-zy and people’s reactions to the first public hanging.

Irvine Park in 1854: Its Homes and the People Who Lived There 150 Years Ago
Robert J. Stumm
There are an impressive number of homes in Irvine Park that were there in 1854. The neighborhood dates from 1849  when the land for a park was donated. The article was laid out as a tour of the area. The author then gives descriptions of ten large Greek revivals and smaller federal styles. The Symonds house at 234 Ryan, considered the city’s oldest surviving structure, was built in 1850. These pioneer houses survived to the present because Irvine Park was spared the intrusion of large-scale commercial development that has doomed other older neighborhoods.

A Quilt and a Diary: The Story of the Little Girl Who Road the Orphan Train to a New Home
Ann Zemke
The author made a quilt that was used to tell the story of her grandmother, Margaret Peterson, who was an orphan. Thousands of children like her were “placed out” from 1854 to 1929, and sent off by rail to find new families. At the time the article was written, there were still 200 orphan train riders alive in Minnesota. Zemke’s grandmother kept a diary and wrote an autobiography that stated that she had been at a home school for a time before heading to northern Minnesota. Most of the children who were resettled came from the Eastern states. When Margaret Peterson was nineteen, she left her new family to go out on her own and married two years later. A photograph of the quilt that was the author’s way to document her relative’s life was is included.

Growing Up in St. Paul
Mechanic Arts - An Imposing 'Melting Pot' High School that Drew Minorities Together

Bernice Fischer
After seven years at St. Adalbert’s School, in classes of thirty consisting of all white Catholic children, the author entered Mechanic Arts High School with its four floors, many nationalities and 1,400 students. It was considered a real ”melting pot.” The highlight of the week was assembly in the large auditorium, featuring guest lecturers or entertainers. Academics were at a high level and comic books were confiscated.

Fisher was in the class of 1946. Girls were often expected to get married and not have a career, but the women teachers there were real role models. Her favorite was May Kellerhals, a biology teacher who pushed her to take more science and math courses. She decided not to be a secretary and to go to college instead. Fisher shared memories of her friends, free tickets to the opera and plays and the fact that since there were no school buses people walked to school, some for up to three miles.

Winter, 2004  Volume 38, Number 4

'He Loved a Tall Story'
The Life & Times of I.A. O'Shaughnessy - The Man Who Happily Gave His Money Away 

John Lindley & Virgina Kunz
Ignatius Aloysius O’Shaughnessy, an oilman and philanthropist, was born in 1885. The article gives information about the Irish background of the O’Shaughnessy family. His parents moved to Minnesota around 1861 and became active members of the city’s strong Irish Catholic community that centered on St. Michael’s Church in Stillwater. His father was a small businessman in the lumbering town and I. A. was surrounded by lumberjacks and later talked about them and their stories. He loved telling his own tall tales throughout his life. He enrolled in college at St. John’s in 1901 and played football, then a new sport. Because of an incident he was expelled in 1902 and transferred to St. Thomas, where he became a mainstay of the football team.

After graduation, O’Shaughnessy became secretary of the Amateur Athletic Association of St. Paul. He married Lillian Smith in 1908. He left St. Paul to join his brother in Texas and later started a tire business in Kansas; however, he soon got into the oil industry. He felt the building of refineries would be the most profitable. Lillian didn’t like Texas or Kansas and got the family to move back to Minnesota. They soon bought a home at 1705 Summit Avenue where they lived for the rest of their lives. The company was flourishing and became one of the largest independently owned oil businesses in the world. There is information on the national business climate during the 1920s, the Depression and the War Years. I. A. enjoyed doing things with the family, fishing and taking trips. He began his philanthropic ways in the 1930s and was a major giver to St. Thomas and a close friend of James Shannon, its president. He ran his own foundation and made education its focus. He did make contributions to other places such Notre Dame and gave money for an institute set up by Pope Paul VI. After Lillian died in 1958, I. A. entered   a “gray period” in his life and died in 1973 at the age of eighty-eight.

 A Century Ago: Hundreds of Thousands Greet The Liberty Bell the Day It Came To Town
Susan C. Dowd  
The Liberty Bell, with its twenty-four inch long crack, came to St. Paul on June 6, 1904. The nation’s “most cherished relic”  was on its way from Philadelphia to St. Louis on a special train and made a stop in the Twin Cities. It arrived late at night. By the next morning, there were swarms of people there, and during five-and-a-half hours, 100,000 walked by the symbol of freedom. It was shown at on a flatbed railway car in a wood frame made of heavy oak at the foot of Broadway at the rear of the Union Depot. All St. Paul schools were closed to see the famous icon, although some were disappointed by its small size. The Liberty Bell and its entourage left the city a little after noon.

No back issues available  

Fall, 2003  Volume 38, Number 3

The University Farm Experimental Cave and How St. Paul Became the Blue Cheese Capital of the World
Greg Brick
Willes Combs, a professor of Dairy Industry at the University of Minnesota, was buying mushrooms at a West Side cave and saw that the humidity there was similar to the ones in which  France’s famous Roquefort cheese was ripened. He decided to see if Minnesota could also produce it. With a 1933 federal grant, the project turned out to be a great success, producing 10,000 pounds of the product. It was hoped to help relieve the state’s milk surplus. Combs suggested that St. Paul had enough cave space to fill the world’s need for Roquefort cheese. Things lagged, but WWII cut off the supply from France and both Kraft and Land O’ Lakes rented out caves. After the war the University’s research went in other directions and the cave went empty. The author also describes his 2003 visit to the caves.

A Pillar of Modern Psychology
Alfred Adler and His 1937 Lecture at the Historic St. Paul Women's City Club

Roger Ballou
This article tells the story of the time the St. Paul Women’s City Club hosted a speech by famous psychologist Alfred Adler on March 8, 1937. There is an explanation of Adler’s background and his approach to psychology as well as biographical information on Alice O’Brien, the Club’s president. The dinner and talk on the main floor auditorium are described. The room was filled to capacity with 500. The title of the talk-- “The Three Great Problems of Life”-- is explained. Reports of the various events of the evening are included.

'Laid to Rest by Strangers' Hands'
Death in the Railroad Yards: The Century-old Mystery of a Beautiful Young Woman

Susan C. Dowd
On March 12, 1902, a young woman was run over in the late evening by a train just west of the railway station at Dayton’s Bluff. Local newspapers were filled with details and one headline read “Girl’s Death a Mystery.” She was not recognized and no one from the immediate area was reported missing. Physicians could only estimate her age and describe her clothing and couldn’t tell if her death was accidental or a suicide. Visitors flooded the morgue to look but still no one knew her. A committee of club women arranged the funeral and provided a cemetery plot and headstone for the burial in Oakland Cemetery. The mystery remains unsolved.

Gibbs Museum Heritage Orchard and the Comeback of the Ancient Apple
Ralph Thrane
The article deals with the history of apples, written by the resident horticulturist at the Gibbs Heritage Orchard. Thrane has studied and sought out fruit that shows the diversity of the trees and that would also be resistant to our cold weather. The article has a list and description of seventeen different varieties and short explanations of their heritage.

Growing Up in St. Paul
A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Payne Avenue in the 1950's Was Like Living in a Small Town

DeAnne Marie Cherry
The author, who grew up in the 1950s at 973 Payne Avenue on St. Paul’s East Side, relates a teenager’s memories of her neighborhood and high school. The family lived in a rented apartment above a grocery store, shopped at  Woolworth’s  and other small stores and banked locally. The teens had pajama parties, cherry cokes at the local drug store, attended Johnson High School dances, went to drive-in restaurants and movies and cruised in her car on weekends. She gives the sense of neighborhood and its friendliness.

Summer, 2003  Volume38, Number 2

Fog and the Dark of an October Night--
The Fabled Wreck of the 'Ten Spot' in its Plunge to the River Below
David Riehle
Shortly before 6:00 A. M. on October 15, 1912 with the landscape covered in a dense fog, a railroad bridge tender heard a long blast from a riverboat. It was a signal to request him to swing open the swing bridge. He blew back to say all right and then sent a horn message to tell the train to wait. But, unfortunately, the engine went forward and plunged downward into the Mississippi River. No one knows exactly what happened and there were varying versions. Perhaps the train engineer mistook the messages or the air brakes were not good. There was among some a belief that the engine was a bad luck machine. The files of the event are in the records of the local law firm that handled the situation. The article includes many photos of the wreck.

Fear a Powerful Motivator
A Harvest of Victims: the Twin Cities and St. Paul's Traumatic Small Pox 

Epidemic in 1924
Paul D. Nelson
The Twin Cites most traumatic encounter with smallpox took place  in 1924-25. There were two different variations of smallpox and at the time the local health departments’ only tools to fight it were education, persuasion and quarantine. There was a pattern of infection in Minneapolis but not in St. Paul and charts included show this. St. Paul hired many physicians for inoculation duty. Minneapolis officials, however, kept claiming that there was no problem in their city. Some businesses, such as Schoch’s Grocery Store, required employees to get vaccinated. Several sidebars explain smallpox and provide the names and addresses of all the St. Paul residents it killed.

The Story of Minnie Dassel: 
Was She a Mysterious Countess Who Settled in St. Paul?

Paul Johnson
This is the story of a woman who worked in St. Paul for fifty-five years in the late nineteenth century. Some people thought that Minnie Dassel was secretly a German countess and that her parents had given up their title for political reasons. She came to Minnesota around 1870 with her brother. Her obituary said she once “had money” and moved in high social circles, but she claimed that her brother lost all their money in bad investments. So she mastered shorthand to earn money and often spent on philanthropic ways. She was the partner of a German military officer but they never married.

Growing Up in St. Paul
'I Didn't Know If We Were Rich or Poor--
Times Were Idyllic Then ...We Roamed at Will'

Carleton Vang
The author said he grew up not knowing whether the family was rich or poor. They first lived on Thomas Avenue above a grocery store. Then his father moved them to a new home at Almond and Aronia near the State Fair Grounds. He remembered learning the Palmer Method of handwriting at Tilden School. There was a site behind the streetcar dump where he and friends “skinny dipped.”  His first bb gun was the famed Red Ryder carbine. He believed that his experiences were almost “idyllic” and there was no fear of roaming at will. There was a small pond nearby and they built a raft to ply on it. He described the neighborhood as “a place of infinite fun.”

Spring 2003 Volume 38 Number 1

'A shady Pair' and an 'attempt on his life'-- Sitting Bull and His Life'-
Sitting Bill and His 1884 visit to St. Paul

Author Paul D. Nelson
Sitting Bull, a symbol of Native American resistance, once came to St. Paul, an event not well covered in local newspapers. The Lakota agent at Standing Rock Reservation, who was coming to the city to make purchases, asked the famed Indian leader to accompany him, probably to try to “acculturate” him. Sitting Bull’s objectives in coming were to learn about the White world and to make a case for immediate government help for his people. He arrived on May 14, 1884 and visited many places, including the Cathedral, Indian Mounds Park, a telephone company and Ft. Snelling. While most residents were curious, there were many who felt the man was still an enemy. He returned again in September, on his way to New York, and there may have been an attempted assassination. This article was adapted  by Paul Nelson from a longer manuscript written by Mark Diedrich.

The St. Paul Fireman Who Rose to Command the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment in Gettysburg
Author Patrick Hill
Captain Wilson Farrell of Company C of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry had been a member of a volunteer company at one of St. Paul’s small fire stations. He served as a young man in the Mexican American War and came to St. Paul in 1856. The First Minnesota was in the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863 and held the line at a huge cost. During the battle the officer in command fell and Farrell had to take over. Unfortunately, it was not for long. He was mortally wounded by a rifle shot to the head and was buried for a time at Gettysburg. His local Odd Fellows lodge brothers retrieved the remains and brought them to Oakland Cemetery where they rest next to his wife.

The Volunteer Hook and Ladder Company
This is a short article on Wilson Farrell’s organization—the Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company. Like other groups, the members were elected and had to buy their own ladders, buckets and rope. There was often arson, prompted by the desire to loot.

Oakland Cemetery and Its First 150 Years
Author Chip Lindeke
The Oakland Cemetery Association was formed on June 24, 1853. It is the resting place for many famous people including Alexander Ramsey and Henry Sibley. In 1884, it incorporated the Christ Episcopal Cemetery and in 1904 took over the Zion Cemetery. The site now covered a hundred acres between Jackson, Sylvan, Magnolia and Sycamore where the main entrance is located. Architect Horace Cleveland was hired to design Oakland Cemetery after its expansion.

Roots in the English - St Paul's First German Methodist Church
Author Helen Miller Dickison
The First German Methodist Church of St. Paul was founded in 1852, a time when German immigration to Minnesota was soaring. In that year the congregation  built  church on Sixth Street between Broadway and today’s Wall Street. By 1858, they needed a larger building and constructed one abutting the older one. They also bought land in Woodbury for camp meetings. They used the Methodist model of study classes and had “admonishers” who warned parishioners of lapses in Christian behavior.

They moved again into a new church on Olive and Eleventh that was designed by Cass Gilbert. It contained a splendid organ. They were indebted for many years and the parishioners did not like the changes happening to the neighborhood. The services saw a gradual transition from German to English. When a railroad agreed to buy the church building and land, the congregation moved again, this time to Fairmount and Saratoga where a cornerstone was laid on May 30, 1917.

Growing Up in St. Paul
'Homer Van Meter, a Member of the Karpis Gang, Was Shot Across the Street from our house'

Author Bernice Fisher
The author grew up at 193 West University Avenue. One of her vivid memories was when Homer Van Meter, a member of the Dillinger gang, was shot to death across the street from her house. Memories of the Depression are included as well as her thoughts about residents of a nearby boarding house that were a part of her life. She remembered the wonderful aroma of the soup made by Mrs. Newell, an elderly Irish woman. She considered the two most important things in her life the Capitol Drug Store on the corner and a hamburger place on Rice Street. There are descriptions of the family icebox. She and her mother went everywhere on the streetcar to shop, to attend one of several different movie theaters or even to venture to Minneapolis. Religion was important part of her family life. They attended St. Louis Church, learned to read French, discovered the library and spent time at the Scheffer Playground.

Winter 2003 Volume 37 Number 4

The 146-Year History Of The Louis Hill House… New Settlers, A Booming Real Estate Market, And A Summit Avenue Site Acquired On Speculation

Author Eileen McCormack
The Louis Hill home at 260 Summit Avenue has been studied a great deal, but this article looks at the earlier history of the plot of land on which it sits. The lot was platted out in November 1854. Home construction on the street began in 1855 with the home of Edward Neill at number 242 on the edge of the bluff. In 1857, William Noble acquired but then lost the property in 1859 because of economic troubles. Later a man named George Palmes bought the house. By 1897, the home was being amid a number of much more elegant homes and it was demolished by 1901. When Hill got the lot, he petitioned the city to vacate a street to enlarge the lot. The city agreed but said that he would be required to put in a public walk and steps from below the hill up to Summit Avenue. James J. and Louis Hill worked closely with the architects examining all the work. Newly married Louis and Maud Hill moved into the home in 1903. There was a 1912 addition. There are a large number of excerpts in family letters about home activities. When the family finally decided to sell they were very concerned about who might purchase it. They sold it in 1954 to a Catholic Church society. In 1961, it was turned over to another religious group for a retreat house. A family bought and restored  260 Summit starting in 2001.

Growing Up In St Paul - Diamonds, Gravel Roads, And A Little Chevrolet - The Life And Times Of A Venture Capitalist
Author Alan R. (Buddy) Ruvelson
The article starts with the author’s family background and the arrival of his great grandfather in St. Paul in the 1870s, where he lived at 545 Sibley near the synagogue on College Street. His father Phillip grew up in Frogtown, was not strongly religious, and didn’t get a bar mitzvah ceremony. Neither did the author. His parents were reform Jews. Ruvelson was born in 1915 and the family moved to 2150 Lincoln Avenue. He became fascinated with horses as a youngster. He eventually went to work for his father traveling the country. He began to work in the diamond trade and became quite successful. Ruvelson never ran for public office but was a moderate Republican who was active in supporting political candidates. He worked for the small business authority for a time. When he lost his first wife, he married a German Catholic at a time when mixed faith marriages were uncommon.

A Flourishing Fur Trade Industry And The U.S. Army Corp Of Engineers Centre Building
Author Matt Pearcy
This is the story of a building at 333 Sibley, designed by the famous architect Clarence Johnston. It was initially constructed for Gordon and Ferguson, an important fur trading business. They had been at other locations and their new building was, at the time, the largest manufacturing plant commission Johnston ever had. The structure was nine stories high and covered half a city block and. They were there from 1913 until 1944, when an electric company moved in and, then, for a time, the structure was vacant. In 1958 it was refurbished and became the Nalpac Building and began renting to the Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District. As the Corps expanded, the structure was renamed the Corps of Engineer Centre.

Slunky Norton: The Chimney Sweep Who Rocked The Rafters With His Buglers
Author Albert W. Lindeke Jr
By the late 1880s, coal had become the predominate fuel, but had some problems. It could create a buildup of creosote that might break into flame, so people needed the periodical employment of a chimney sweep. A colorful Irish-born chimney sweep named Slunky Norton worked the Hill district in the early part of the Twentieth Century. He had a troop of buglers that accompanied him on rounds on special occasions. Louis Hill was fascinated by the man and got Norton a fire engine in the holiday season. The author remembered one time when the group burst in through their door unannounced, played a tune and left to find another house to entertain. By the late 1920 fuel oil was coming and, a decade later, natural gas.

“I Remember the Teachers’ Strike of 1946   ‘We Rolled Down Our Windows in the Cold Air,’”
Maxine Dickson
The author attended and remembered having talked with her teachers about schools and unions. Her family lived at 1718 Ross Avenue and she attended Ames Elementary and Junior High. Her family went to see the strikers Ames Elementary and Junior high. The students were not aware of the problems and this was the first teachers strike in the history of the country..

Fall 2002 Volume 37 Number 3

Lost Neighborhoods - Borup's Addition And The Prosperous Pioneer African Americans Who Owned Homes There
Author David Riehle
The story of a vanished neighborhood populated, though not exclusively, by pioneer African Americans, many of whom arrived around the time of the Civil War. This Nineteenth Century community was located in Borup’s Addition on the eastern edge of today’s downtown, roughly between Robert Street, Seventh, Broadway and on the north by today’s I-94 freeway. They were generally a prosperous group, many owned their homes and businesses long before the famous Rondo community was developed.

Using old valuation department files, city directories and other sources, the author looks at several houses, one grocery store and the people who lived on Sibley Street. Some of the information comes from a 1923 interview with John Hickman, Sr., one of the old-timers from the area and son of the legendary Reverend Robert Hickman. He described the neighborhood as an amalgam of free people of color from the northern states, and ex-slaves often called “contrabands" that came during the Civil War. Two of the people he remembered were James K. Hillyard, a beloved tailor and musician, and barber Blakely Durant. Three of the men had grown up together in the same town in Pennsylvania.

The “Sibley Street” folder in the city’s Valuation Project files yielded sheets for the properties and a dozen photographs. For instance, the one on 541 Sibley revealed that the James family bought the house on lot number five in 1881. It also included diverse information, including the bank mortgage, a description of the house and any improvements and estimated value. Their oldest son Charles was a skilled leather worker who would become president of the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly. There was a grocery store that was run by William Robertson and a two-story building that was a boarding house for many African Americans over the years.

Other information that emerged from the records was that Borup’s Addition was almost evenly split between Black and White residents but that they did not share buildings. By 1900, most of the African American residents had moved to the northwest. The homes slowly became decrepit and in the mid-1930s the city acquired the homes to allow an expansion of the city market. The buildings may be gone, but the rich history of this self-reliant community, with its optimistic residents has now been told.

Fur Traders, Banker, Danish Vice Consul… This Was The Borup Of Borups Addition
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz
This is a short biographical sketch of Danish-born Charles William Wulff Borup, a man with a medical degree. He came to the Midwest in 1835 as an agent for the American Fur Company and moved to St. Paul in 1848 where he became involved in real estate. With his brother-in-law, Borup founded a bank. he married a Metis woman and raised a family of nine children. He became a wealthy man and supporter of the arts and died of a heart attack in 1859.

St. Gaudens' New York Eagle: Rescue And Restoration Of St. Paul's First Outdoor Sculpture
Author Christine Podas-Larson
The “New York Eagle” is one of St. Paul’s most famed outdoor sculptures. It became a fixture in downtown in 1887 when the New York Life Insurance Company built a St. Paul branch. The bronze eagle, modeled by prominent sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens and his brother Louis, perched above the entrance of the ten-story building at Sixth and Minnesota. When the building torn down in 1967, the salvaged sculpture was relocated to the outer edge of the new parking ramp. Public Art St. Paul gained legal control of the Eagle in 1999 and worked on its restoration and finding a new location.

Summit Overlook Park: Once Upon A Time: Carpenter Park And Its Five Story Hotel
Author Thomas Zahn
A short history of Summit Overlook Park which once held the Carpenter hotel. It was acquired by the park department in 1900 and was the spot chosen for the New York Eagle’s new roost.


Click here to see this article
Growing Up In St Paul - Seeing, Talking To, Calling On Sprits: Grandma Minda's Adventures In Spiritualism
Author Joanne Englund

The story of Minda Sands, a Scandinavian woman as remembered and written by her granddaughter. Minda and her husband bought a lot on Edmund Street between Albert and Pascal Streets, living in tents and then an alley house until a large home was completed in 1916. Minda worked at the Bonn refrigerator during WWI. Paul died in the 1918 flu epidemic and Minda had to carry on alone for most of her remaining years, raising her children, working at different jobs and participating in the social life during the 1930s and 1940s. Several pages outline Minda’s interest in spiritualism that lasted until  her death at age 95.

Those Squealing Red River Ox Carts - Norman Kittson And The Fur Trade
At the age sixteen, Canadian-born Norman Kittson joined the American Fur Company and headed west in 1830. He eventually arrived in Minnesota where he joined Henry Sibley’s company, then worked as settler’s clerk at Ft. Snelling. Soon he was operating a string of fur posts from Pembina. He dealt with a transportation problem by using the wooden Red River carts to haul furs to St. Paul. The article describes the fur business, Kittson’s attitudes toward Native Americans, his involvement in politics, various business ventures. His pride and joy was Kittsondale, a stable and race track once located in St. Paul’s Midway area.

Summer 2002 Volume 37 Number 2
Singles, Doubles And Pairs, Fours And Quads - Life On The Mississippi: The 132 Years Of The Minnesota Boat Club And Its Rich History

Author Jim Miller
A history of the Minnesota Boat Club from its 1870 founding to the present. It began as a sporting and social club for well-to-do gentlemen and remained so through its 1915 peak. It suffered decades of decline from World War I through World War II, and slow but steady revival since. The club has had its home at the same place, Raspberry Island in the Mississippi at downtown St. Paul since1873. The article deals also with the club’s boathouse, a downtown fixture since1910, and the redevelopment efforts in the riverfront area in recent decades. Eleven photos including front and back covers.

'Hang Him! That's The Best Way' A Lynching In St. Paul? Almost, In 1895, An Era Of 'Vigilante Justice' In The Nation
Author Paul D. Nelson
Twenty-five years before the infamous Duluth lynchings, itinerant African-American Houston Osborne narrowly escaped lynching in St.Paul. This piece describes the near-lynching, the events leading to it, the press coverage, African-American community reaction, what became of Osborne, and where this event fits in the national lynching phenomenon. A sidebar describes four recent books about lynching.

Which One Is Houston Osbourne? Research Fails To Provide The Answer
Author Paul D. Nelson
This companion piece to the previous article recounts the author’s efforts to verify a Stillwater Prison photograph of Houston Osborne.

The Road To The Selby Tunnel, Or How To Make It Up The St Anthony Hill
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz
St. Paul’s hills posed a challenge for the street railways of the late19th and early 20th centuries. This article describes the earliest days of horsecars, the problem of hills, the brief experiment with cable cars, the coming of electric streetcars, St. Paul’s curious relationship with street rail magnate Thomas Lowry, and the conquering of St. Anthony (now Cathedral) Hill by the Selby Tunnel.

"Lost Neighborhood: A Story in Pictures," pp. 18-20.
Five photos of the neighborhood at the intersection of Selby and West Third (now Kellogg) just before construction of the Selby Tunnel. A companion piece to the previous article and the first of a Lost Neighborhoods series.

Growing Up In St Paul - Manager, Fight Promoter, Minnesota Game Warden - Johnny Salvator And His Impact On Boxing In St Paul
Author Paul R Gold
The young German Johann Salwetter (b. 1891 in Serbia) came to St. Paul around 1910 and became, in time, Johnny Salvator – boxer, trainer of World War I soldiers, movie-house operator, boxing manager, and big-time local boxing impresario before losing everything during the Depression. Then he served 25 years as Ramsey County game warden. He died in 1973.

Books
Valdes, Dionicio Nodin, Barrios Nortenos, St. Paul and Midwestern Mexican American Communities in the Twentieth Century (Austin: University of Texas Press), 2000.
Rosenbloom, Gene H., Jewish Pioneers of St. Paul, 1849-1874 (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing), 2001.
------, The Lost Jewish Community of the West Side Flats, 1862-1962 (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing), 2002.
Also In Print:
Brief reviews of recent publications by Afton Historical Society Press: The Gag Family: German-Bohemian Artists in America, by Julie L’Enfant; Sketches from Around the World, by Ralph Rapson; Ojibwe: Waasa Inaabidaa (We Look in All Directions), by Thomas Peacock; and American Ruins: Ghosts on the Landscape, by Maxwell MacKenzie

Spring 2002 Volume 37 Number 1
'The Best School In The City,' 1896-1916…
Mechanic Arts High School: Its First Twenty Years

Author John W Larson
Mechanic Arts High School was a unique institution to train students to work as well as to have an academic training. It started as a manual training program at Central High School. When they moved out into place of their own, it became the first manual training school in the Midwest. George Weitbrecht, a chemistry teacher ended up adding academic classes named the institution Mechanic Arts School. Believed that even those learning a craft needed to be broadly educated.

One of their early students was Paul Manship, who ended up becoming a world famous sculptor, although he left school early. There were woodworking and metal shops and drawing. The new principal encouraged school spirit, choosing school colors and the cogwheel as a symbol  another focus would be athletic competition. As the school grew it needed a new five story red brick building to be constructed on Robert street and Constitution. A literary society was formed and the “M,” a periodical, was started. When their principal died in 1916 an impressive memorial was given and the school was named the George Weitbrecht Mechanic Arts High School.

A Memoir - A Temporary Shelter For Six Under 12 - St. Joseph's Catholic Orphan Home
Author Janet Postlewaite Sands
The author writes the memories of what brought her and her siblings to St. Joseph’s Orphanage at 1458 Randolph and what it was like urging her stay. The five Postlewaite children ended up there because of the poor health of her parents. When their mother had a recurrence of scarlet fever, she arranged for them to go to the institution that was run by Benedictine nuns. She writes of a regimented daily life. They went to school, had to work in the laundry or in the large garden and helped prepare the food they ate. While they were there in 1945 their father died. Finally, in spite of the predictions of doctors, their mother recovered, could even walk again and took the children back.

Donations And Their Own Pockets - An Orphanage's Roots In 1869 St. Paul
Author Paul D. Nelson
This article examines the St. Joseph’s Orphanage by looking at the experiences of the Postlewaite family. In the early days, it was a German institution which bought a forty-seven acre plot of land at Randolph and Hamline, then out on the edge of the city. Her parents were married in 1932 and six children were born. Since both the parents were in ill health Janet Postlewaite and her siblings showed up at the orphanage at1458 Randolph in 1945. Almost all of the food supply of the institution was grown in their gardens as part of a closely regulated life with a fixed daily schedule. The age of the orphanage age was soon coming to an end and in 1960 Archbishop Brady decided that the home must close. It was torn down two years later. The article then moves on to the story of the Postlewaite family in later days. They all went to St. Mark’s School and endured and several of them went to college.

Growing Up In St Paul - The War To End All Wars:
A Schoolboy's Recollections Of World War II

Author Ray Barton
The author looks back at the coming of WWII on a young boy. His uncle had been a hero in WWI they were living in the Cherokee Park area on St. Paul’s West Side. There was a rush to enlist and his brother Wes was among them. He read the papers and learned about the Bataan Death March and noticed the look at the blue stars in the windows of families who had service men and women. Everyone was involved in the home front with scrap drives, buying war bonds, victory gardens and affected by rationing. He started a job at Kline’s at the age of thirteen. The schools increased in patriotism with Civilian War Patrol and other activities. Then the war ended and he went downtown to see the celebrations.

The Fire Insurance Patrol: Gone But Not Forgotten
Author John S Sonnen
The Fire Insurance Patrol, a private organization incorporated in 1895, was financed by small assessments on fire insurance policies. They rushed to conflagration, usually getting there before the fire department with the heavier and slower rigs. The goal was to remove items from the building affected buildings, covering personal property on nearby spots using tarps for store merchandise. In 1911, they became motorized. The patrol was around for forty-four years until the Fire Department took over for them.

Doing History In Ramsey County And St. Paul - A Review Essay
Author John M Lindley
Like a late nineteenth century spate of local history books about the city, the author comments on a similar recent flourishing of St. Paul history and gives several short summaries of the works. Among the earliest was Virginia Kunz’s St. Paul—The First 150 Years in 1991. From her new approach St. Paul and Ramsey county writers have gone in many directions. Elmer Anderson’s A Man’s Reach is an autobiographical look at himself and his wife. Other biographies  included Cass Gilbert: the Early Years, Cap Wigington: an Architectural Legacy in Ice and Stone, The Story of a Groundbreaking African American. Frederick L. McGhee: A Life on the Color Line, 1861-1912, Claiming the City: Politics, Faith, and the Power of Place in St Paul. Dionicio N. Valdés wrote Barrios Norteños: St. Paul and Midwestern Mexican Communities in the Twentieth Century about the families from Mexico and Texas who came to Midwest cities. There were also short reviews of novels, such as Until They Bring the Streetcars Back, In the Deep Midwinter Larry Millett’s Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders and autobiographies, such as   Jimmy Griffin, A Son of Rondo: A Memoir.

Books
No back issues available  

Winter 2002 Volume 36 Number 4


Crises And Panic And Mergers And Failures –
St Paul's Struggling Banks And How They Survived Their First 75 Years

Author G. Richard Slade
This article takes a look at some of the banking history of St. Paul with a close look at how several businesses successfully dealt with tough economic times. It starts out with an 1853 bank that received a national charter as the First National Bank of St. Paul in the 1860s. James J. Hill tried to buy it but was rebuffed, so he procured the Second National Bank. It would stay in the Hill family after his death. There was also the National German-American Bank that was later merged into the Merchants National Bank. Then the U.S. government created the Federal Reserve System in 1913 with its twelve regional institutions. Though not well-known, there was a great wave of bank failures in the 1920s. Then Minnesota bankers developed two bank holding companies called the “Minnesota Twins”–the Northwest Bancorporation and the First Bank Stock Group. Their purpose was to create networks of Minnesota banks to fence out national competition. There are several excerpts of letters that talk various situations. Finally, in 1929, the First National and Merchants National banks were combined and a new skyscraper built. One focus is the banks that eventually were made into the First National Bank of St. Paul.

A Memoir - Jimmy Griffin, S.t Paul's First Black Deputy Police Chief,
Remembers His First Years On The Force

Author Kwame JC McDonald
In this excerpt from his autobiography, one of St. Paul’s best-remembered police officers tells some of his stories. Born in 1906, Jimmy Griffin grew up in the Rondo neighborhood and graduated from Central High School. He started with the police, was drafted into the Navy in 1945, and returned to the force in 1946. There are stories of dealing with bar fights, serving warrants and improving work conditions by union activity. He experienced some racism but also had close friendships with White officers. Griffin tells of times when he made mistakes but still moved up the ladder, became a sergeant, and eventually ended up as St. Paul’s first Africa American deputy chief of police.

Tubal Cain In New Brighton - The Harris Forge And Rolling Mill Company
Author Leo J. Harris
Abraham and Mark Harris were immigrant brothers from Russia. They founded Harris Forge and Rolling Mill and by 1891 it had more than 200 workers. It was one  of the earliest concerns that turned scrap metal into iron ingots. They built on land in New Brighton description of the building of the structure. Wells were drilled for the heavy need for water. The name Irondale was used and they hoped workers finance homes. An elementary school was added information on the workers from the newspaper there were fires and was quickly rebuilt the panic of 1893  the bubble had burst.

Books

Fall 2001 Volume 36 Number 3


The Financial Angel Who Rescued 3M - The Life & Times Of Lucius Pond Ordway

Author Virgina Braniard Kunz & John Lindley
A twenty-one-year-old man would begin a career that would bring him a fortune and a place in the upper levels of St. Paul society. Lucius Ordway was part of a band of entrepreneurs from the East who prospered in the city. He came out of a New England family background. He went to Brown University and then Harvard Law School. His father had been a civil service reformer. After graduating in the 1880s, he surprised his family by deciding to go to Minnesota. He started working in a plumbing concern and swiftly rose at the age of twenty-four he was a partner. As the city boomed, construction called for plumbing materials. He married in 1885 and the story of his wife’s family is told. They both traveled in Swedenborgian circles that are described. Ordway and Richard Crane became partners and did well, except the economic crash of 1893 hurt their business. Ordway was active in the community, was an officer of the Merchants Bank and a member of Minnesota Boat Club, the White Bear Yacht Club and other organizations. His social network was a small group of Eastern friends. He poured money into the fledging 3M and had the company move to St. Paul in 1910. Ordway was one of the movers behind the construction of the St. Paul Hotel in the same year. He served on World War I committees. Ordway moved to 400 Summit Avenue in 1918 and died there in 1948.

Summer 2001 Volume 36 Number 2

Landmarks Reborn: Channeling The Past Into The Present
Can History Come Alive? A Nation Finds Its Roots In Historic Sites
Author Elmer L. Andersen

St. Paul's Stately Old Buildings - Going, Going, Almost Gone`
Author Georgia Ray Decoster

Old Federal Courts Building - Beautiful, Unique - Its Style Of Architecture Facing Extinction
Author Eileen Michels

Preservation Before Preservationist: The Beginnings Of Preservation In St Paul
Author Charles W. Nelson

Books


Spring 2001 Volume 36 Number 1
A 'Good Man' In A Changing World…
Cloud Man, The Dakota Leader, And Hi Life And Times
Author Mark Dietrich

Growing Up In St Paul - All For Under $11,000: 'Add-Ons, 'Deductions' - The Growing Pains Of Two Queen Annes'
Author Bob Garland
No back issues available
  

Winter 2001 Volume 35 Number 4
Attacked By A Starving Wolf - Four Sisters Of St. Joseph And Their Mission To St. Paul: Patience, Courage Joyfulness In A Crude Log Cabin

Author Sister Ann Thomasine Sampson, Csj
In November of 1851 four young nuns of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet arrived in the dreary hamlet St. Paul, invited there by Bishop Joseph Cretin. During the rest of that decade they established schools, a hospital, and an orphanage, taught children of many of the notable pioneer families, ministered to Indians, cared for victims of the 1854 cholera epidemic, and spread their mission work to St. Anthony and Long Lake. Their work lived on for many years in St. Joseph’s Academy (now the site of Christ’s Household of Faith) and St. Joseph’s Hospital. This article, drawn from the author’s book, Seeds on Good Ground, traces the lives of the four sisters from their origins through their fates after leaving St. Paul, plus the history of the order and its work in North America before 1851. It also offers details of life in St. Paul in the 1850s. Illustrated with five photos, two maps, and five drawings or paintings (including front and back covers.)

The Practical Millionaire - James J. Hill And His Oriental Rugs
Author Lou Ann Matossian
When Mary Hill died in1921 her estate included 116 oriental rugs used to furnish the Hills’ Summit Avenue mansion. James J. Hill’s obsessive record-keeping has permitted a considerable, though incomplete, summary of the collection – their origins, the dealers, their use and placement in the house, and their value. Only one and a fraction of these rugs remain in the Hill House.

Growing Up In St Paul - A Child With An 'Eye Problem'
And Memories Of The Vision Classes In The St. Paul Schools
Author John Larson
The author’s memories of growing up in the Merriam Park and North End neighborhoods in the late 1920s and the 1930s touch upon treatments for his eye disease, the local swimming hole and blacksmith shop, the end of Prohibition, his "vision classes" at Webster and Irving Schools, exploring the new Ramsey County Courthouse, and riding the streetcars.

Books
Andersen, Elmer L., A Man’s Reach (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), 2000[?].

Fall 2000 Volume 35 Number 3
Two Horses And One Buffalo Robe - The Ramsey County Attorney's Office And Its 150 Years: All Frailties Of Human Nature
Author Anne E Cowie

The Aches And Pains Of St. Paul Property Ownership: Taxes, Assessments And Fees Between 1856 And 1904: A Snapshot Of The Lives Of The Flanagan Family
Author Leo J. Harris

Was That Really Cloudman? The Pitfalls Of Research: Two Leaders Same Name

Books

Summer 2000 Volume 35 Number 2
Dilettante, Renaissance Man, Intelligence Officer –
Jerome Hill And His World War Two Letters From Frances To His Dearest Mother
Author G. Richard Slade

A Roof Over Their Heads - The Ramsey County 'Poor Farm'
Author Pete Boulay

Plans For Preserving 'Potters', Field' - Heritage Of The Public Welfare System
Author Robert C Vogel

Recounting The 1962 Recount - The Closest Race For Governor In Minnesota's History
Author Thomas J. Kelley

Books

Spring 2000 Volume 35 Number 1
The Two Worlds Of Jane Gibbs: The Gibbs Farm And The Santee Dakota
Author Julie A. Humann

Gummy, Yellow, White Flint Corn - The Dakota Garden At The Gibbs Museum
Author Janet Cass

The Gibbs Farm, Its Neighbor, The University Farm,
And How Both Of Them Influenced Minnesota's Agricultural History
Author William F. Hueg Jr

Growing Up In St Paul - Mystic Caverns And Their Short-Lived Glory Days
Author Ray Barton

Books


Winter 2000 Volume 34 Number 4

A Water Tower, A Pavilion And Three National Historic Sites -
 Clarence Wigington And The Historical Legacy He Left To The People Of St Paul
Author David V. Taylor

Architect To The Kings Of The Carnivals 'Cap' Wigington And His Ice Palace 'Babies'
Author Bob Olsen

Transplants From Europe Germans, Poles, Italians - Settlers On The Levee
Author Gregg Schach

Growing Up In St Paul - First A Tiny Stucco Starter Home;
Then A New Post-War Suburb Beckoned
Author Joanne Englund

Books
No back issues available  

Fall 1999 Volume 34 Number 3

"…No Time Or Sympathy For One Who Wouldn't  Work "Crawford Livingston, Colonel Chauncey W. Griggs, And Their Roll In St. Paul's History
Author John Lindley

Books

Summer 1999 Volume 34 Number 2

Escaping The Heat On A Hot Summer Night - The St Paul Figure Skating Club And Those Popular Summer Pops Concerts
Author Kathleen C. Ridder

Growing Up In St Paul - The Story If Life On The Farm In A Changing World With Changing Fortunes
Author Henry & Samuel Morgan

Two Who Were There Remember: How Ramsey County's Governance Moved Into The 20th Century
Author Thomas J Kelley

Spring 1999 Volume 34 Number 1
In The Beginning The Geological Forces That Shaped Ramsey County
And The People Who Followed
Author Scott F Anfinson

Handy With Pistols - Ramsey County's Territorial Editors

A Short History Of Ramsey County The Territorial Years And The Rush To Settle

Ramsey County Heritage Trees
Author Joe Quick

The Dakota Perspective 'We Have Been Cheated So Often
Author Mark Diedrich

Ramsey County History Preserved In Its Survey Office

Hardship & Struggle The Pioneer Years Of White Bear Lake

And The Township That Bears Its Name

Little Canada - Heritage From The French Canadians

A Pioneer's Early Memories - Farming With Flail And Cradle

The Great Horse Market Years At Prior & University

In North St. Paul Boom, Boom, Bust, Come-Back!

Winter 1999 Volume 33 Number 4
Timber, Steel, Law, And Politics -
St Paul's Pioneering Attorneys And Their More Interesting Cases

Author Samuel Morgan
"Never in the state of Minnesota has one group of lawyers made such a mark, not just on its own community but nationally and internationally, as did the founding partners of the firm of Davis, Kellogg and Severance." Two served in the U.S. Senate, two served as president of the American Bar Association, one won a Nobel Peace Prize, and the firm played a central role in important early anti-trust cases against Standard Oil and the Union Pacific Railroad and tax issues surrounding the iron mining industry of northern Minnesota.

What became in time the St. Paul law firm Briggs and Morgan began with Davis, Kellogg, and Severance and a Wisconsin partnership, Clapp and Macartney, in the 1880s. Separately, then together after their merger in 1960, these firms represented the giants of Minnesota industry and commerce, including Weyerhauser, 3M, H.B.Fuller, U.S. Steel, the Swift and Armour meatpacking companies, Cream of Wheat, Burlington Northern, International Harvester, and many others. This work put them at the center of the vital taxation, regulation, political, and commercial issues of the last century and more.

The author, a retired partner of the firm and son of its Morgan namesake, traces the firm from its origins to the present. His account includes a brief portrait of law practice at the turn of the twentieth century, the gubernatorial election controversy of 1962, the American Allied Insurance collapse of 1965, and others.

More About The Life Of Frank B. Kellogg
Author John Lindley
A one-page biographical sketch of the St. Paul lawyer, U.S. Senator, diplomat and ambassador, Secretary of State, international judge, and Nobel Peace Prize winner.


'300 African American Performers' The Great Cuba Pageant Of 1898: St. Paul's Citizens Support The Struggle For Civil Rights
Author Dave Riehle
In November 1898 the African American citizens of St. Paul and Minneapolis demonstrated their patriotic enthusiasm for the Spanish-American war with a remarkable theatrical pageant called CUBA. Written, directed, and performed entirely by black citizens, the pageant featured original music, scenes from an imagined Cuba, dances, even battle scenes. The author places the pageant in the context of the civil rights issues, local and national, of the time, including the controversy over performance of the cakewalk, a row that featured one of the pageant’s stars, the prominent attorney Fredrick McGhee. Detailed footnotes.

Growing Up In St Paul - Eleanor Joins The Family At The Fish Hatchery
Author Muriel Mix Hawkins
Muriel Mix grew up in the 1930s at the fish hatchery that long operated below the southern point of Dayton’s Bluff. One day an orphaned moose came to live at the hatchery and became a treasured family pet.

Books, Etc.
Shannon, James Patrick, Reluctant Dissenter – An Autobiography (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Co.), [ ].
No back issues available  

Fall 1998 Volume 33 Number 3
Banker & Philanthropist - Richard C. Lilly: The Man Who Led Two Lives
Author Virgina Brainard Kunz

Henry Bosse And Samuel Clemons As Mark Twain –
Parallel Lives On The Mighty Mississippi
Author Michael Connors

Books, Etc.
No back issues available  

Summer 1998 Volume 33 Number 2
A 'Wicked Looking Revolver' And $3,000 In Gold - F.R. Bigelow's Dash To France To Rescue His Family From The Guns Of August
Author Fredric R. Bigelow

A Win At Wimbledon In 1959 - Links, Courts, Lanes, Diamonds –
Ramsey County's Woman Athletes And Their History Of Success
Author Kathleen C. Ridder

Growing Up In St Paul - Porches Parties Around The Piano
A Year In The Life Of Mary Etta Manship
Author Margaret Manship

Spring 1998 Volume 33 Number 1
Stairway To The Abyss The Diverting Story Of The Cascade Creek
And Its Journey Under St. Paul
Author Greg Brick

Westminster Junction And Its Tunnels –
An 1880's 'Highway Intersection' For The Railroads
Author Andrew J Schmidt

The Story Of Rose Hanna And Her Journey From Old-World Palestine To St Paul
Author Rose Hanna As Told To Jean Hanna

The Upper Levee: Memories Of Its People And Its Place In St Paul's History
Author Joe Lepsche

Growing Up In St Paul - Dawn To Dusk:
Grand Hill And Its Grand Fourth Of July Extravaganza
Author Charlotte Mckendre Wright Lewis

Books, Etc.

Winter 1998 Volume 32 Number 4
A 'Launching Upon Journalistic Seas'
A Chronicle Of The St Paul Daily News - 1900-1933
Author James B. Bell

The Legend Of Sam Taran: Bootlegger And St. Paul's "Fighting Tailor"
Author Paul R. Gold

Growing Up In St Paul - From Amerika To America: Alma Crosses The Border
Author John W Larson

Fall 1997 Volume 32 Number 3
Speakers, Style Shows, And 12,000 Shoppers -
The Women's Institute And How It Revived Downtown St. Paul
Author Kathleen C Ridder

19th Century Technology And A Field Engineer's Canadian Travels
Author Robert F. Garland

Life In 1937's 'Home Of Tomorrow'
Author Brian McMahon

'A Beautiful, High-Minded Woman' Emily Gilman Noyes And Woman Suffrage
Author Rhoda R. Gilman

Growing Up In St Paul - A Childhood Revisited:
The State Fish Hatchery And A Collision Of The Past & Present
Author Muriel Mix Hawkins

Books, Etc.

Summer 1997 Volume 32 Number 2
Last Of Its Kind In Minnesota The Old Wabasha Street Bridge
And How It Linked East To West
Author Demian J. Hess

Millions Of Years In The Making - The Geological Forces That Shaped St. Paul
Author Edmund C. Bray

No Grass Beneath Her Feet - Harriet Bishop And Her Life In Minnesota
Author Norma Sommerdorf

Growing Up In St Paul - West Seventh Street:
Czechs, Slovaks, Bohemians, And Kolache Dough Rising In The Warm Attic
Author Emily Panushka Erickson

Books, Etc.
No back issues available  

Spring 1997 Volume 32 Number 1
The View From The 17th Floor - Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly
And Its 11 - Year History
Author Virginia L. Martin

Growing Up In St Paul –
The Milkman, The Iceman, And Ice Chips In The Sawdust At The Bottom Of The Wagon
Author Ruth F. Brin

Books, Etc.
No back issues available  

Winter 1996 Volume 31 Number 4
Rats, Politicians, Librarians -The Untold Stories Of The Old St. Francis Hotel
And The Rich Historical Legacy Of Seventh Place
Author Paul R. Gold

Growing Up In St Paul - Everyone Knew The Rules For The Rites Of Passage And The Transportation Was Mainly On Foot
Author Branda Raudenbush

When Euphoria Dimmed: X-Rays' First Victim –
William Henslin And His Missing Gold Crown
Author George McDonald

What's Historic About This Site? The St. Paul Building And Its 108-Year History
Author Deanne Zibel Weber

Books, Etc.
No back issues available  

Fall 1996 Volume 31 Number 3
Fires, Hurricanes, Diamonds, Elephants –
The Colorful History Of St. Paul Companies - Minnesota's Oldest Business Corporation
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz

Books, Etc.

Summer 1996 Volume 31 Number 2
From 'Part-Time Pick-Up' To Renowned Ensemble –
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra And Its First Ten Years - 1959 To 1970
Author Glenn Perachio

Minnesota's First Brewery: Yoerg's Final Years, 1933-1952
Author James B. Bell

Growing Up In St Paul - Grandfather Joel Larson - Swedish Immigrant - That 'Mysterious Stranger In Our Midst'
Author John W Larson

Spring 1996 Volume 31 Number 1
A Pioneer Child On Minnesota's Frontier –
Jane Gibbs, The 'Little Bird That Was Caught,' And Her Dakota Friends
Author Deanne Zibell Weber

Digging Into The Past: The Excavating Of The Claims Shanty Of Jane & Heman Gibbs
Author Thomond R. O'Brien

Growing Up In St Paul - Sam's Cash-And-Carry, The Tiger Store - Payne Avenue And The 1930's Depression
Author Ray Brown

Books, Etc.

Winter 1996 Volume 30 Number 4
Bonspiels, Skips, Rinks, Brooms, And Heavy Ice –
The St. Paul Curling Club And Its Colorful Century Old History
Author Jane McClure

The Bungalows Of The Twin Cities,
With A Look At The Craze That Created Them In St. Paul
Author Brain McMahon

Growing Up In St Paul - Down St. Albans Hill In A Wooden Coasterwagon
Author Arthur C. McWatt

Books, Etc.

Fall 1995 Volume 30 Number 3

After 108 Years, A Transformation -
Norwest Bank St. Paul And Its Heritage Of More Then A Century
Author James B. Bell

Banking In Minnesota's Unfetted Frontier –
When Barter Was The Only Name Of The Game In Town
Author James B. Bell

"Cheery, Refined And Comfortable" Episcopal Church Home Begins Its Second Century With Its 'Caring Services 'That Help The Elderly'
Author Maria Fotsch

Growing Up In St Paul - A Boyhood Resting On The City's Seven Hills –
But Once Upon A Time There Were Eight
Author John S Sonnen

Books, Etc.

What's Historic About This Site? The Blair Flats - Once The Old Angus –
High Victorian On Cathedral Hill
No back issues available  

Winter 1995 Volume 29 Number 4
St. Paul Underground – What Happened to Fountain Cave? 
Greg Brick 
Described as "a marble temple," issuing water so pure it resembled "a shower of diamonds," Fountain Cave was once one of St. Paul’s tourist attractions. In this meticulously researched article the author tells both the geological and human story of the cave – how it was formed, how people described it, used it, and abused it. Pierre Parrant used the water from the creek that ran through it to brew his popular moonshine, and at the creek’s mouth he built the first known residence in what became St. Paul, in 1838. The Omaha railroad turned it into a cesspit beneath its Omaha shops in 1880, and gradually the cave faded from public consciousness. The construction of Shepard Road in 1960 sealed the mouth of the cave forever. This footnoted piece includes five photographs, three maps, and three drawings or paintings, including the cover.

The Obscure Plaque on the Wall – Who Were the Boys from the Adams School? 
Paul D. Nelson 
A plaque at St. Paul’s Adams School is dedicated to "the Boys from The Adams School Who Sacrificed Their Lives" in World War I. Who were they and what happened to them? There were three, Enoch Spence, Theo Peterson, Jr., and Leon Machovec. All died of disease and only one, Machovec, saw combat. Their stories, and how their stories were uncovered, are told.

Money – And How They Fared When There Wasn’t Any Out There on Minnesota’s Frontier
Ronald M. Hubbs
A rumination on the commodities used for money in pioneer days, the depreciation of the 1850s and Panic of 1857, gold and the Dakota Conflict, and early banking.

 Growing Up in St. Paul – ‘Grandfather Durkee Was a Crusty Gentleman
Reuel D. Harmon 
Memories of Grandfather Durkee, growing up in St. Anthony Park, family lore of meteorites and the Dakota Conflict, performances at the old Metropolitan Opera House, and a letter of recommendation from Pierce Butler, Jr.

What’s Historic About This Site? B. P. Durkee’s French Empire House
A companion piece to the previous article. Grandfather Durkee’s house, still standing, is an 1870s French Empire mansion atop the West Side bluffs overlooking the flats and Mississippi River.

Book reviews
Raaen, Aagot, Grass of the Earth (St.Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press), 1994.
Douglas, Marjorie Myers, Eggs in the Coffee, Sheep in the Corn (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press), 1994.

Summer 1995 Volume 30 Number 2
Vision, Vigor, Earthbound Practicality –
The Friends Of The Library - A Powerhouse After Fifty Years
Author Virginia L. Martin

Growing Up In St Paul - Flexible Flyers, Trolleys To Wildwood
And The Wondrous Tree House On Grand Hill
Author Samuel Morgan

Books, Etc.

Spring 1995 Volume 30 Number 1

From Iceboxes To Freezers: The Story Behind The Seeger Refrigerator Company
Author James B. Bell

The Great Railroad Excursion Of 1854 - "The Most Notable Event Of The Year"
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz

Who Was Millard Fillmore? And What Was He Doing In St. Paul?
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz

Growing Up In St Paul - Gas Stoves, Gas Jets, Gas Lamps & Coal - Through An Open Chute In The Cellar
Author Freida Claussen

What's Historic About This Site?
The Benjamin Brunson House And The East Side's Railroad Island

Winter 1995 Volume 29 Number 4
St. Paul Underground- What Happened To The Fountain Cave –
The Real Birthplace Of The City
Author Greg Brick

The Obscure Plaque On The Wall - Who Were Boys Of The Adams School?
Author Paul D Nelson

Money - And How They Fared When There Wasn't Any Out On Minnesota's Frontier
Author Ronald M. Hubbs

Growing Up In St Paul - 'Grandfather Durkee Was A Crusty Gentleman
Author Reuel D Harmon

Books, Etc.

Fall 1994 Volume 29 Number 3
The Midway Chamber And Its Community –
The Colorful History Of An 'Unparalleled Feature' Of St. Paul
Author Jane McClure

Spill-Over: The Midway And The 'Farm' Campus

Growing Up In St Paul - Remembering: 'Towns Within' And Their People
Author Joanne Englund

Books, Etc.


Summer 1994 Volume 29 Number 2
Once Upon A Time- 'Tasteful, Elegant'
Lafayette Park And The Vanished Homes Of St. Paul's Elite
Author Marshall R. Hatfield

Growing Up In St Paul - Harriet Island And The 'Fearless' Popper
Author William D. Bowells, Sr.

How Good Were The 'Good Old Days' When Women's Work Was Rarely Done?
Author Tamara C. Truer

Books, Etc.

Spring 1994 Volume 29 Number 1
The Last Shots Of Two Wars The 'Fighting Saint' –
The U.S.S St Paul And Its Minnesota Connection
Author Tom Bolan

The Greatest Waterborne Invasion In History –
D-Day Remembered By Seven Who Were There

The Harlem Renaissance - 'An Age Of Miracles, Excess, Satire'
Author John S. Wright

Growing Up In St Paul - Yankeedom: Goal Of The 19th Century Immigrant
Author John W. Larson

Books, Etc.
No back issues available  

Winter 1994 Volume 28 Number 4

A Ninety Year Run - Giesen's: Costumer To St. Paul's Families And Festivals - 1872-1970
Author Virginia L. Martin

Growing Up In St Paul - A Grandchild's Journey Into A Swedish Past
Author John W. Larson

What's Historic About This Site? The House That Pedar Foss Built - New Brighton, 1896

Books, Etc.


Fall 1993 Volume 28 Number 3
A Case History Of Government In Action –
The Newly Restored, Newly Renovated City Hall & Courthouse
Author Thomas J. Kelley

What Is Art Deco?

A Short And Happy History Of Ramsey County And Its Two Earlier Courthouses
Author Dane Smith

Growing Up In St Paul - The Return Of The Cotters: A Family's Story
Author Dorothy Cotter Chaput

Summer 1993 Volume 28 Number 2

Old Fort Snelling: Its Birth, Death And Reincarnation
And The Story Of Fort Snelling State Park
Author Samuel Morgan

Colorful, Sometimes Contentious - St. Paul's 100 Year Old Neighborhood Press
Author Jane McClure

Growing Up In St Paul - Albert Fuller And The Family Business
Author Albert Fuller

Books, Etc.

Spring 1993 Volume 28 Number 1
…'And A Sprinkling Of Jews' Work And Faith And Minnesota's Jewish Merchants
Author Marilyn Chiat

Romance, Melodrama, Murder, Mayhem - The Novelist In Not So Fictional St Paul
Author Frances Sontag

Growing Up In St. Paul - Looking Back At The Black Community Part II
Author David V. Taylor

Books, Etc.

What's Historic About This Site? The Highland Park Water Tower And Its Architect Clarence Wigington
No back issues available  

Winter 1992 Volume 27 Number 4

Henry Bosse's Priceless Photographs And The Mississippi's Passage Into The Age Of Industry
Author John O. Anfinson

Draughtsman, Photographer, Artist - Who Was The Mysterious Henry Bosse?
Author William Roba

Growing Up In St. Paul - Looking Back At The Black Community
Author Eula T. Murphy With David Taylor

Charlotte Ouisconsin Van Cleve - Daughter Of Frontier Regiment - 1819
Author Ronald M. Hubbs

Jonas King - First Volunteer For The Union
Author Robert J. Strumm

 Matter Of Time - 1853, 1893, 1918, 1943. 1968

Books, Etc.

What's Historic About This Site? The George Luckert House –
The Oldest Still Standing On St. Anthony Hill

Fall 1992 Volume 27 Number 3
A Story O Change, Pride, Perseverance –
The Mexican Americans And Their Roots In St Paul's Past
Author Jane McClure

Whistles, Crowds And Free Silver - St Paul's Election Night In 1896
Author Thomas C. Buckley

Postcards: A Full Blown Love Affair
Author Robert J. Strumm


Growing Up In St. Paul - Polish Sausage And Trips On The Streetcar
Author Deanne Cherry

A Matter Of Time - 1852, 1892, 1917

Books, Etc.

Fall 1992 Volume 27 Number 3
What's Historic About This Site? St. Casmir's Church And Its 100 Year Journey Of Faith

Summer 1992 Volume 27 Number 2
The Junior League's First 75 Years –
Follies, 'Friendly Visiting' And Women's Changing Roles
Author Garneth O. Peterson

Hope Chests And Honeymoons - Marriages In America Still Wedded To Tradition
Author Tamara Truer

Growing Up In St. Paul - Father Begged Feed For His Animals
Author Margaret Manship

A Matter Of Time - 1852, 1892, 1917, 1942

Books, Etc.

What's Historic About This Site? The Cyrus B Cobb House In White Bear Lake


Spring 1992 Volume 27 Number 1
A Nationwide Sense Of Crisis - 1922 Shopmen's Strike In St Paul And The Northwest

Author W Thomas White

Fifty Years Later - A Survivor's Memories Of The Battaan Death March
Author Philips S. Brain, Jr.

Growing Up In St. Paul - Years Of Depression, Gangsters, Good Schools
Author Willard L. (Sandy) Boyd

Rediscovering St. Paul's Fish Hatchery - A 'Pretty Little Valley' With Idyllic Charm
Author Robert J. Strumm

The Earl Of Selkirk And His Utopian Dream
Author Ronald M Hubbs

A Matter Of Time - 1852, 1892, 1917, 1942, 1967

Books, Etc.

What's Historic About This Site? The St. Anthony Branch Library


Winter 1991 Volume 26 Number 4
St, Paul's First Shot Veterans –
The Crew Of The U.S.S. Ward And The Attack At Pearl Harbor

Author Jane McClure
The U.S.S. Ward, a destroyer, served in combat for precisely three years, December 7, 1941 to December 6, 1944. Manned by naval reservists from St. Paul, the Ward saw combat at Pearl Harbor ("We thought it was the end of the world."), Guadal canal, and the Philippines, losing only one crewman along the way. Disabled by a kamikaze attack, the ship had to be scuttled in the Pacific. Crewmen from the Ward fired the first shots in the war with Japan, sinking a mini-submarine an hour before the air attack on December 7. After the war, most of the St. Paul crewmen returned home to long and productive lives. With five illustrations and a bibliography.

Help, Housing 'Almost Impossible To Find' A Single Mother And World War II
Author Hilda Rachey
The trials of a young, single, working mother of two in St. Paul during World War II. She had to scramble time and again to find housing and child care (both often inadequate), deal with a temporary transfer, travel by foot and streetcar, and endure wartime shortages. "Our ration coupons allowed one pair of shoes a year for each person. No allowance was made for the fact that children’s feet grow . . . ." Only after the war did their conditions improve. Still, "If I could have my way, I would gladly go back and relive those days when the children were small and I had them with me." This is a well-written and rare memoir of the home front: with six photographs.

100 Years Of Helping People - Family Service And Its Legacy Of Leadership
Author Tom Kelley
The social service agency Family Service, Inc., began in St. Paul in 1892 and has lasted one hundred years. It began as Associated Charities, an information clearinghouse for the coordination of private charity for the "worthy poor;" in the 1910s it moved into relief and social work, with an emphasis on "the preservation of family life." The agency survived several wars, the Depression, periodic financial crises, and demographic changes to become and remain a full-service, private, secular social service provider. Strong leaders – notably James Jackson, Charles Stillman, A. E. Heckman, Dawson Bradshaw, and Ron Reed – have been very important. Once the mission became established, they stuck with the core mission while changing with the times. Thus Family Service has regularly added new services while discarding others, merged with other agencies, developed new sources of money, and grown in size and scope. The article is a condensation of the agency’s self-published history, A Legacy of Leadership and Service. With ten photographs.

Books, Etc.
Green, Anne Bosanko, One Woman’s War: Letters Home from the Women’s Army Corps (St. Paul: MHS Press, 1989.)
Litoff, Jody Barret, David C. Smith, Barbara Woodall Taylor, and Charles E. Taylor, eds., Miss You: The World War II Letters of Barbara Woodall Taylor and Charles E. Taylor (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990.)

What's Historic About This Site? St. Paul's Union Depot
It opened, in 1923, after the railroad age had peaked. The last passenger train stopped there in 1970. It has been searching for a purpose ever since. It is very fine nevertheless, "a simple, rather severe example of the Neo-classical style of architecture often used in public buildings during the first half of the twentieth century."

Fall 1991 Volume 26 Number 3
The 150th Anniversary Of The Naming Of The City –
St. Paul And The Rush To Settlement 1840 To 1880

Author Virgina Brainard Kunz
St. Paul’s earliest years recounted by the dean of Ramsey County-St. Paul historians. "As 1840 dawned, nine cabins were strewn along the bluffs that rose above the Mississippi . . . ." The essential information and vital characters are all here: Father Galtier, the chapel and the name, Phelan and Hays, Perry and Gervais; Louis Robert, Joe Brown, and Henry Jackson; the creation of Minnesota Territory; Harriet Bishop and Matilda Rumsey, et al. The demographics of settlement are covered, from the ousting of the Dakota through the arrivals of the Germans and Irish, among others; and St. Paul’s growth from swampy hamlet to genuine city, not forgetting the Swedish and Jewish and African-American contributions. We have the great builders, John Ireland and James J. Hill, statehood and Alexander Ramsey, St. Paul in the Civil War, the beginnings of the great local railroad industry. An excellent map places the early landmarks in the current landscape. With thirteen illustrations, this is a primer for anyone desiring an introduction to (or review of) St. Paul’s origins.

Who Was Pigs Eye Parrant, Anyway?
Everything that is known about St. Paul’s first settler – in less than two full pages. He was an illiterate, intemperate, ill-mannered and itinerant fur trader and whiskey seller who hung around Fort Snelling for a few years in the mid- to late 1830s. Exiled from the fort in 1838, he occupied two successive claims in what became St. Paul, and gave it its first informal name. By 1845 he was gone.

Forgotten Pioneer - Abraham Perry And The Story Of His Flock
Author Patrick R. Martin
The story of early settler Abraham Perry, written by a great-great-great-great grandson. Perry (born Perret) was lured from Switzerland to the Selkirk Colony in Manitoba in 1820. When that failed he and family came to Fort Snelling. A dozen years later the Perrys and others were expelled from fort surroundings and moved downriver near Fountain Cave. They were forcibly moved again in 1840. Perry died in 1849. Son Charles later settled near Lake Johanna in Arden Hills, raised a large family, and lived to 1904. His son William ran a "blind pig" that turned into a legitimate resort known as Perry’s Beach on Lake Johanna in 1898. It was famous for its popcorn fritters. "Through the three Perry men, the Perry name has become part of Ramsey County’s heritage."

What's Historic About This Site?
Highland Park's Reminder Of Its Past: The Davern And Colvin Homes

Author Robert J. Couser
Neighboring houses built by distinguished St. Paul families. William Davern came to St. Paul from Ireland in 1849. He farmed, became a citizen, served in the legislature, owned Pike Island for a while, and generally prospered. Son William and grandson Joseph became prominent citizens also. The article traces the ownership of and alterations to their 1862 farmhouse.
Alexander Colvin came from Canada to St. Paul in 1897. He was chief of surgery at Ancker Hospital from 1919 until his death in 1948. Sarah Tarleton Colvin was a nurse, suffragist, political activist, and member of the state board of education. The Colvins built two houses at 1175 Davern in 1909. "Today the homes of these early citizens serve as distinctive reminders of Highland Park’s past."

A Matter Of Time - 1851, 1891, 1916, 1941, 1966

Books, Etc.
Adams, Noah, Saint Croix Notes: River Mornings, Radio Nights (New York: Norton, 1990.)
Borchert, John R., America’s Northern Heartland: An Economic and Historical Geography of the Upper Midwest (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.)
Rangitsch, Monica, producer, Good Living Among Good People: A History of North St. Paul (North St. Paul Historical Society, 1991.)

Summer 1991 Volume 26 Number 2

Simpler Times, Obvious Virtues –
The Story Of The Little White School House On The Prairie

Author Harlan Seyfer
In 1966 the Ramsey County Historical Society acquired a one-room schoolhouse for its Gibbs Farm Museum. It was built in 1882 in rural Chippewa County and used until January of 1965.

The article traces the early history of Chippewa County school district #35, the building of the school, the relevant land transactions, and how Ramsey County Historical Society acquired it. Tales from school come mostly in reminiscences from seven who taught there and fifteen former students. They recall the conditions, the salaries, the programs, the games, the daily schedule, the chores, the lunches, all the stuff of a recently vanished way of schooling. With eight photos including the cover.

Dog Sled To Private Car: Peregrinating Hills
Author Thomas C Buckley
The James J. Hill fortune was based on transportation. Not surprisingly, the family used some of the money to travel by every means at hand. This article recounts many of their travels, by dogsled, rail, yacht and steamship, automobile, and even on foot, for business and for pleasure. "Even in today’s era of massive long distance travel by jet and auto, few can match the peregrinating Hills of the early twentieth century." With eight photos including the back cover, and a list of sources.

Walter Sanborn And The Eighth Circuit Court
Author Thomas Boyd
A six-page biography of one of Minnesota’s most distinguished lawyers. He came to St. Paul in 1870 to join his uncle’s law practice. He succeeded in private practice, served on the city council, and was appointed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1892. There he made his greatest mark in anti-trust law, voting to break up James J. Hill’s and J. P. Morgan’s Northern Securities Trust, then writing the opinion that ordered the dismantling of Standard Oil. "The Standard Oil decision was the first meaningful application of the Sherman [Antitrust] Act and Judge Sanborn’s opinion was widely hailed as a milestone that ushered in a new era." He died in 1928. His nephew, John Sanborn, followed him to the Eighth Circuit in 1932 and served until 1964. With four photographs.

A Matter Of Time - 1851, 1891, 1916, 1941, 1966

Books, Etc.
Hunter, Dianna, Hard Ground: The Stories of Minnesota Farm Advocates (Duluth: Holy Cow Press, 1990.)
Oakland Cemetery
(St. Paul: Oakland Cemetery Association.)
Bruckner, Sharon, project coordinator, Oakland Cemetery Records: Saint Paul, Minnesota (St. Paul: Minnesota Genealogical Society, 1991.)
Hancock, Jane, Sheila ffolliott, and Thomas O’Sullivan, Homecoming: The Art Collection of James J. Hill (St. Paul: MHS Press, 1991.)

What's Historic About This Site? First National Bank Of White Bear Lake
Built in 1921 in the Beaux Arts tradition, "this delightful classically-inspired building is an excellent example of how the older buildings which have added so much character to the downtowns of Minnesota communities can be adapted to new uses."

Spring 1991 Volume 26 Number 1

Small And Cohesive - St. Paul's Resourceful African American Community
Author Arthur C. McWatt
Notable people, organizations, businesses, trends, and accomplishments in St. Paul’s African-American community, 1910-1943.
1900-1910. Major institutions, such as Pilgrim Baptist and St. James AME churches and the Appeal newspaper (J. Q. Adams, editor) are well-established. Blacks have achieved entry into the police and fire departments, the legislature (J. Frank Wheaton), law (Fredrick McGhee), medicine (Valdo Turner and Thomas Cook), teaching (the Farr sisters). Business and community leaders also include T.H. Lyles, James Loomis, James Hilyard, and Harry Shepherd. The population in 1910 is 3144.
1911-1920. Population growth is slow. Employment prospects remain limited but are somewhat improved in meat packing and railroads. Rising figures include William and Nellie Francis, Clarence Wigington, Father Stephen Theobald, J. Louis Ervin. Important new institutions include the Sterling Club and the Afro-American Industrial League.
1921-1930. Growth continues to be slow, but more economic progress is made. The Pullman Porters Industrial Association and St. Paul Urban League are founded. J.Q. Adams is succeeded by Roy Wilkins as a strong editorial voice. Owen Howell creates the St. Paul Negro Business League. Despite progress, at decade’s end the median black family income is only 76% of poverty level.
1931-1943. The Depression takes a terrible toll. Cecil Newman and his St. Paul Recorder emerge as major figures. Despite hard times, "By the mid-1930s St. Paul had a substantial black business community made up of small stores, shops, restaurants, bars and barbershops." World War II helps a great deal, with jobs and later the GI Bill. "It was truly a take-off period in St. Paul’s economic history which few would soon forget."
With twenty photographs, including the cover, and a bibliography.


A Period Of National Tragedy - The Homeless And The Jobless In The 1930s
Author Virgina Brainard Kunz
The Great Depression in Ramsey County, seen in part through the experiences and words of A. E. Heckman. Heckman came to St. Paul in 1931 to lead the United Charities. In 1932, when the Depression finally took full effect in St. Paul, he headed a unique public-private partnership, running the county welfare board while being paid by United Charities. Government, private charity, and leading citizens and businesses worked together to provide relief. Heckman also directed WPA projects in the area (Kellogg Boulevard, the nine-foot river channel, the Harriet Island pavilion, among others) and initiated the "thrift gardens" program. Heckman returned to United Charities in 1935. Despite all the efforts, the county in 1936 paid out more in relief than it collected in taxes, and the Depression began to lift only in 1940.

A Minnesota Abroad - Alexander Wilkin And The 'Dumpy' Queen
Author Ronald Hubbs
Wilkin, a major early citizen, went to Europe three times, 1855-1858, and wrote letters home. Mostly he griped, though he did like Florence and big events involving dressing up: "I wore my uniform which was much admired . . . ." He met Queen Victoria, whom he found "short and dumpy with bad complexion and not in the least pretty."

Book Review
Marling, Karal Ann, Blue Ribbon: A Social and Pictorial History of the Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul: MHS Press, 1990.)
Eaton, Leonard K., Gateway Cities and Other Essays (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1989.)

A Matter Of Time - 1851, 1891, 1916, 1941, 1966

What's Historic About This Site? Woodland Park Historic District
A brief summary of the rise, decline, and revival of the neighborhood bounded by Marshall, Selby, Dale, and Kent streets. During its rise, 1880-1924, prominent citizens such as Judson Bishop, D. W. Lawler, and William Marshall built houses there.

Winter 1990 Volume 25 Number 4
Fire On The Frontier - Tradesmen, Merchants: The Men Who Ran With The Machine

Author Thomas J. Kelley
St. Paul’s first recorded fire occurred in 1838 – somebody torched Pierre Parrant’s lean-to. In 1850 the first Protestant church in the city, brand new, burned to the ground. Several fires later, in 1854, a formal fire company was organized. This article is the story of the creation and early years of what became the St. Paul Fire Department. For decades all fire companies were volunteer, semi-exclusive clubs that charged dues and held social events. They got their own uniforms, chose their names, and showed off. Little by little the city council was induced to buy more and better equipment. Still, in a city mostly made of wood, disastrous fires continued to occur and to spur improvements in fire protection. Cisterns were built, better fire engines purchased.
"At about the same time that new machines were being developed to stop fires, a dangerous new product for starting fires, kerosene, was becoming popular [1866]." The frequent lack of available water at fire sites led to agitation for a city water works. Population growth, catastrophic fires (several of them arson), improvements in equipment, and the expansion of the volunteer fire force all continued apace. By 1877 the city council, for so long so laggard in fire protection, decided to create a professional fire department. It ordered the volunteer companies disbanded. With twelve illustrations and a bibliography.

Christmas Myths, Memories And Our Pagan Past
The author reminds as that our Christmas traditions have varied origins, some pagan, some English, some commercial. "White Christmas" comes from an English custom of wrapping gifts for the poor in white. Thanksgiving marked the beginning of Christmas shopping season more than a century ago. "At this time of year, when tradition and memory hold us in such thrall, it is interesting to note how much a part of the past the present is."

The Mystery Of The Leaking Lake: Phalen Park And Its Almost - 100 Years Of History
Author Tim Koran
Phalen Park opened in 1899. Its history since then has been constant re-engineering and rebuilding, most of it having to do with controlling all that water. There has been dredging and damming; beaches have been closed and new beaches created; docks have been built, destroyed and replaced. Bathhouses, walkways, diving platforms, golf courses (the city’s first) have been rebuilt, moved, renovated. And then there was the leak. Until 1913 Lake Phalen supplied city water; then the water pipe was sealed. Forty years later the lake began to leak; only heroic efforts finally stopped the depletion. Pollution threatened the lake in the early 1970s, prompting still another round of drastic changes. This article tells the whole story of lake and park, from geological creation through the 1980s. With fourteen photographs and a bibliography.

A Matter Of Time - 1850, 1890, 1915, 1940, 1965

Book Reviews
Davies, Kenneth Maitland, To the Last Man: The Chronicle of the 135th Infantry Regiment of Minnesota (St. Paul: Ramsey County Historical Society, 1982.)

What's Historic About This Site? The West Side's Riverview Carnegie Branch Library
Endowed by Andrew Carnegie, built in 1916, and renovated in 1958.

Summer 1990 Volume 25 Number 3
An Excess Of Zeal And Boosters - Few Holds Barredin Twin Cities Rivalries

Author Virginia Brainard Kunz
A summary of the major struggles for dominance between Minneapolis and St. Paul: the Census War of 1890 (won by Minneapolis, but only after arrests, threats, extravagant cheating, and a recount); the 14-year battle for the State Fair; the baseball rivalry between the Saints and Millers, brought to an end only by the coming of major league baseball; water vs. rail – Minneapolis had its falls and St. Paul had the rapids that kept shipping from reaching Minneapolis. Then came the railroads – call it a draw; the competing stockyards, the competing airports, the fight for the Ford plant, downtown redevelopment. The hatchet has been buried, but it keeps escaping.

The Mississippi As St. Paul - Playground On The City's Door Step
Author Thomas B. Mega
This article reviews the pleasure uses of the river in St. Paul from Pig’s Eye’s 1838 grog shop through the RiverFest music events of 1988. From very early days there were pleasure cruises. There were camp meetings at Red Rock. The Minnesota Boat Club and Minnesota Yacht Club put on races, regattas, and picnics. Harriet Island, with its "public baths," zoo, and playgrounds was a huge attraction for many years, and other parks were built to take advantage of river views. There have been decades of decline, brought on by pollution, neglect, and the Corps of Engineers. Recreational renewal began in the 1970s, spurred by the cruise boat Jonathan Padelford and revitalization of the rowing and boating clubs. Riverfront Days, inaugurated in 1982, revived Harriet Island as a music venue. "The Mississippi riverfront, then, is enjoying a renaissance as a center for recreation in St. Paul." With ten photographs.

Mapping Minnesota 1697 To 1857
Reproductions of four historic maps featuring the upper Mississippi.

Lillie & Ida At The Fair
Author Karen Bluhm
Sisters Lillie and Ida Gibbs visited the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and wrote home about it. Lillie’s great-granddaughter reconstructs the event.

Book Reviews
Hansen, Eric C., The Cathedral of St. Paul: An Architectural Biography (St. Paul: The Cathedral of St. Paul, 1990.)
Hammel, Bette Jones, From Bauhuas to Bowties: HGA Celebrates 35 Years (Minneapolis: Hammel Green and Abrahamson, 1989.)
Hebert, Gareth, ed., Little Canada, A Voyageur’s Vision (Stillwater: The Croixside Press, 1989.)

A Matter Of Time - 1850, 1890, 1915, 1940

What's Historic About This Site?
Ramsey County's 'Poor Farm' Barn: Remnant Of A Rural Past

"For the thousands of people who pass the Ramsey County Fairgrounds each year, or call in at the county’s extension service offices, the majestic barn at 2020 White Bear Avenue is a landmark, a reminder of the county’s rural past, and much more."

Fall 1990 Volume 25 Number 2
The St Paul Foundation And Its Past Fifty Years

Author Virgina Brainard Kunz
The Saint Paul Foundation began in 1940 with nothing. Ten years later very little had changed. Thirty years later it was rich and helping other foundations find their way. How did this happen? This article follows the foundation’s history in detail: the hiring of the right people plus the patient (over a quarter-century) accretion of bequests eventually bore bountiful fruit. Many of the names in this story are little known, despite the big fortunes behind some of them.

Important donors included Annie Paper, Joseph and Lillian Duke, Laura and Ann Furness, Harold Bend, and Ralph Kriesel. Their bequests and others allowed the foundation’s assets to grow to the point where significant gifts could be made. Meanwhile, leadership gained in experience and knowledge. It started part-time with Louis Headley, then Charles Birt; then, in 1975, Paul Verret. It took 40 years for the foundation to reach a level of wealth and expertise where it could undertake significant grant making. At this time too, 1980, it "began providing a full range of services to other foundations and nonprofit corporations."

The foundation’s giving then focused on areas of particular local need – Southeast Asian immigrants, adult literacy, education of minority children and youth, public libraries, Pacific Rim economics, an Emergency Care Fund, battered women, the homeless, a Community Reinvestment Fund, AIDS, renovation of the Landmark Center and construction of the Ordway Center, and a host of others. By 1990 the Saint Paul Foundation had assets of $175 million and ranked in the top ten of community foundations nationwide. With fifteen photographs.

No Cash, No Credit, No Jobs - St. Paul And The Panic Of 1857
Author Ronald Hubbs
The nationwide Panic of 1857 shattered the booming – and enthusiastically speculating – St. Paul. This piece follows the crisis mostly through the pens of newspapermen, chiefly those of the Daily Minnesotian and St. Paul Advertiser. The editors watched and commented as a crash was rumored, then struck Wall Street, then made its way inexorably west. And these fellows could write:

If anything could take canture down from its credulous faith in it own prescience,
it would be the constancy with which the speculations of the philosophers are
contradicted by the eventual facts of human experience. There is no one so positive
as a political economist, and no one so blind.

They could lecture, too: "Every man owes it to the community to set an example of a methodical frugality in his style of living, to contract his expenditures to the smallest possible compass and to pay his debts."

They could also lament: ""Immigration with its vast aggregate hoard has ceased to flow and no longer scatters its golden seed. The future beckons us to its Elysian shore, but a Styx of bankruptcy rolls between." Banks closed, money dried up, businesses went under, great men were ruined, the wharfs went quiet. It took the Civil War to bring full recovery. This article teaches us not only about the Panic, but also about a style of newspaper writing now gone.

"West Against East in the Land of Oz,"
Hoisington, Daniel John, 
The author looks at The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a metaphor for the national east vs. west political struggle: gold vs silver, McKinley vs Bryan. "To Baum, the treacherous gold standard could be remedied only by silver – the heart of William Jennings Bryan’s platform." 
The metaphor is borrowed from writer Henry Littlefield.

Reshaping The River: The Man-Made Mississippi
The author compares the man-made Mississippi of today with the natural river. "If one of the colorful French voyageurs who once paddled the Mississippi could return as a time traveler, it is highly doubtful that he would recognize the river that was his highway."

Book Reviews
Fairbanks, Evelyn, Days of Rondo (St. Paul: MHS Press, 1990.)
Wilkins, Roy, Standing Fast (New York: Viking Press, 1982.)
Parks, Gordon, A Choice of Weapons (St. Paul: MHS Press, 1986.)
A Matter Of Time - 1850, 1890, 1915, 1940, 1965

What's Historic About This Site? Macalester's Old Main And Its First Century
Macalester College’s Old Main has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The author describes the building and the early days of the college.

Spring 1990 Volume 25 Number 1

Railroader As Yachtsman, James. J Hill And The Wacouta Of St. Paul
Author Thomas C. Buckley
In 1900 the meticulous and demanding James J. Hill bought a yacht. Not surprisingly, he chose carefully and had the thing done to the highest standards. He bought it used for less than the asking price and ran it cheaper than the previous owners, and still made it a vessel of stunning luxury and performance. Though the yacht never visited St. Paul and could not have done so, its operations and management were monitored in excruciating detail from Hill headquarters.
This article describes in detail the purchase, operation (including wages, uniforms, and menus), renovations, and voyages of the Wacouta, providing along the way insight into what it must have been to work for Hill (maddening.) Hill ran the ship mainly in the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River for fishing trips, and Atlantic coast excursions. On the fishing trips once the Wacouta had reached its destination "the yacht largely served as a floating packing plant." The Hill family sold the ship after the old man died in 1916. She went on to have an eventful life-after-Hill. See "The Wacouta in Two World Wars" below. With eight photographs and a bibliography.

Eugene V. Debs, James J. Hill And The Great Northern Railway Strike
Author Tamara C. Truer
James J. Hill rarely lost a battle or met an adversary he could not defeat. The 1894 Great Northern strike was an exception. When he tried to impose a third wage cut on his employees in the course of eight months, the men, under the leadership of Eugene V. Debs’s American Railway Union, went on strike. All of Hill’s union-busting tactics failed. "The victory [for labor] was swift and dramatic." Years later Hill said, "Gene Debs is the squarest labor leader I have ever known. He cannot be bought, bribed, or intimidated. . . . I know. I have dealt with him and been well spanked."

1940s Revisited
An eight-photo array.

The Wacouta In Two World Wars
Author Thomas C. Buckley
After James Hill died the family sold the Wacouta. Under three different names, Harvard, Athinai, and Palermo, it served as a World War I patrol boat, a Greek passenger ship, an Italian naval vessel, and a Mediterranean commercial craft. It was sunk twice, the last time in May of 1944.

Book Reviews
Gilman, Rhoda R., Northern Lights: The Story of Minnesota’s Past (St. Paul: MHS Press, 1989).
Roseville, Minnesota, The Story of Its Growth, 1843-1988
(Roseville: Roseville Historical Society, 1988).
Flanagan, John T., Theodore Hamm in Minnesota: His Family and Brewery (Minneapolis: Pogo Press, 1989).

A Matter Of Time - Timeline 1850, 1890, 1915, 1940, 1965

What's Historic About This Site? The Dahl House: The Last Of Old Lowertown
In 1858 Englishman William Dahl built a humble little house in St. Paul. One hundred and thirty-two years later, still humble and tiny, the Dahl House made it to the National Register of Historic Places "as the last surviving residence of the once-residential Lowertown district."
No back issues available  

1989 Volume 24 Number 2
A Pioneer Writes Home - Alexander Wilkin And 1850s St. Paul

Author Ronald M Hubbs
Alexander Wilkin, though tiny in stature, was one of St. Paul’s early giants. Lawyer, speculator, politician, adventurer, like so many he burned for fortune and glory on the frontier.
He got both, plus an early death in battle. Letters that he wrote to family in his home town of Goshen, New York, were recently found and donated to the St. Paul Companies, of which Wilkin had been the first president. They are excerpted here, and the author adds context.
In addition to his other talents, Wilkin also wrote well. Writing of an 1850 expedition along the St. Croix, he recorded that "we cooked some of our provisions and retired – not to sleep – for the mosquitoes constantly whispered in our ears that such a thing was impossible, and not expected of strangers at Wolf Creek." A Whig who had won appointment as Secretary of the Minnesota Territory, he appreciated the uncertainty of office. "I fear our party will be routed next fall. If so, off goes my head . . . ." Writing to his brother at a low point, he concluded, "This is a wicked country and I feel at times that it is necessary for me to be on my guard. If I do not get better I must get worse."
Wiling ran for Congress ("Should I run and be elected . . . that would give me a position that would enable to . . . make a fortune.") He lost, but sought his fortune in many other ventures: insurance (first president of St. Paul Fire and Marine); railroads (incorporator of two railroad companies that went nowhere); newspapers (a minority owner of the Daily Times).
The Panic of 1857 effectively put an end to the go-go ‘50s; Wilkin was wounded ("Money matters are growing worse all the time. I cannot borrow any money."), but got through it better than many. The Civil War gave him his last chance for glory. He commanded Company A of the First Minnesota and died in combat. His letters provide an invaluable insider’s view of St. Paul and Minnesota in the 1850s. With five illustrations.

Boom, Boom, Bust! The' 29 Crash
Author Woodrow Keljik
The author deftly sets the stage for the Crash. "Were the 1920s really prosperous?" In retrospect, signs of trouble abounded. Trouble on the farm, trouble in Europe, reckless speculation everywhere. Those who spoke words of caution or warning were deemed unsound. Another Republican victory in the 1928 elections encouraged the expanding bubble. The tumble began in early October; prices and confidence fell apace. "In St. Paul, for the first time [on October 24], brokerage houses were crowded until long after dark." On October 28, "the plug was pulled and the shares of America’s most prominent corporations went down the drain. . . . But worse was yet to come as the terrible Black Tuesday of October 29 dawned."  
 St. Paul at first held up better than many other places, bolstered by its insurance and government payrolls, "not affected nearly so severely by sharp declines in the demand for manufactured goods." Minneapolis fared worse. St. Paul built its new city hall and courthouse; the builder of the Foshay Tower went to prison, bankrupt. The full force of the Depression struck St. Paul in 1932. Every train brought more destitute men to the city. There were bitter strikes in Austin and Minneapolis. New Deal programs provided some amelioration. With four illustrations and a bibliography.

1989 Volume 24 Number 1
Minnesota' First Art School - St. Agatha's Conservatory And The Pursuit Of Excellence

Author Sister Ann Thomasine Sampson
The first of five pieces by the same author about St. Agatha’s Conservatory. This one concerns mainly the two Ellens, cousins Ellen Ireland and Ella Howard, better known as Mother Seraphine and Mother Celestine of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. They were born the same year, grew up together in Ireland and St. Paul, and joined the Sisters at the same time. Ellen Ireland rose to the position of provincial superior. As Mother Seraphine she appointed her cousin superior of the new St. Agatha convent, a community of teachers in downtown parish schools; Mother Celestine, in turn, persuaded her cousin to let her turn it into a music and arts academy in order to support itself. The academy opened in 1884.

 "Mother Celestine Howard and Her Provincial Mint," pp. 8-9.
A portrait of Mother Celestine, who founded St. Agatha’s and ran it for 31 years. Perhaps only in the Catholic Church of this era could a woman develop and exercise such an array of talents of organization and leadership. The convent and academy got no financial help from the Sisters of St. Joseph or the archdiocese. As superior, Mother Celestine had to run the institution financially, market its art and music classes, oversee the training of its sisters, set and maintain artistic standards, attend to the spiritual and temporal needs of the sisters, maintain the traditions of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and deal with the various parishes the sisters served as teachers. She died in 1915 at the age of 71.

 "Music, Art, Drama, and Dance – The Little Girls Had Long Curls," pp. 9-14.
What the Conservatory did and how it did it. Its peak years were mid-1880s to the late 1920s, when it met a growing demand for arts education for young people. It started in the rented Lick house, moved the larger Judge Palmer House, expanded, expanded, expanded, then finally built its own new building, six stories with a roof garden, which opened in 1910. The taught voice, piano, organ, and many stringed instruments, music theory, elocution, deportment, languages, painting, drawing, and more. For a while a china painting business flourished there. Sisters taught in parish schools by day, at the Academy evenings and Saturdays, a strenuous life of work and work. It was called the "provincial mint" because at its height it made so much money – in the 1920s as much as $1,000 a day. Talented sisters were sent to universities and abroad to improve. Distinguished musicians were brought in as supervisors. It was a full-service arts industry run by women pledged to a life of poverty.

 "A Day in the Life of – Obedience, Poverty and Ice in the Washbasins," pp. 15-18.
Daily life of the sisters at St. Agatha’s. "There was no such thing as a partial commitment." Their days began at 5:00 "to the sound of a large hand bell that was rung nine times," and were busily scheduled and regimented until lights out seventeen hours later. Those who taught only music and expression began their days two hours earlier! "The weekends, far from providing a period of relaxation, seemed to be filled with even more activities." It was work, work, work, but the sisters shared a vocation for which they had been trained. "The advantages were companionship, help from each other, shared experiences, professional guidance, . . . and participation in a center of culture and the arts. These overshadowed the disadvantages of austerity, regimentation, a dark and gloomy atmosphere, lack of finances, insufficient food, absence of comfortable furniture and equipment, and the downtown noise that surrounded the building."

 "Closing the Conservatory," p. 19.
The Conservatory’s heyday ended with the coming of the Great Depression. Then came war, the decline of downtown population, wear and tear on the building, and a host of other forces that combined to make it vestigial. It closed in 1962. "A cultural era in the history of St. Paul had come to an end."

Boats, Boaters And Boat Clubs - Slips Cost 10 Cents A Foot
Author Thomas J. Kelley
Two short pieces in one, centered around Navy Island: The history of the Minnesota Yacht Club and memories of the Minnesota Boat Club. The Yacht Club began in 1912 as the St. Paul Motor Boat Club to serve the needs of city pleasure-craft owners. A key function was to supply slips, but it was a social club too. Over time the slips moved from Navy (a.k.a. Raspberry) Island to the Holman Field area, to Harriet Island, and finally to the harbor north of Harriet Island dredged in 1962, where they remain today.
Attorney Thomas C. O’Brien was an early member of the Minnesota Boat Club, a social and athletic organization built around the sport of rowing. He wrote his memories in the 1930s – memories of balls, races, picnics, stunts, shinny games, and straw rides.

1988 Volume 23 Number 2
The Fire And Marine: Facts, Fancies, Legends - The First 100 Years Of Minnesota's Oldest Business Corporation

Author Ronald M. Hubbs
Frontier boom towns are great places to make money but they are also unstable. Businessmen generally prefer stability. Insurance provides stability. Hence the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company was born in 1853. Its creators were some of the city’s first big-shots – bankers, merchants, politicians, and real estate speculators, among them Alexander Ramsey, Charles Borup, Henry Rice, and Alexander Wilkin. Things started well, but the company went dormant just in time to avoid the speculative Panic of 1857. It awakened after the Civil War. New leadership in the person of transportation magnate James Burbank took over. He led the company through the Chicago Fire of 1871 ($142,000 in claims, equal to almost half the company’s assets, paid in full), expansion into 29 states and Canada, and the building of its first headquarters.
Burbank was succeeded in 1876 by Charles Bigelow; he ran the company until 1911 and his son Frederick until 1938! When the San Francisco earthquake hit in 1906, two company employees saved its records, "making it possible to adjust and pay losses." These losses amounted to $1,267,000, paid in full. In World War I the company insured property in London against losses from zeppelin attacks.
In part through the efforts of C.F. Codere (who started as an errand boy and succeeded Frederick Bigelow as president), Fire and Marine not only survived the Depression, it did so without lowering salaries or laying off employees. When marine losses were catastrophic during World War II, Codere said, "we shall continue writing war risks and if necessary the Fire and Marine will take a larger line."
The company has issued some oddball and seemingly dangerous risks – banks against theft during Dillinger’s heyday, a chicken against death by lion bite, an ostrich rider against falls, elephants against harm at the hands of college students. With 18 photographs and illustrations.

A Record Setting Winter - And The Ice Harvest On Lake Owasso
Author Neill J, O'Neill
As a lad in the mid-1930s the author worked three seasons harvesting ice on Lake Owasso in suburban Ramsey County. He recalls here in detail how the ice harvest worked – the equipment, the procedures, the job hierarchy, and the skills. "No ballet called for better timing as the packers alternately sailed heavy ice blocks smoothly across the icy surface to be packed in place." Pay came only after the harvest was done. "This . . . would usually be spent in the time-honored fashion set by lumberjacks, sailors and cowboys – all in one night. Contrary to popular opinion, none of us felt especially bad about it the next day." A priceless memoir.

Love And Marriage On The Old Frontier
Extracts from an address made by Edward Duffield Neill at Fort Snelling in 1889, about romances born at the fort in olden days. Characters include Zachary Taylor, Seth Eastman, Joseph Plympton, and others less known.

1988 Volume 23 Number 1

The American National Bank And The Bremer Brothers
Author Thomas J. Kelley
St. Paul grew at a reckless pace in the 1880s. There was money to be made in banking and many entered the field. In the Panic and Depression of the 1890s "the entrepreneurial bankers who opened banks with little experience and less capital were eliminated." The founders of the American National Bank, which opened in 1903, were men "indoctrinated . . . with great respect for solvency and liquidity." The founders were John Lockey, Benjamin Baer, Louis Ickler, Harry Humanson, Alice DuBord, and Otto Bremer.
Bremer was the key figure. He was the elected city treasurer and also treasurer of its biggest brewery, the Jacob Schmidt Company. Links between the bank and the brewery were strong and long. Bremer’s brother Adolf was married to Jacob Schmidt’s only daughter and president of the brewery. The two enterprises supported and bolstered one another through good times and hard.
Both bank and brewery had strong ties and interests in the rural hinterlands. The "country banks" there were intensely dependent on the farm economy, and when that economy went into steep decline after World War I those banks were in trouble. Otto Bremer and the American National Bank supported those banks, and by 1933 "he had a large or controlling interest in fifty-five banks in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Montana," though all remained separate from American. The Great Depression forced Otto to spend $2,000,000 to keep the banks afloat, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Brother Adolf had to step in; Otto’s debts were restructured to avoid any threat to American National Bank. In 1936 the brewery became a major investor in the bank. When Adolf died in 1939, Otto became president of the Jacob Schmidt Brewery. He died in 1951.
"Today the American National Bank is the largest commercial bank based in St. Paul with assets of $640 million." With seven photographs.

The Guild Of Catholic Women And Their 'Constant Efforts To Brighten Lives…'
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz
"The 20th century’s great social movements – suffrage, social service, prohibition and temperance – were reflected in the work of St. Paul’s women, including those in the newly-founded [1906] Guild of Catholic Women." Growing out of a group of thirty at St. Luke’s Parish, the Guild quickly became a busy and city-wide doer of good deeds. It organized a travelers’ aid society, housing for young Catholic working women, and the Catholic Infant Home. Members visited the sick, clothed the poor, found jobs for the jobless and shelter for the homeless. During World War I they sold Liberty Bonds and found graves for those who had died in service. During the Depression the Guild organized Girl Scout troops and orphanages and supported the Community Chest, the Red Cross, the House of the Good Shepherd, and Little Sisters of the Poor. Services changed with the times.
Early leaders included Emily Franklin Logue, Margaret Bischell McFadden, Anne Towey O’Toole, Mary Howard Breen Quinlan, Margaret McManus Walsh, Ellen Donovan Conroy, Mary Handran Hurley, Ellen Kennedy Jones, Margaret Walsh Kelley, Jeanette Robert Lamprey, and Katherine Louise Dunn Slater.

George Trout And The Corner Grocery Store
Author Karl Trout
A memoir from the son of a neighborhood grocer, filled with delightful details: how the commodities were delivered and sold; how customers tasted the butter before buying; "the Henry George 5 cent cigar was the people’s choice"; kids driving the proprietor crazy over a one-penny candy purchase; Uncle Charlie taking the "high-stepping mare Lady" out to call on customers, and on and on. There is neighborhood stuff too, such as how in winter the kids delighted in grabbing onto the farmers’ sleighs for a ride after school and the annual Grocers’ Day picnics.

Pay Days: The Millers And Saints
Author Stew Thornley
A brief summary of the century-long baseball rivalry between St. Paul and Minneapolis, featuring brawls, record-setting feats, famous names and unforgettable characters.

No back issues available  

1987 Volume 22 Number 2
Cattleman And Capitalists - And The Founding Of New Brighton

Author Gene Skiba
Two stories in one article: the founding of New Brighton and memories from the Beisswenger family, early settlers.
The town, in northwest Ramsey County, was the creation of Twin Cities businessmen hoping to make money in the cattle business. Seeing that others, including James J. Hill, intended to profit from the shipping and slaughtering of cattle in South St. Paul, these entrepreneurs, in alliance with the Soo Line Railroad, ventured to do the same nearer Minneapolis. The chose a location on the southern end of Long Lake, set up their stock yards and rail connections, organ-ized a town (1889) and named it New Brighton. The town existed before anyone (except the handful of area farmers) lived there. But people soon came and, as Americans did in those days, created their civic and social institutions – clubs, debating societies, town bands, and the like.
One of the pre-existing families was the Beisswingers, among the first to come (1883) and the first to stay permanently. Jacob and Caroline Beisswenger came from Germany to farm, and did so for many years, selling mostly vegetables to the people of nearby Minneapolis. They also raised five children and took in several more. Daughter Rose preserved many memories of life in the young village – of school, social life ("the dances were about the extent of entertainment"), local characters such as Mrs. Putzke, who "smoked a pipe carved out of stone," the Johnson family grocery store, and Mrs. Beisswenger’s Salve, made from pine resin, beeswax, and sheep tallow. With four photographs.

The Great Horse Market Years At Prior And University
Author John S Sonnen
In the late 19th century flesh-and-blood horsepower moved the city. In the early 1890s the street railway alone employed 800 equines. "From when, thence, came all the horses?" The Minnesota Transfer Railway, located in the Midway, hauled thousands of them, shuttling them between railroads, so a horse market developed there. And from that market arose its most successful and compelling figure, Moses Zimmerman. From 1896 into the early 1920s he built and ran a vast network, "buying and selling more horses than any other man in the Northwest." The business expanded eventually into real estate and army surplus. Zimmerman changed with the times, eventually even buying a car. "Yeah, I bought a car, but I never really liked it. Now, you take a horse – well, you get to know a horse." Annotated, with one photograph.

Boxing In Minnesota In The Postwar Era - The Fighting Flanagans
Author Scott Wright
Glen and Del Flanagan were the most successful local professional boxers of their time, hence probably of all time. This article traces their careers. Glen began his professional career in 1946, Del in 1947, and by 1948 both were fighting in main events and often. Del won his first 52 bouts. Glen retired in 1956 with a record of 80-23-12.
Del, who began as a lightweight, moved up to welterweight and had a fine career. He rose to 7th ranking worldwide in 1955 and missed a title fight with Carmen Basilio in 1957 because of a disorderly conduct conviction. In 1958 he beat welterweight champion Virgil Atkins in a non-title match, and would have had a chance at the title had Atkins not lost it to Joey Giardello. From then on, it was downhill. He fought often, but with less and less success. He retired in 1964 with a record of 104-22-2.

1987 Volume 22 Number 1
Diphtheria, Typhoid, Tuberculosis –
Roots Of Ramsey's Health Care Trace Back To Anker Hospital

Author Mary Alice Czerwonka
"St. Paul’s tradition of excellence in health care can be traced to an old stone mansion at the foot of Richmond Street that opened as the city’s first hospital more than a century ago." This article describes the history of Ramsey County’s public hospitals, 1873-1987. The star is Dr. Arthur Ancker, who took over the ‘old stone mansion" in 1883, and over the next forty years created a dynamic and much-admired institution. Dr. Ancker got a new hospital built in 1887, then presided over endless expansions and modifications – a nursing school, 1891; pathology lab, 1911, motor ambulance service (with the ambulance designed by Ancker himself), 1912; tuberculosis ward, 1914; and at least six expansions in space. The hospital for crippled children, later called Gillette Hospital, spun off from the there. From the City and County Hospital, later renamed for him, Ancker led public health battles against influenza, scarlet fever, diphtheria, and tuberculosis and other ailments and pressed constantly for higher standards of care. He died in his office in 1923.
Though there were stumbles along the way, especially having to do with political control of the hospital, Dr. Ancker’s legacy remained powerful. The hospital, especially under Dr. Thomas Broadie, who led it 1936-1967, continued to expand and improve. It added a diabetes clinic in 1935, heart surgery in the early 1950s, poison control in 1959, psychiatry in 1961, and a burn unit in 1963.
By 1954 it was clear that Ancker Hospital had become physically obsolete and too small. County leaders eventually chose a site near the new interstate highway for a brand new medical center, St. Paul-Ramsey County Medical Center, later Regions Hospital. It opened in 1965. There the traditions of public health and innovation continued – in burns, emergency medicine (a helipad opened in 1969), pediatrics, and research. There were also innovations in management, with the establishment of an independent hospital board of directors and physicians organized in Ramsey Clinic. With 34 illustrations, including front and back covers, but no annotations, unfortunately.

1986 Volume 21 Number 1
The Mississippi And St. Paul - Change Is Constant For River And The City That Shaped It

Author Paul Hesterman
"Today’s river is different from the mid-19th century’s river in virtually every way, from the contours of its banks to the chemical composition of its water to the variety of species which inhabit it. Within St. Paul, the Mississippi is an urban river, reshaped by the city that stretches along it."

This article looks at the river in eight sections.

The Changing River. The Mississippi as it was in its natural state and the many changes made by the hand of man in the last 150 years – filling, damming, building, and polluting.

The Working River. The river and the human economies that have used it, from the Dakota to the present.

Government and the Riverfront. The role of local government in riverfront development and transformation. "Most riverfront development, then, has been in part the result of the use of government to further economic development."

Diversity of Economic Uses. "[T]he river and its valley have been economic resources in a bewildering variety" of ways in addition to transportation. These have included logging, waste disposal, electrical power, and brewing.

Working on the River. "The experiences of people working on or near the river have been as diverse as the economic uses of the river and the river valley."

Neighborhood River. "As people have built the city and its neighborhoods, the river and its valley have played a peculiar double role in defining the nature of St. Paul’s neighborhoods." The wealthy progressively moved away from the river, while the poor congregated near it.

The Recreational River. "The river valley’s role as a recreational resource . . . has been as complex and shifting as its economic role." From whiskey selling to religious revivals to rowing to fishing to beer brewing and drinking to cross country skiing. Pollution severely reduced recreational use; cleanup, park building, and changing attitudes have increased such use again.

Annotated, with 16 photographs including the cover.

1985 Volume 20 Number 3
Farming In The Shadow Of The Cities:
The Not So Rural History Of Rose Township Farmers, 1850-1900
Author Kendra Dillard

Growing Up On Dayton's Bluff - A Turn Of The Century Boyhood
Author Karl Trout
No back issues available  

1985 Volume 20 Number 2
Health Care Crisis Of The 1920's -
A 'National Epidemic' Launches Blue Cross And Blue Shield

Author Gary Phelps
"The story of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota … represents one of the most amazing developments in non-profit health care in the United States." In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the nation experienced a health care crisis: millions could not afford medical care, resulting in empty hospital beds and untreated illness. Existing medical and hospitalization insurance plans were scattered and inadequate.

In 1932 the Hospital Service Association of St. Paul formed for the purpose of operating a nonprofit prepaid hospitalization plan along the lines pioneered in Dallas by Justin Kimball. The most prominent pioneers in St. Paul were Drs. Peter Ward and Arthur Calvin, and the association’s first manager, E.A. van Steewyk. The association began with capital of $857, and a basic annual premium of $9.00. Contract 1, Group 1, was taken out in July 1933 by the employees of the St. Paul Union Stockyards. In 1934 van Steewyk chose a "blue Greek or Geneva cross, a symbol of relief for those struck by disaster" as the association’s logo. Five years later it became the national symbol of pre-paid hospitalization plans.

In 1935 the association and a group of Minneapolis hospitals merged their plans into the Minnesota Hospital Service Association, with headquarters in the Midway area of St. Paul. By the end of 1936, deep in the Depression, the new organization was making a profit. It was also helping keep local hospitals solvent. Duluth hospitals joined in 1938.

The Minnesota setup became a national model. Van Steewyk left for Philadelphia in 1939, replaced by Dr. Calvin. In 1940 the number of participating hospitals reached 75, the number of subscribers, over 380,000. Growth continued through World War II and after.

Hospitalization coverage was known at Blue Cross, for the logo. In 1945 and ’46 came Blue Shield, a plan for the prepayment of medical expenses, pioneered in Minnesota by Dr. I.O. Sohlberg and Richard Cranmer, and attorney F. Manley Brist. The two organizations were separate but cooperated with one another. Blue Shield grew very fast. The two companies survived various stresses – some with each other – and both reached about a million subscribers by 1960. By this time, though, the two had parted ways and become competitors. Under Richard Crist, Blue Cross prospered in the 1960s and outgrew its St. Paul headquarters; it moved to Eagan in 1970.

In that decade things went badly for Blue Shield. Due in part to computer problems, it fell into insolvency in 1969. Blue Shield approached Blue Cross for help. The two organizations completed a merger in 1972. The company lost a huge amount of money in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, but returned to profitability in 1984. Annotated, with 18 illustrations.

1984 Volume 20 Number 1
Horse - And - Wagon Dairyman Harry Schroeder's Dairy

Author Cathy Daglish
Henry Schroeder was a hard-luck young German who came to St. Paul, penniless, in 1875 from Iowa. A century later the business he created had annual sales of $20 million. Schroeder’s dairy was part of what later became known at urban fringe farming.

Schroeder, soon along with his brother Herman, began their dairy farm on swampy land in what is now Maplewood. Soon they established milk routes, selling their mile and surplus milk they bought from others. They bought more land and expanded. Henry married a neighbor, Anna Schwartz, 17 years younger than he; together they had seven children. The business prospered – expanded, built many buildings, modernized, and employed many workers, lots of them German-speaking immigrants. A fire destroyed everything – 20 buildings -- in 1921.

Schroeder, now in his 60s, started over. He had new buildings up and operating the next year, when fire struck again. And Schroeder rebuilt again. In 1927 he installed a pasteurization plant and began calling his product "Safe for Baby Milk." He had the best herd and the most modern operation in Ramsey County. But the Depression was hard on the business. Henry Sr. turned over day-to-day operation of it to Henry Jr. in 1934. Rising costs also made turning a profit progressively harder. Another fire hit in 1939. The company went out of the home delivery business. Near the end of the Depression the company was down to two employees. It had become a small family business again.

Henry Schroeder, Sr., died in 1943. His twin grandsons Bob and Bill, age 18, soon took over management of the business. They turned it into a large, industrial business, buying milk from large farms and co-ops, bottling it, and supplying it to grocery stores. The Schroeder family still runs it. With 23 photos and several anecdotes.

No back issues available  

1984 Volume 19 Number 2
The Minnesota Club: St Paul's Enterprising Leaders And Their 'Gentlemen's Social Club'

Author Robert Orr Baker
The Minnesota Club came into being in St. Paul in March of 1869. Among its 75 first members were some of the great figures of Minnesota history, including Henry Sibley and Norman Kittson. Its first headquarters was the pillared Presley mansion in old Lowertown. The place had a "refreshment room" with bar, a card room, a billiard room, and a reading room. Activities were apparently sedate – "no boisterous mirth, no unseemly language …." Membership was by invitation only, subject to a vote. It was a men’s social club for the elite.

The nationwide Panic of 1873 nearly did the club in (as it did the St. Paul Club, a similar institution with several of the same members.) It closed in 1875 and remained closed until revived in 1884, mostly through the efforts of Stanford Newel, a lawyer, a Harvard and Yale graduate, president of the Pioneer Press Co., James J. Hill’s closest chum, and "the quintessential club man among these early entrepreneurs."

Members of the new Club made up an extremely powerful group, for they included Hill, Kittson, Sibley, William Merriam, Conrad Gotzian, Richards Gordon, David Shepard, Amherst Wilder, and Lucius Ordway. They built a new club house at Fourth and Cedar. Cass Gilbert was given the task of furnishing it.

The club grew from105 members in 1884 to 412 fifteen years later. A new headquarters was needed, and in 1909 the site of the Metropolitan Hotel, at Fourth and Washington was chosen. The new club building opened in late 1915. Designed by Clarence Johnston, the building featured two billiard rooms, a gymnasium with squash and handball courts, a bar, and two dozen sleeping rooms. Women had a separate entrance and, though none were members, their own lounge and dining room. Famed brothel owner Nina Clifford had her establishment nearby, giving rise to many stories about possible links between the two pleasure palaces.

Unlike the Panic of 1873, the Great Depression did not terribly affect the Minnesota Club. Saturday lunches for executives were suspended for several years, then reinstated, with great success, in 1948, each lunch having a business sponsor. "The luncheons are an indication that St. Paul business and government people are willing to meet together and talk about how to make their community better."

The club house was expanded in 1964, adding a new dining room, men’s grill, cocktail room, and air conditioning. The club endured a crisis in 1973 when a proposal to move it initially won membership approval. A Save the Minnesota Club movement eventually reversed the decision. In 1974 many of the club’s rooms were given names honoring distinguished members from the past.

The Minnesota Club gradually became less of a private gentlemen’s club and more of a semi-private civic organization. The billiard tables, bowling alley, steam baths, and Saturday poker games disappeared. It became a popular venue for meetings and receptions of all kinds. More than 10,000 people used it in December 1981. "The Minnesota Club has transited its first century with ease and is entering a second century that seems to offer a glittering future." With 11 illustrations and a list of club presidents.

1983 Volume 19 Number 1
The Como Shops - Transformed Into Bandana Square

Author Nancy Tracy
In 1877 the Northern Pacific Railroad moved its headquarters to St. Paul from Brainerd, but kept its "shops" – repair and maintenance facilities – in Brainerd. Soon, though, it began acquiring land in St. Paul and in 1885 opened its Como Shops, near what later became the intersection of Lexington and Como Avenues, for the service of its passenger equipment. Construction began in 1884 and the Como facility definitively took over the Brainerd functions after a fire there in April 1886.

The new facilities included a machine shop, a blacksmith shop, paint shops, woodworking shops, upholstery shops, office and storage space, and a power plant. All of the main buildings (there were five) were brick except the frame freight car maintenance building. Many buildings were added over the next 35 years as the railroad improved and increased the shops’ capacities. "In all of these later buildings and additions there was an admirable attempt to blend the new construction with the old, architecturally." Nothing new got built after World War I, and after World War II the shops declined.

Eventually the city and its Port Authority bought the shops and saved most of what remained. Many buildings were rehabilitated for new uses, and the effort goes on.

Annotated, with 12 illustrations including the cover.

Swamps, Farms, Boom Or Bust - Como Neighborhood's Colorful History
Author Patricia Murphy & Gary Phelps
"Before construction of the [Como] shops, the Como neighborhood was an undeveloped area of timberland, swamps, a few farms, and a few institutions, charitable and otherwise." Lake Como was probably named by early settler Charles Perry. Land developer Henry McKenty built the first road to the area in 1857; resort hotels were built soon after, and a railroad line nearby in 1862. The city began extending streets to the area in the 1870s.

Planning for a park began also in the 1870s, though genuine landscaping did not take place until the 1890s, under Frederick Nussbaumer. The Ramsey County Poor Farm and Minnesota State Reform School were both built nearby in the 1860s, and the Ramsey County Workhouse and the House of the Good Shepherd were added in 1880s. Hamline University moved to the area in 1880. Work on the Northern Pacific’s Como Shops began in 1884. By 1888 two hundred people were working there. The St. Paul Foundry Company built a large plant east of the lake, and the John Martin Lumber Company and Crex Carpet Company located in the area too. Koppers Coke built a plant just south of Como Park in 1916.

Residential development took off in the 1880s. There was a 52-acre development southwest of the lake named Warrendale for one of its investors, Carl Warren. Streetcar lines reached the area in 1892. The national Depression of 1893 slowed development until the 20th century.

A radical transformation of the area occurred in the late 1970sand early 1980s:

The Koppers plant and the Como Shops closed, Midway Stadium (built in 1953) was razed, and the city created Energy Park. Annotated, with seven photographs.


No back issues available  

1982 Volume 18 Number 2
Tom Lowry And The Launching Of The Street Railway System

Author Goodrich Lowry
‘Twas ever thus: Public mass transportation does not pay for itself. In St. Paul it began with horsecars in 1872 and failed twice in the first ten years. Cable cars came along in 1885 and served mainly to increase debt. Work began on conversion to electric-powered cars in 1890. Minneapolis businessman Thomas Lowry took control of the city railway in 1882 and held it until his death, with a variety of investors and persistently heavy debt. He also controlled the Minneapolis system. In order to raise the huge sums necessary to convert to electric power, Lowry merged to two city systems into Twin City Rapid Transit in 1891. The company became profitable only at the end of the 19th century. In the early 20th century it expanded to Lake Minnetonka on the west and White Bear Lake to the east, where it built the Wildwood amusement park. Lowry died in 1909, the streetcars died in 1954, and Twin City Rapid Transit expired in 1970. Seven photos and two other illustrations including the cover.

Colorfully Critical: Newspapers And The Horsecars Of The 1870's
Author Denis Murphy
Horsecar service in downtown St. Paul commenced in July of 1872, running from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at a fare of five cents. Problems began right away. Demand strained capacity. In winter, snow forced conversion to sleighs. In spring, mud buried the tracks. Lack of capital prevented improvements. The nationwide financial Panic of 1873 hurt business. The company reorganized in 1875 and improved service, but the service area remained confined to downtown. Financial problems persisted and the St. Paul Street Railway company went under in 1878, replaced immediately by the St. Paul City Railway company. With citations and seven illustrations. The article is based on contemporary accounts and commentary from the St. Paul Pioneer newspaper.

St. Paul's Fire Insurance Patrol - Gone But Not Forgotten!
Author John Sonnen
From 1895 to 1939 the Fire Insurance Patrol raced the fire department to fires with the sole mission of salvaging as much property as possible from fire danger. Authorized by the Legislature but privately financed, the Fire Patrol had some memorable escapades. Declining fire losses due to improved prevention eventually made it redundant. Three photographs.

1982 Volume 18 Number 1
The St. Paul Public Library An Its First 100 Years

Author Gary Phelps
A straightforward history of the city library system from its origins into 1982.
The library movement began with the German Reading Association in 1854, the Mercantile Library Association in 1857, and the YMCA. The city took over only in 1882 after state legislation authorized taxpayer support. Then followed years of struggle to build collection and clientele, find and keep suitable space, and maintain financial support. The crucial years were 1913-1917. James J. Hill and David Shepard pledged enormous sums for a new downtown library; the Market House fire destroyed the then-current central library and most of the collection; the new downtown library opened; Andrew Carnegie sponsored the building of the first three branch libraries; and collections and patronage boomed.
The succeeding decades saw a series of declines and revivals: stagnation in the 1920s, decline during the early Depression, a brief revival cut short by World War II, good times and expansion in the immediate postwar, stagnation again in the 1950s with the coming of television. Then came 20 years of decentralization, expansion, and modernization. The article concludes with a description of recent initiatives, fund-raising, and the work of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. Fully end-noted and illustrated with 14 photos and other images.

1981 Volume 17 Number 2

The St. Paul Farmer's Market - A 130 - Year - Old Tradition
Author Rosmary Palmer

Swede Hollow: Sheltered Society For Immigrants To St. Paul
Author Mollie Price
No back issues available  

1981 Volume 17 Number 1
The City Hall - County Courthouse And Its First Fifty Years

Author Diane Smith
Ramsey County’s first courthouse went up in 1851; it was made of brick and designed by an amateur for a frontier town. The first city hall was built near Rice Park in 1857. It had a tower and a clock that sounded every hour.

The courthouse lasted until 1889, when it was replaced by a grand, Richardson Romanesque building designed by St. Paul architect Edward Bassford. Made of Kasota limestone, its clock tower rose to 260 feet. The laying of the cornerstone was a huge civic event. Thirty-five years later the building was judged obsolete and "an architectural mistake."

In 1928 voters approved spending $4 million to replace it. St. Paul lawyer William Oppenheimer led the planning as president of the United Improvement Council.

The Council decided that the new building "should be planned from the inside out," so that its governmental function should be paramount, and that architects should be hired rather than a design competition held. Holabird & Root of Chicago and Thomas Ellerbe & Co. of St. Paul were chosen. The Depression lowered the cost of many aspects of the building, permitting the use of "construction materials and decorative materials of unparalleled opulence," including rare woods from all over the world, marble from Belgium, Italy, France, and Greece, and Carl Milles’s Mexican onyx "God of Peace" statue. The Council wanted a contemporary building, so the reigning Art Deco style was chosen. The final product was and is "a stunning example of innovative public architecture from the Depression era."

The building opened in 1932. The old courthouse came down in 1934 (though the land upon which it stood was not sold, in part because of the Depression, until 1951.) Annotated, with seven photos.

The Trademarks of Classic Art Deco 

Six photos of Art Deco interior features of the Ramsey County Courthouse.

God Of Peace: Miles' 'Finest Creation In Stone'
Author Dane Smith
The original interior design of the main hall of the Ramsey County Courthouse left a space the architect Thomas Ellerbe felt "appeared to cry out for an unusual imaginative treatment . . . a piece of colossal art in the form of a sculptured object, a human figure, elongated to fit the space." William Oppenheimer, head of the building commission, suggested a war memorial. John Root of Holabird & Root suggested the Swede Carl Milles. Milles, a pacifist, insisted that his work celebrate not war but peace.

He won the commission on the condition that he produce a design acceptable to the public.

Milles’s first three designs – an apostle St. Paul, a Father of Waters, and a young soldier, nude, returning from war -- were rejected. Milles then disappeared for months before returning with a design based on a Ponca Indian ceremony he had seen in Oklahoma. The commission approved this design in June 1933. It was called God of Peace.

The stone, onyx, came from Mexico, and the actual cutting was done by St. Paul stone carver Giovanni Baptiste Garatti and his crew of 19. The statue was unveiled, amid great ceremony, in May 1936. "The reaction from art critics nationally and around the world was uniformly congratulatory."

No back issues available  

1981 Volume 16 Number 2
Beer Capital Of The State - St Paul's Historic Family Breweries

Author Gary Bruggemann
In 1887 twelve breweries operated in St. Paul and 112 in Minnesota as a whole. Why so many? "Minnesota had one of the largest German concentrations in the country and St. Paul had the largest German population in the state." St. Paul also had barley and hops-growing regions nearby, plenty of good water, and cool caves for aging.

The city’s first brewery was Yoerg’s, established in 1848. Anthony Yoerg, a Bavarian, started brewing near Seven Corners, then moved to the West Side bluffs in 1871. It developed into a modern, high volume brewery by the end of the century, producing 35,000 barrels a year in 1891. The Yoerg family ran the business until its end in 1952. Martin Bruggeman, a Prussian, started his St. Paul brewery not far from Seven Corners in 1853; in 1872 he moved his operations across the river, a shot distance from Yoerg’s. Unlike Yoerg’s, Bruggeman’s remained a small operation, but also profitable. Martin Bruggeman died in 1897 and the brewing company in 1900.

The North Mississippi Company also began operations in 1853, near the current corner of Shepard Road and Drake. Though founded by someone named Rowe, it was purchased in 1859 by a German, Charles Rausch. He did not prosper, and sold it to F.A.Renz in 1865. He sold it in 1871 to Frederick Banholzer and son William. William made it profitable, raising production to 12,000 barrels a year. But William died youngin 1897, and the brewery closed soon thereafter.

Dominick Troyner founded City Brewery in 1855. By 1865 control of it had passed to another German, Frederick Emmert, and he quickly moved it to second place in local production. "During the 1890s, the brewery specialized in catering to the large saloon district on Eagle Street." Emmert’s sons sold the brewery to Hamm’s in 1901.

Christopher Stahlmann’s Cave Brewery began operations on Fort Road in 1855, to make use of the springs and caves beneath the property. By the late 1870s he had the largest brewery in the state. He died at age 54, in 1883, a wealthy and well-respected citizen. All three of his sons and heirs died young, too, and all of tuberculosis; the company went bankrupt in 1897.

North Star Brewery was founded by non-Germans Drewery and Scotten on Dayton’s Bluff in 1855. By the 1880s it was shipping 16,000 barrels a year. Jacob Schmidt, a Bavarian brewer, took control of it in 1884. When fire destroyed the Dayton’s Bluff facilities in 1900, Schmidt took over the old Stahlmann works. When Schmidt died in 1911, his son-in-law Adolf Bremer took over. The Bremers ran the business until 1951, when they sold it to Pfeiffer.

Andrew Keller, another German, opened the Pittsburgh Brewery at Swede Hollow in 1860 and sold it in 1864 to Theodore Hamm, a native of Baden. By 1882 Hamm had transformed it into a modern company turning out 26,000 barrels annually. His son William ran the business from 1891 to 1931; his son William, Jr., ran it until 1960. Hamm’s was sold in 1975 to the Olympia Brewing Corporation, "thus bringing to a close the 128-year history of St. Paul’s family breweries." Annotated, with nine photographs including the cover, and two other illustrations.

Montgomery Schuyler Takes On 'The West'
Author Patricia Murphy
In 1891 architecture critic Montgomery Schuyler published an article in Harper’s Magazine entitled "Glimpses of Western Architecture: St. Paul and Minneapolis." He wrote about nine buildings in St. Paul: the Ryan Hotel, the Dayton Ave. Presbyterian Church, the Pioneer Building, the courthouse, People’s Church, the Endicott Building, the Bank of Minnesota, the Chamber of Commerce Building, and the New York Life Insurance Building. He liked some of St. Paul’s residential districts: "there is nothing to be compared with the massing of the handsome houses of St. Paul upon the ridge above the river." He wrote perceptively about the rivalry between the two Twin Cities, and concluded that a "national architecture" might soon emerge. Annotated, with three illustrations from the original article.

1910's "One-Horse' Gladstone Recalled
Author Lucile Arnold
A memoir of the vanished hamlet Gladstone, along Frost Avenue in what is now Maplewood. The author recalls her two-room schoolhouse with its belltower and spiral fire escape, swimming in Gladstone Lake, her childhood games, the frequent railroad traffic and streetcar service, Mrs. Selover’s Sunday School, and more.
No back issues available  

1980 Volume 16 Number 1
Oakland Cemetery: A Safe And Permanent Resting Place

Author Robert Orr Baker
St. Paul’s first cemetery adjoined the little Chapel of St. Paul on the river bluff. It was soon too small, so a second, then a third, then a fourth were put in use. By 1850 the newspapers were editorializing for the city to dedicate a suitably large site for common use. In 1853 the Oakland Cemetery Association was formed, with Alexander Ramsey its president. The Association bought 40 acres at the current site, for $40 per acre. The city and county purchased a few acres for burial of the poor. The Association added the nearby graveyard of Christ Episcopal Church in 1864 and then bought the land between the two, adding 30 acres to the site. More land was added in 1904, incorporating Zion Cemetery, and 1907, bringing total acreage to 100. The cemetery has been run by the Association, which consists of lot owners only, for all of its existence. Many prominent citizens have served on its Board of Trustees.

Land was set aside in 1864 for an all-faiths chapel; construction began in 1883; this chapel was replaced in 1924. The landscaping of the cemetery was designed by Horace Cleveland, who designed also Lakewood Cemetery and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The first mausoleum went up in 1892, though no above-ground interments were permitted until 1905. Wall crypts, lawn crypts, and niches were added starting in 1970. Graves were dug by hand until 1964.

Notable features include Soldiers’ Rest, the Firefighters’ Monument, the Odd Fellows’ Monument, the Major White/Loyal League Monument, and the "Lord Is My Shepherd" Monument.

Many locally famous people are buried in Oakland, among them: Alexander Ramsey, Henry Sibley, Harriet Bishop, Elias Drake, Charles Flandrau, Norman Kittson, William Marshall, William Merriam, Henry Rice, Willis Gorman, Charles and Frederick Bigelow, Amherst Wilder, and A.G. Bush. "Oakland is a record of and a repository for an important part of the history of the city and the county." With 18 photographs including the cover.

"Map of Oakland Cemetery," pp. 12-13.
A map of the cemetery with 16 individual sites identified.

"Cemetery Art," pp. 16-17.
Five photos showing a variety of memorial styles.

No back issues available  

Spring 1980 Volume 15 Number 2
Long Kate, Dutch Henriette And Mother Robinson:
Three Madams In Post-Civil War St. Paul

Author Joel E Best
The St. Paul careers of three madams. Samantha "Long Kate" Hutton arrived in St. Paul from Kentucky in 1867 at age 20. She started as an independent prostitute and quickly became a successful madam and well-known character, for her looks (pleasing), stature (six feet), dress (ostentatious), and shenanigans (many.) She drank heavily, got in fights, once attempted suicide, and recorded over 100 arrests. She was killed by a lover in 1881.

Henriette Charles was born in Germany around 1837, married there and came to St. Paul with her husband in the mid-1860s. She seemed to prosper as a madam, despite the continuing costs of her arrests, legal fees, and fines. Like Long Kate, she was combative; unlike her, she was stout – "a little too much like an apple dumpling." She died of syphilis at age 38.

Mary E. Robinson "was the central figure and the most fascinating character in early St. Paul’s demimonde. She was the city’s most prominent madam, overseeing its most fashionable brothel, and she was spectacularly successful at her trade." She ran a large house, made money, and accumulated considerable wealth. In 1869 she lost her house to a fire, possibly set by gambler George Crummey, whom she sued. She lost the lawsuit too. She retired from prostitution in 1874 and lived to age 80, speculating in real estate. "[M]anaging a brothel offered a rare opportunity for a 19th century woman – a chance for a lower class or working-class woman, beginning with little money and limited opportunities, to achieve financial independence in the city." Annotated.

Aronovici's Campaign To Clean Up St Paul
Author Gary Phelps
In the spring of 1917 the Amherst H. Wilder Charity hired the Romanian-born social scientist Dr. Carol Aronovici as its director of social services. "He immediately addressed himself to the housing conditions in St. Paul which were among the worst in the nation." His report, issued in December of 1917, was based on a survey of over 5000 dwellings in the worst slum areas. Illustrated with many photographs, the report set forth in detail the city’s housing deficiencies and made recommendations for city legislation to address the problems. He followed that report with another, co-written by Esther Flint, entitled "Health Conditions and Health Services in St. Paul." This publication, highly critical of the city’s Department of Health, touched off a public war of words with the city’s health director, Dr. Benjamin Simon. Aronovici made detailed recommendations to the Wilder Board regarding actions it should take. When it did not, he resigned. Annotated, with three photographs.

Closing Of Mattocks School - End Of An Era In Education
Author Rachel A Bonney
The original Mattocks School was created by the citizens of Reserve Township and built at the corner of Randolph and Snelling in 1860. The frame building was replaced by a limestone structure in 1871. Named first Webster School, it was renamed Mattocks (for John Mattocks, secretary of the Board of Education) after St. Paul annexed Reserve Township in 1887.

It was a one-room school, heated by a pot-bellied stove, with room for six rows of students in desks bolted to the floor. For water, they had a pail and a dipper. A teacher in the late 1870s called the place a "country school," to which his students, ranging in age from 5 to 25, all had to walk at least a mile to reach. "Grades were taught separately, and lessons recited to the teacher by one class while the other classes worked on their lessons." There was no playground equipment or kitchen. The city built a new Mattocks School at James and Macalester in 1922. The old limestone building found various uses, and finally came to rest on the grounds of Highland Park High School in 1964. Annotated, with two photographs.

Special 1979 Volume 15 Number 1
Murders Mar The Dawning If 1854 –
125th Anniversary Of St Paul 130th Anniversary County
Author Robert Orr Baker

Spring 1978 Volume 14 Number 2
Letters To Fannie Higgins - The Courtship Of Patrick O'Brien

Author Michael Maher
Through letters the author was able to assemble a portrait of the Irish immigrant Patrick O’Brien, his life, work, and personality. With this come scenes of life in St.Paul in the 1860s and ‘70s. The letters comment amusingly on politics, the work of the Catholic Church, popular entertainments and diversions, the operations of the U.S. mail (he came assistant St. Paul postmaster), and public health and morals, among other topics. The letters themselves are in the Ramsey County Historical Society collections.

The Liberated Woman Patrick O'Brien Married
Author Michael Maher
Fannie Higgins, worked in her youth as a dressmaker in Hudson, Wisconsin. The same cache of family letters that inspired the previous article permit a portrait of Fannie Higgins and her times. She was independent, a good businesswoman, constantly concerned for the welfare of her brothers. It took nine years for her to agree to marry Patrick O’Brien.

A Grandson Describes: The O'Briens' House On George Street
Author George Rea
The author remembers his grandparents, Patrick and Fannie O’Brien, and their big house (still standing) at 255 George Street. They had lived before on Irvine Park, but grandfather "decided to move the day a neighbor’s bantam chickens got into his garden and ate his newly sprouted vegetables. He chased after the chickens, flailing at them with a buggy whip…." The house, completed in 1890, had everything a fine house of the time should have: five fireplaces, parallel gas and oil heating systems, leaded glass windows, "Gothic designs and turned spindles on the porches," parlors separated by sliding doors, a library, a stone cistern for storing the soft rainwater. Grandfather worked seven days a week. Grandmother, with the help of servants, ran the house and family. For amusement they read, participated in literary groups, Bible study, and fraternal organizations, and attended performances at the Metropolitan Opera House. "The horse-drawn buggies were the usual means of transportation and cutter sleds and sleighs were used in the winter…. Large bear rugs or buffalo robes were wrapped around passengers in cold weather and heated bricks, alcohol stoves, or charcoal burners warmed their feet." Both lived nearly 90 years.

The Ghost Of The Roaring Twenties
Author Lucille Arnold
Lucile Arnold grew up in Gladstone, now vanished into Maplewood, in the 1920s. She and her friends danced the Charleston, rode the streetcars, shopped (and worked) at the Golden Rule, talked about Babe Ruth and Nazimova and Charles Lindbergh, saw shows at the Metropolitan, walked to Phalen Park, sang "Ain’t We Got Fun?", and attended the old Johnson High School. She, her sisters, brother, and amused father searched for the ghost lady by the graveyard on Larpenteur Avenue. In October of 1929 the stock market crashed. "By the end of the year the dust had settled, and like the lady ghost, the Roaring Twenties slipped quietly into history."

Fall 1978 Volume 14 Number 1
The Dynamic Sister Antonia And The College Of St Catherine's

Author Sister Karen Kennelly
Sister Antonia does not appear until page 8 of this piece, following a description of the events leading up to the opening of the College of St. Catherine in January 1905. The college grew out of St. Joseph’s Academy, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Sister Seraphine (Ellen Ireland), and Archbishop John Ireland, among others, with the help of a generous gift from Hugh Derham. "That a standard, four-year liberal arts college evolved from these uncertain beginnings as quickly as it did was largely due to the genius of Sister Antonia (Anna) McHugh. The daughter of Irish immigrants, she grew up on the Dakota plains, and attended Catholic boarding schools, including St. Joseph’s Academy. She joined the Sisters as a novice in 1890. She was on the teaching staff of Derham Hall, the college’s preparatory school, when it opened. She received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1909.

Archbishop Ireland persuaded his sister to appoint Sister dean of St. Catherine’s in 1914. Under her leadership as dean and then president, the college achieved accreditation, built six major buildings and a library, upgraded the faculty, acquired a lay board of trustees, and graduated over a thousand students. She raised large sums from foundations. One of her last achievements was securing a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for the college, which came just after her retirement, following a stroke, in 1936. "Through some personal magic all her own, Sister Antonia had infused into the college the practicality and the drive of the Midwest pioneer." She died in 1944 at age 71. Annotated, with seven photographs and three other illustrations.

James Henry Skinner's Mansion Reflects Summit Avenue In Its Prime
Author Caroline Harney
A history and description of the house at 385 Portland Avenue, St. Paul, designed by Clarence H. Johnston, Sr. The design "combines Georgian and neo-classical styles," and the construction is all brick. "The interior of the mansion is as grand as the exterior, with fifteen fireplaces, eight bedrooms, elegant living and dining rooms, and a billiard room with a nine-foot ceiling in the basement." James Skinner made his first fortune in the fur business with the firm Lanpher, Skinner and Company. He and wife Annie bought the Portland Avenue land in 1901. He founded the Merchants Trust Company, later First Trust Company, in 1915, and also served the government in London during World War I.

He died in 1926, but his wife remained at the house until her death in 1945. Railroad lawyer Edwin Matthias and family bought the house in 1945 and lived there until 1957, when it was purchased by John B. Hilton and family. The Hiltons lived there until 1977.

   

Spring 1977 Volume 13 Number 2
The Plowing Of America: Early Farming Around St. Paul

Author Rodney C. Loehr
An anecdotal piece: a quick summary of early settlement in St. Paul and how people acquired farmland (and the money to buy it.); a description of typical frontier dwellings; the crops grown; dealing with the chronic labor shortage; tools and implements; the use of animals; fencing; heating; dealing with mosquitoes; and amusements. "As one looks back on early Minnesota, one is impressed by the enormous amount of hard work that was necessary to tame the wilderness. Tool were few, machinery was primitive, and energy came from the muscles of humans and animals."
Annotated, with seven photos and five other images.

Tough Times - The Sometime Fortunes Of Boxing In Early Minnesota
"Prize fights were rare in St. Paul during the early days, no doubt because fights could be seen for free on the streets or at the levee almost any day." The first recorded (and illegal) match was held in 1869. The sport’s popularity grew in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and celebrated bouts were held in the metropolitan area, often in the country so as to evade the police. By the mid 1880s regular matches were held openly in downtown St. Paul. Bye and bye local fighters of some reputation were developed, many of them Irish.
Governor Merriam put the stop to a Bob Fitzsimmons middleweight championship bout to be held in the city in 1891 and apparently got the legislature to ban it the next year. That send the sport underground, and for a while wrestling passed it in public interest.
The popularity of fighter Mike Gibbons helped revive boxing, and the state ban was lifted in 1915. Eight photographs. This piece came from the Junior Pioneer Association.

The Not-So-Peaceable Kingdom: Religion In Early St Paul
Author Dennis Hoffa
St. Paul began as a mostly Catholic village, to the extent that religion was practiced. "The beginnings of Protestantism as a force within the community centered around the establishment of Harriet Bishop’s Sunday School [in 1847]." Many Yankee settlers arrived in the 1840s, bringing with them some anti-Catholic feeling. As the city grew, Yankees, Germans, and Swedes added to the Protestants, Irish and south Germans to the Catholics. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians all established churches by 1850. Lutherans soon followed, with churches divided ethnically, Swedish and German. Catholics developed "national" churches too. The Jewish religious society was founded in 1856. "From St. Paul’s earliest days, the presence of organized religion in the community has been strong and its influence has to betaken into consideration in the history of the city."

Fall 1976 Volume 13 Number 1
Persecution In St Paul - The Germans In World War I
Author Sister John Christine Wolkerstorfer
"Between 1855 and 1915, Germans in America lived not in an American culture, but rather in a German-America." All that changed with the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. Minnesota participated enthusiastically in the anti-German mood, most vehemently through the Commission of Public Safety and its quasi-military arm, the Home Guard. The Commission, led by Governor J.A.A. Burnquist, was given vast powers: it could stop strikes and labor organizing, regulate liquor traffic, require the registration of aliens, and investigate people for a wide variety of activities – including 682 complaints of sedition. "A virtual spy system took over the state." It focused on Germans. A 1917 Commission circular declared that "anyone who talks and acts against the government in time of war, regardless of the ‘constitutional right of free speech,’ is a traitor and deserves the most drastic punishment,"
The Commission’s activities were supplemented by those of a national organization that operated also in Minnesota, the American Protective League. The League conducted raids in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, detaining hundreds of German men, almost all of them innocent, on suspicion of draft evasion.
The Non-Partisan League also fell afoul of the Commission of Public Safety, which hounded and attacked it as disloyal.
The Commission waged war on German language and culture in Minnesota. It forbade the use of German as a language of instruction in schools, discouraged the performance of German music, banned some German-language books, and had the publisher of the newspaper Volkzeitung interned for refusing to stop publishing in German. Annotated, with eight illustrations.

Kate Donnelly And The 'Cult Of Womanhood'
Author Gretchen Kreuter
Ignatius Donnelly’s 1895 tribute to his late wife, In Memoriam of Mrs. Catherine Donnelly, praised her as a model of "true womanhood," a 19th century "cult" of ideal femininity comprised of "purity, piety, domesticity, and submissiveness." This essay explores the many contradictions inherent in this cult and in Donnelly’s adoption of it. The idealized woman of the cult bore little resemblance to most real women, nor to what most men really wanted. "’The best proof of man’s satisfaction with the home is found in his universal absence from it.’" Ignatius Donnelly was no pious traditionalist but a progressive interested in feminism. And his wife did not in fact conform to the ideals he praised. "Throughout her life, Kate Donnelly behaved in ways that were distinctly contrary to the ideals of the Cult of True Womanhood."
No back issues available  

Special 1975 Volume 12 Number 2
Minnesota Art And Artists: A Pictorial History, 1820-1914
Author Rena Neumann Coen

Spring 1975 Volume 12 Number 1
James J. Hill: A Search For The Man Behind The Legend

Late in his life James J. Hill remarked, "I’ve made my mark on the surface of the earth and they [the U.S. Supreme Court] can’t wipe it out." He knew he’d been a titan. Hill’s legendary "empire builder" image has obscure other qualities, including "a Celtic sense of humor and a flair for descriptive narrative." Always a man of action, in his youth especially Hill was physically intrepid, traveling the prairie in summer by caravan and in winter by dogsled. But above all he was an audacious and persevering man of business. This piece summarizes Hill’s early life, his start in business, and some of his major accomplishments. Ten photographs, two posters, and two drawings, including the cover.

Fences
Author Lansing Shepard
An essay on fences, followed by a two-page photo spread (11 images, historical and contemporary) of fences and fence-building.

How St Paul Came To Lose The "Red River War"
Author Dennis Hoffa
The Selkirk or Red River Colony, later Winnipeg, so far from St. Paul, was a vital source of commerce and wealth in the city’s first few decades. Starting in 1844, the ox carts trundled south laden with furs, then north again piled with supplies purchased from St. Paul merchants. The St. Paul trade route at first competed with, then conquered, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s northern route. In 1858 the Company adopted the southern route, enriching St. Paul still further. The Red River Colony was so important that prominent Minnesotans pushed for its annexation in the 1850s and ‘60s. When the Hudson’s Bay Company ceded the colony to Canada in 1869 Louis Riel launched a rebellion in opposition. Both annexation and rebellion failed; the colony became part of Canada in 1870.

Volstead And Prohibition - A Roaring '20's Memoir
Author Helen Warren Pfleger
The author worked as a receptionist in the Federal Prohibition Administration office in downtown St. Paul in the 1920s. There she came to know Andrew Volstead, the ex-Congressman who had drafted the Prohibition amendment to the Constitution, and also to witness the daily workings of Prohibition enforcement. She found Mr. Volstead "a dignified gentleman, quiet and unassuming, but most affable," old, short, and slight. The author recalls also other jobs she held and the popular entertainments of the time.

Fall 1974 Volume 11 Number 2
John Ayd's Grist Mill -- And Reserve Township History

Author Donald Empson
Ayd Mill Road takes its name from John Ayd, a German immigrant, who bought 160 acres bounded by present-day Lexington, Victoria, St. Clair, and Randolph in 1854. There in 1860 he built the only grist mill and mill house in Reserve Township. The mill operated using water from a stream originating near Randolph and Hamline. It passed out of Ayd family hands in 1866. Another German immigrant, Charles Kramerath, operated the mill until his death in 1878. The Short Line railroad finished it as a working mill soon after. The site was used thereafter as a resort, then a park was planned for the area, but neither plan worked out. The mill was demolished around 1890. The mill house lasted until 1966. Annotated, a photograph, two drawings (one the cover), and a map.

The Necessities Of Life-- Available Early On In The Frontier
Author Kevin Galvin
Six businesses operating downtown in 1859 were still going in 1974. The author traces their histories. Philip Fabel began selling handmade shoes in 1856. His descendants still run the store. Albrecht Furs began in 1855, continuing a family business begun more than a century earlier in Germany. At the beginning the trade was mainly in buffalo skins and coats for men. As times changed, the firm shifted to luxury wear for women. The St. Paul founder’s grandson runs the firm. St. Paul Book and Stationery began in 1851 as D. D. Merrill’s notions store in a downtown log cabin. Merrill sold his much-expanded business in 1894 and stayed with it to his death in 1896. The business expanded again and again in the 20th century, becoming "a leading Midwest supplier of office and school supplies." Messrs. Cheritree and Farwell opened a hardware store on Third Street in 1859. It grew and changed ownership various times, becoming Farwell, Ozmun and Kirk in 1887. "The once small hardware store now is a corporation with a national and international market." St. Paul Fire and Marine began selling insurance in 1854. The firm survived claims from the Chicago Fire of 1871 and the San Francisco earthquake of 1906; in 1974 it has over 7,000 employees. Parker Paine went into the banking business in 1854. Through a series of mergers and permutations, his little private bank became the First National Bank of St. Paul. The Field-Schlick Department store began as Daniel Ingersoll’s dry goods store in 1855. At first, "the store was lighted by kerosene lamps and much of the merchandise was chained down to prevent theft." Forty years later Field-Schlick occupied an entire city block. With three photographs, a drawing, and a list of sources

Promoters Waxed Lyrical In "Selling" St Paul
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz
A publication entitled The Minnesota Book of the Year for 1853, published in St. Paul, offered its readers information on a host of subjects. Among them were: the makeup of the Territorial legislature and its salient acts, including a Prohibition law; the non-enforcement of that law; the climate ("without doubt one of the most salubrious and healthful on the continent"); public health; the rivers and lakes ("the rural beauty of some of these liquid mirrors … is altogether indescribable"); the natural products of the earth, including the prairie turnip, the wild artichoke, and something called the "mendo;" farm crops ("the quality or quantity of our potato, turnip, beet, and all other garden vegetables cannot be excelled"); pastureland; how to buy land; tourism; and how to get here. With five illustrations.

The 1850's Shaping Of St. Paul
Author Virginia Brainard Kunz
An 1856 photo of a dogsled team beneath the Summit Avenue bluff displays "the disparity in housing and jumbled placement of buildings" that characterized the city then. Minnesota Pioneer editor James Goodhue advocated replatting the whole mess into some kind of regularity. "His recommendations, as can be seen today, apparently went unheeded."

Spring 1974 Volume 11 Number 1
Macalester And It's First Forty Years
Author Edward Swanson
Most of Macalester College’s first 40 years consisted of Edward Duffield Neill’s efforts to get it off the ground. Neill came to St. Paul as a young clergyman in 1849, founded the First Presbyterian and House of Hope churches, the Baldwin School, which had an off and on existence, and two colleges that never came into actual being. After Civil War and post-war government service Neill returned to Minnesota and tried again. He got a Minneapolis building from Charles Macalester, persuaded the Presbyterian Church to adopt his Macalester College (still then just a name), acquired land in St. Paul, and found a new president, Thomas McCurdy, to bring the thing to life. Macalester College held its first classes in September 1885, with Neill on the faculty. Neill died in 1893 at age 70. Annotated.

Minnesota's Wandering St. Fair
Author Gordon Hayes
People connived and schemed to get and keep the Minnesota State Fair for over 30 years, 1854 to 1885. The outcome represented a rare win for St. Paul in its rivalry with Minneapolis. The early fairs moved around – Minneapolis, Fort Snelling, St. Paul, even Rochester and, once, Owatonna. Some were successful, some not. Minneapolis businessman and fair booster William King did all in his power in the 1870s and early 1880s to keep the fair from settling in St. Paul, going so far as to put on rival fairs in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis-St. Paul rivalry got in the way of a consistently successful fair. A compromise was sought in a site between and accessible two both cities. After much wrangling, a committee settled at last on the site of the Ramsey County Poor Farm, donated by the county to the State Agricultural Society. The fair has had a permanent home since 1885.

Explorers, Traders, Farmers - The Early History Of St. Paul
Author Anne Cowie
The basic geology of the river gorge, the early explorers, Pike’s purchase, Fort Snelling, the Selkirk refugees, Pig’s Eye and the expulsions from Fort Snelling, Vetal Guerin, Abraham Perry, Louis Robert, Norman Kittson, Henry Jackson, Lucien Galtier, Matilda Rumsey, Harriet Bishop: a short primer on the establishment of St. Paul.

Fall 1973 Volume 10 Number 2
Schubert Club History Reflects Romance Of Music In St. Paul

Author Bruce Carlson
The early years of concert-style music in the city. Singing societies, mostly German, began in the early 1850s. Prof. Philip Rohr introduced opera in the late 1850s, and the Signor Lotti Grand German Opera Company took it up again after the Civil War.
The railroads made it easy for traveling companies to come to town from the 1870s on.
Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore made its St. Paul debut in 1879. The Boston Ideals opera company made the city a regular stop in the 1880s and ‘90s.
Orchestral music appeared in 1858 with a locally organized string quartet. The quartet grew into the St. Paul Musical Society, led for many years by George Siebert.
It was "the major orchestra in the state during the last half of the 19th century . . . ."
Recital music in the city also dates to the mid-1850s, and interest in this form led to the creation of the Schubert Club, which began in 1882 as the Ladies Musicale. It put on local events and hosted touring artists, including Josef Hoffman and Jan Kubelik. The club also produced Minnesota’s first renowned conductor, Emil Oberhoffer. Stranded in the city in the early 1890s, he was befriended by and then employed by the Schubert Club. He went on to become the first conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony. With eight photographs, four of them portraits.

Highland - Groveland - Macalester Park The Old Reserve Township
Author Donald Empson
Settlement and development of the southwest corner of the city, bounded by Marshall Avenue on the north, Dale Street on the east, and the Mississippi everywhere else.
The first permanent settler was William Finn in 1848. Formal land sales began in 1854, at $1.25 per acre. Prominent early settlers included John Ayd, William Brimhall, William Davern, Friedrich Knapheide, and Thomas Crosby. What became the University of St. Thomas began in 1874 as the Catholic Industrial School, on land purchased from William Finn.
The township became a dairy center in the 1870s and ‘80s; "by 1900 there were at least twenty-six dairy farms in the area." St. Paul annexed the township inn 1887.
The city’s first electric streetcar line connected the College of St. Thomas and St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary with downtown via Grand Avenue in 1890. Still, "it was not until the 1910’s and 1920’s that the mile-upon-mile of houses were built that characterize the area north of Randolph today." Annotated, with three photographs, a drawing, and a map.

Memories Of Early St. Paul - Perilous Escape From Fire Down Eighty Foot Bluff
Author Mrs. George Becker & George Rea
The author’s father and uncle, August and Charles Mueller, were working in the downtown tailor shop when fire broke out on May 17, 1870. To save themselves they had to jump (or let themselves fall) out the back windows and down the 80-foot riverside bluff. Both were severely injured but survived, though with permanent disabilities. Neither could return to tailoring. Charles and Louise Albrecht Mueller operated Mueller’s Fancy Goods Store downtown for 20 years. The author grew up in the downtown neighborhood. She describes the neighborhood, the uses for "fancy work," the courting customs and school fashions of the time.

Spring 1973 Volume 10 Number 1
A Revolutionary, A Scientist, And A Civil Rights Leader –
300 Years Of Pioneering For St. Paul's Colorful Markoes

Author Jeffery Smith
The Markoes, originally Huguenots, had a long history in colonial America before one of the, William, arrived in St. Paul in 1856. He dealt in real estate, served on the city council, and ran a Catholic school. Markoe was also the state’s first aeronaut; he made a balloon ascent in September of 1857, rising north of downtown and coming to rest, after various setbacks, in Anoka County.
William’s grandson John Markoe attended West Point, playing on the football team with Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley. He served along the Mexican border during the Mexican Revolution, and was cashiered for drunkenness, went into business in St. Paul, returned to the military, and then turned to the priesthood. Ordained a Jesuit in 1928, he worked in St. Louis and Omaha, giving special attention to civil rights. His special vehicle was the De Porres Club, involved in all the great civil rights struggles of the 1940s and 1950s. Extensively annotated, with six images.

Play Ball! Lexington Park, Home Of The Saints.
1924's "Prime Underdogs" And Their Two-Title Victory

Author Gordon Hayes And Norvy Muligan
The story of the St. Paul Saints’ 1924 season, where they won the American Association title, defeated Baltimore of the International League in the Little World Series, then beat Seattle of the Pacific Coast League. The article also recounts incidents from the Saints’ 1903, 1904, 1920, and 1923 seasons, and mentions notable Saints players and managers, including Mike Kelley, Johnny Neun, Miller Huggins, and Charlie Dressen. With four photographs.

The First "Living Flag"
Author Mrs. George Becker & George Rea
The first-known "living flag," was mounted in Rice Park in St. Paul in 1896. The flag was made up of St. Paul schoolchildren under the direction of Prof. C. H. Congdon, supervisor of music for the city schools.

Fall 1972 Volume 9 Number 2
Brave Men In Their Motor Machines--And The 1918 Forest Fire

Author Arnold Luukkonen
The Minnesota Home Guard was created in 1917 to replace the Minnesota National Guard, which had been federalized for World War I. One of its components was the Motor Corps, made up of volunteers who "offered their private automobiles as a means of transporting the Home Guard to any point within the state." The calamitous northern Minnesota forest fires of October 1918 brought the Home Guard into action. The Motor Corps first carried supplies to the relief trains in St. Paul and Minneapolis, then troops to Moose Lake. There the volunteer drivers brought in survivors and ferried firefighters to unquenched fires. Then they transported troops to keep order and prevent looting. When influenza broke out, they distributed medical and public health supplies. The Home Guard commander said, "Had it not been for the Motor Reserve, … the splendid work done by other organizations would have been seriously hampered, if not completely nullified."

Forgotten Pioneers - James C. Burbank, The Man Who Used Coach & Boat
Author Robert Orr Baker
Bringing the Red River country, and by extension all of the "Hudson Bay country this side of the Rocky Mountains, into communication with St. Paul was the work of one man, James Crawford Burbank." Burbank started as a patent medicine salesman, then began a parcel and mail carrying enterprise. From there he advanced to retail and wholesale merchandising, shipping, then overland passenger hauling. He ran the Northwestern Express Co., a St. Paul city omnibus line, and the Minnesota Stage Company, which ran to the Red River country. In 1861 the Hudson’s Bay Co. began shipping furs to the world through Burbank in St. Paul. Burbank also became the major hauler of supplies to United States forts in the upper West. He was president of the first St. Paul street railway and of St. Paul Fire and Marine from 1865 to his death in 1876. Burbank also served in the legislature and as president of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. Annotated, with five photographs and two drawings.

Introduction: Anna Ramsey's Letters
Anna Ramsey was the wife of Alexander Ramsey, Minnesota’s first territorial governor. Hundreds of her letters survive. The excerpts published here provide "a survey of various aspects of Mrs. Ramsey’s life." These include her sense of humor, her relations with husband Alexander and daughter Marion, church activities, charity work at Home for the Friendless, and travels in Europe. Annotated, with three photographs and two drawings.

Spring 1972 Volume 9 Number 1
Old Federal Courts Building -- Beautiful, Unique--Its Style Of Architecture Faces Extinction

Author Eileen Michels
From 1901 to 1967 all federal offices in St. Paul were in this building. Now mostly empty, the building is in danger, and with it, "a unique local example of a style of architecture that is fast approaching extinction in the Midwest – indeed, in the entire country." This article is an architectural description of the building.
Its general style is Richardsonian Romanesque, but "the building possesses an equal number of features that are not" of that style. It also has many elements of the Chateauesque, a style associated with Richard Hunt and Stanford White. Who designed the building is not known for sure, though the credit is sometimes given to James Knox Taylor, who worked with Cass Gilbert in St. Paul and was, when this building was built, Supervising Architect of the Treasury. Annotated, with 11 photographs and one drawing.


A Teacher Looks Back At PTA, 4---
And How A Frog In A Desk Drawer Became A Lesson In Biology

Author Alice Olson
The second of two parts (see Fall 1971) based on the author’s memoirs of her 50-year teaching career.
In this part, the author has returned to teaching, in Maplewood, after several years away. The Depression has just begun. She teaches grades four through eight and is also principal of a two-room school. She writes of her PTA and 4-H work, school enrichment programs, student discipline, and humorous anecdotes, including a frog in her desk drawer. Five photographs, including two from the author’s collection.

Forgotten Pioneers- Josais King
Josias King is believed to have been the first to volunteer for service in the First Minnesota Infantry. The Civil War memorial statue just below the Cathedral bears his likeness. The article, originally written for the Junior Pioneer Association, describes the evidence regarding King’s enlistment and the history of the statue.

North St. Paul's Manufactories - Come Back--After 1893 Bust
Author Edward Letterman
North St. Paul had been created by Henry Castle as an industrial suburb, and was just getting going when the Depression of 1893 came along. A mainstay had been the Luger Furniture Company, which as early as 1888 had 200 employees at its North St. Paul factory. It survived the Depression and had doubled in capacity by 1912.
Other major employers were: the Konantz Saddlery; the Harris Company, maker of farm implements; the St. Paul Casket Company; Cramer and Coney, makers of wooden boxes; North St. Paul Broom Co.; furniture makers L. D. Hayes Co. and Acme Chair Co.; Wick Organ and J. G. Earhuff Organ and Piano Co; the St. Paul Iron Co. and its successor, St. Paul Stove Co.; Union Iron Works; and North St. Paul Brick Co. These all prospered best before 1893. "After the hard years of the middle 1890s, things were never the same again in North St. Paul." Annotated, with four drawings and one photograph.
No back issues available
  

Fall 1971 Volume 8 Number 2
Woodstoves, Hectographs-- 50 Years A Teacher, She Looks Back At Her First School
Author Alice Olson
Beginning in 1914 the author taught at a tiny country school in what is now Maplewood. Years later she wrote her memoirs, from which this article was taken.
She describes the school and conditions, her supplies, her first day, her life rooming with the Gausman’s on their farm, highlights of her first year, breaking a leg during recess, her feelings toward her pupils, and her thoughts on fifty years as a teacher. With eight photographs, including six of her school and pupils.

Merriam's Vision: Rural Village Between Cities
Author John Sonnen
The Merriam Park neighborhood was the creation of John Merriam, father of Governor William Merriam. He imagined a rural village halfway between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Merriam platted the development and placed both the park and the school (which he also named, Longfellow) where they are today. He also imposed minimum housing standards that ensured "no cheap or inferior residences." The village quickly grew and in 1884 was annexed by St. Paul. With bibliography and two photographs.

Boats, Carts, Rails, Roads--The Trailways Of History
Descriptions of three early, and vital, St. Paul transportation hubs and tracks: The Lower Landing, the crossroads of the Old Military Road and the Ox Cart Trail, and the Red River Ox Cart Trail. The first was the city’s main steamboat landing, the nexus of commerce into the 1870s. The second was the crossing of the first two main overland commercial "roads," one leading north from Fort Snelling, the other connecting the St. Paul waterfront with the trading posts of the far northwest. The Red River Ox Cart trail established St. Paul as a major trading center – where furs from the frontier and goods from the rest of the world changed hands.


Forgotten Pioneers - George Loomis Becker
George Becker, like so many pioneer businessmen, was born in New York state and moved to St. Paul to seek his fortune, in his case in 1849. He was a lawyer and practiced with Edmund Rice, but made his fortune in the railroad business. He served as a "line president" of the St. Paul and Pacific, St. Paul alderman, mayor, state senator, state railroad commissioner. Becker County is named for him. He died in 1904.

Rice Park -- How It Changed
The early years Rice Park: its donation to the city, its early neglect, the importation of squirrels, the problems of cows and rug-beating. In time it became a beauty spot. It declined after World War II but was rescued and revived in the 1960s.

New Book Traces 115-Year History Of Church Cooperation 
Stright, Dr. H.L., Together. The Story of Church Cooperation in Minnesota (Minneapolis: T.S. Denison & Co., 1971.)

Author William Cavert

Spring 1971 Volume 8 Number 1
Wife, Mother-Doing The Work Of Six - ' For The Sake Of Being Supported'

Author Bonnie Ellis
Women’s work in the late 19th century: Cleaning, cooking, mending, ironing, slopping, sewing, planning – to say nothing (and nothing is said) of child care. The articles describes in some detail the physical work of homemaking in the Victorian era. With three photographs and endnotes.

The Building Of Old Fort Ripley And Its Links With St. Paul
Author Robert Orr Baker
Fort Ripley was built at the confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers, primarily "to protect the Winnebago Indians who had been placed in the area as a buffer between the warring Sioux and Chippewa." Construction began in 1849. Though 120 miles from St. Paul, its Ramsey County connections were strong: St. Paul businessmen had a big hand in its building, and all supplies for its maintenance came through the city. Henry M. Rice helped choose the site and supplied the building stone. Jesse Pomroy was chief builder. John Corbitt ran the stagecoach line. All mail to the fort came through the city. In 1852 the Pioneer noted that the Fort Ripley trade and payments "constitute much of the largest share of the business of the port of St. Paul." After the Civil War and the Indians wars of the West, Fort Ripley fell into disuse, and was closed in 1877. Four photographs and a sidebar about Henry Rice.

Social Calls Without A Bonnet! Park Residents Set Their Own Rules
Author Dorothy Hozza
A history of the development of Irvine Park, starting in 1849. Many prominent citizens lived on or near it, including Alexander Ramsey, Henry Moss, Abram Elfelt, Horace Bigelow, Joseph Forepaugh, William Spencer, Henry Carver, Frederick Driscoll, Harry Horn, Nathaniel Langford. The park and neighborhood reached their early peak in the 1870s. "The families who lived there made their own laws, socially speaking, and established their own social customs." The park’s decline began early in the 20th century. "Today Irvine Park is threatened by encroaching industry, demolition for urban renewal, and neglect."

The Letters Of Samuel Pond Jr. - Exams: 'Terror Of The Students'
Samuel Pond, Jr., attended the University of Minnesota in the 1870s and wrote many letters to his family. Those excerpted here were written in 1870. They deal with school matters, college activities, lectures and sermons, Pond’s cross-country walks. Pond was often witty. "Greek adjectives are of a great deal more importance [than war in Europe if we stuff our minds with rules for the subjunctive  we can not fail of becoming great men." Annotated.

Fall 1970 Volume 7 Number 2
Smallpox, Malaria -- W.R. Brown's Civil War Diary - The War Within A War

W. R. Brown enlisted in the Sixth Minnesota Infantry in 1862 at the age of 46. He served mostly in hospitals, in the field, at Fort Snelling, and in Helena, Arkansas. He kept a diary in which he wrote "not of battles but of the struggle to survive disease." The many diary entries printed here dealt with daily camp life, weather, the standard medicines of the time, smallpox, his railroad trip to Arkansas, the attitudes and conditions of the people of the South, his own bout this typhoid fever and, probably, malaria. With seven images, including a portrait of Brown.


Ramsey County Medical Society Survives 100 Years
Author Robert Rosenthal
Founded in 1870, it went into a "nearly fatal state of coma" by 1879, revived in 1882, faded again, and recovered permanently in 1889. The articles describes the society’s struggles to define itself, find meeting places, establish a library, publish its St. Paul Medical Journal, and lists some of the achievements of its members. With nine photographs, one drawing, and a bibliography.

Forgotten Pioneers - Edward Phelan
Edward Phelan, discharged from the Army at Fort Snelling in April of 1839, became one of St. Paul’s founding settlers. He was a contentious fellow, tried and acquitted of murder, and later indicted for perjury. He fled in 1850 and reportedly "met with a violent death in crossing the plains."

Book Review - From Whole Log To No Log (Minneapolis: Dillon Press, 1970.)
Author Vernon Helman

Spring 1970 Volume 7 Number 1
St Anthony Park: The History Of A Small Town Within A City

Author Fredric Steinhauser
A history of the development of this St. Paul neighborhood. Gov. William Marshall and landscape architect Horace Cleveland played key roles in its early development, as did investors from Wisconsin and Virginia, the University of Minnesota, and the Great Northern Railroad. Cleveland was responsible for the street layouts that conform to the natural contours of the land. The area originally had two parts, north and south, divided by railroad tracks, but now only the north part is thought of as St. Anthony Park. Settlement in earnest began in the mid-1880s, and soon institutions grew: Murray, Breck, and Gutterson Schools, the Children’s Home Society, Luther (originally United Church) Seminary, the public library, and the St. Anthony Park Association. The article includes a section on the area’s geological history. Six photographs.

To Stillwater, Hastings, White Bear Lake –
St. Paul's Yellow Trolleys Rocked, Rumbled Through A Colorful Era

A summary history of street railway service in St. Paul, from 1872 to 1953. With two photographs.

Murder Most Foul! Early Historian Solves' Mystery Of
Whatever Happen To Pigs Eye Parrant?

Author Edward Lettermann
In 1868 New York writer, publisher, and fabulist "Col." Hankins published a history of St. Paul entitled Dakota Land; or, The Beauty of St. Paul, "an altogether charming conglomeration of local history, fact and fancy, dreams and revelations, [and] exquisite word pictures of the area." Among the fancies was Hankins’s description of the finding of Parrant’s grave, along with a pistol engraved with his name. Despite the inventions, the book "has value to the historian … in its contemporary descriptions of the city and of Minnesota during the 1860’s." With five images, including three from the book.

Forgotten Pioneers - John R. Irvine
John R. Irvine came first to St. Paul in 1843 from Prairie du Chien, with a sleigh full of groceries to "look over the field which has been presented to him by his old friend, Henry Jackson, as the Eldorado of the Northwest." He liked what he saw. He bought what had been Edward Phelan’s claim and, over time, bought and sold many parcels of real estate. He also ran a ferry and a sawmill and served on the city council. Irvine Park is named for him. Two photographs and a bibliography.
No back issues available  

Fall 1969 Volume 6 Number 2
Student, Protests, Marches - 100 Years Ago At The University

Author Edward Letterman
The first years of the University of Minnesota were hard, debt-ridden, and tumultuous. A territorial university had begun in 1852, but closed in 1858. Undergraduate classes at the state university began in 1869 with nine professors and 175 students. Because the state had accepted land under the Morrill Act, to support the university, the university was required to offer courses in agricultural science. Students were not interested. The first professor of agriculture, Daniel Robertson, had a hard time. So did his successor, Charles Lacey. It took until the second decade of the 20th century for agriculture to get well established at University.

The Letters Of Samuel Pond, Jr. Students Cooked Their Food , Built The Fires
Samuel Pond, Jr., was a student at the University of Minnesota in the late1860s and early 1870s. Many letters he wrote to his brother Judson, back home in Shakopee, have survived and some are published here. He wrote of the ordinary events of his student life; his professors, the food, the sermons he attended, his fellow students ("I never saw a duller set"), his long walks over the city, the work going on to repair the St. Anthony Falls tunnel disaster. These letters cover just his first semester, November 1869 to February 1870.

Kellogg Boulevard: The Story Of Old Third Street
A short history of Third Street in downtown St. Paul from roughly 1857 to its renaming as Kellogg Boulevard in 1929. It went from being the city’s prime retail street to a wholesale business street ("this stage probably was the most picturesque") to a traffic-moving boulevard.

Forgotten Pioneers - Bishop Joseph Cretin
A brief account of Joseph Cretin’s early life and his six years in St. Paul, 1851-1857. As a young priest in France he burned to do missionary work, but had to wait until he was 38; then he came to Iowa and Wisconsin. He was appointed bishop of St. Paul and vicinity in 1851. He presided over a huge expansion of the Roman Catholic Church, in parishioners, churches and other buildings, societies, institutions, and influence.

Norman Kittson And The Fur Trade
Few Minnesota pioneers painted on a bigger canvas than Norman Kittson. He traded furs around Fort Snelling in the 1830s, then moved farther and farther north and west, to Pembina. He battled with the Hudson’s Bay company (and later worked for it), and established the Red River oxcart caravans in the 1850s. He dealt in St. Paul real estate, served as the city’s mayor and in the territorial legislature. He ran steamboats on the Red River and went into the railroad business with James J. Hill. He built an office building, a hotel, a stable, a race track, and a mansion where the Cathedral stands today. He fathered as many as 26 children. He died in 1888 at the age of 74; few fuller lives have been led.

Spring 1969 Volume 6 Number 1
Fort Snelling - "Hardship" Duty At The Frontier Post And A Training Ground For Generals
Orders, Letters, Lists Of Possessions
- Colonel Snelling's Journals
Pen portraits of some of the notable officers who served at Fort Snelling between 1820 and the early 1860s, including Zachary Taylor, Bernard Bee, Simon Bolivar Buckner, Winfield Scott Hancock, and John Pemberton. With 11 illustrations including nine portraits.

The Enterprising Salesman And The Old Road To Lake Como
This article is based on Josiah Snelling’s 1827 journalThe excerpts printed here, joined by explanatory text, touch upon death by disease, military discipline, relations with Indians, his planned participation in a duel, his transfer to St. Louis, and an inventory of his possessions. . "The colonel himself, how he lived and the problems of command, all stand revealed."

Forgotten Pioneers - Dr. John H Murphy
Dr.John Henry Murphy was "virtually the first formally-trained doctor to settle in what is now the Twin Cities." He and wife Adelaide, the daughter of Ramsey County pioneer Benjamin Hoyt (see RCH Spring 1966) settled in St. Anthony in 1849. He served in the territorial and state legislatures, as a regimental surgeon in the Civil War and in the West, as president of the St. Paul school board, as physician to the Ramsey County Poor Farm, as state surgeon general, and vice-president of the American Medical Association. He died in 1894. Two photographs including a portrait.

Summer Evenings, A Smudge Kettle, Tallow Candles - A Farm Life Recalled
Author Lillie Gibbs Levesconte

Fall 1968 Volume 5 Number 2
Theaters In Old St. Paul - Extravaganzas, Melodramas

Author Frank Whiting
Vignettes from early theater in St. Paul, beginning with an amateur production at Fort Snelling in the winter of 1821-22, through an "Around The World In 80 Days" extravaganza in 1890. Professional theater began in 1851 and traveling shows dominated the early decades. The first Grand Opera House went up in 1867, providing a suitable venue for national and international stars as well as burlesque entertainments. Many women’s productions were tried – "Female Minstrels," "Living Art Statues," "Frisky French Favorites," some to acclaim. Storms, fires, disputes, and mishaps enlivened the cavalcade. "We may smile at the old Nineteenth Century theater of spectacle, thrills, laughter and tears but it had its merits." Seven photographs and four other illustrations including the cover.

The Wandering Skeleton Of Charley Pitts

Velocipede Races In Armory Hall - Bernheimer Block Is Gone But The Memory Lives On
'Salubrious Minnesota' - Kohlman's Hotel And Resort Era

Author Jerome Schueler
The Bernheimer Block, at the corner of Kellogg and [Minnesota?], was built in 1859. It was the site of many noteworthy events: the first Civil War enlistments; the first velocipede demonstrations; one of the first known boxing matches. The St. Paul Gymnastic Society, the YWCA, the St.Paul and Chicago Railroad, and the trial lawyer W.W. Erwin, among many others, used the building. It came down in 1968. Five photographs.

Kohlman’s Hotel and the Resort Era
"People came out in these tally-hos (double-decked, horsedrawn carriages), on horseback, and in surreys with the fringe on top," to Kohlman’s Hotel on Lake Gervais in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Kohlman’s had a saloon, boats, a walk-in ice house, and a dining room featuring fish from the lake and sausage and sauerkraut made on site. . The article evokes a lost time, when Minnesota was considered "a large health resort," and institution. Three photographs.

Forgotten Pioneers - Stephen Desnoyer
Stephen Desnoyer operated a saloon and hotel on the old ox cart trail from Pembina to St. Paul. The site was later occupied by the Shriners Children’s Hospital. He came to St. Paul in 1845 and died there in 1877. The Desnoyer Park neighborhood is named for him.

Silver Lake Childhood -- Revisited

Spring Wagons And No Roads - A Pioneer Family's Sunday
Author Lillie Gibbs Levesconte
A reminiscence left by the youngest child, born 1865, of Jane and Heman Gibbs.
The little white church, the Sunday carriage rides, the noted evangelist Maggie VanCot, and "some of the pleasantest scenery in the state."

Spring 1968 Volume 5 Number 1
Ramsey County's German Americans - Their Struggle With Pride & Prejudice

Author Sister John Christine Wolkerstorfer
Through most of the modern history of Ramsey County Germans have comprised the largest ethnic group. This article covers many aspects of German immigration to Ramsey County and the participation of German-Americans in business, political, religious, and cultural life in the period roughly 1845-1890. Among the themes addressed: patterns of immigration; preservation of German language and culture, especially in schools; arts and cultural organizations and newspapers; some noteworthy German-American businessmen. With citations and seven illustrations.

In North St. Paul - Boom, Boom, Boom Come-Back!
Author Edward Lettermann
North St. Paul was an early planned community, first residential, then industrial.Just as industrial development seemed to be taking hold, the Panic of 1893 came along. Still, developer (and historian) Henry Castle never gave up.

Forgotten Pioneers - William Randall
William Randall came to St. Paul from New York and became the city’s first millionaire, mostly in real estate. He was ruined in the panic of 1857 and died in 1861 at 55. He was a man of great energy and a big heart, optimistic and charitable even in the midst of failure.

From A Pioneer Farmer -Memories Of Those Early Years Make 'A Chill Run Up My Back
"The days were too short for the work that must be done, the nights too short for the needed rest." John Scofield came to St. Paul from upstate New York in 1849. In 1914 he wrote a memoir, excerpted here. He arrived with $2.50 and two shirts, found work, built a little capital, acquired farmland at Red Rock, built a farming and threshing business, moved to present-day Bloomington, married, had and lost children and a wife, in all lived a long and productive pioneer life. And he wrote well: the excerpt is vivid and forceful.

Fall 1967 Volume 4 Number 2
Marshall Sherman & The Civil War - St. Paul's First Medal Of Honor Winner

Author Anne Cowie
In April 1861 Marshall Sherman, age 37, a St. Paul housepainter, became one of the first to enlist in the Civil War Union Army. He was there at Bull Run, Ball’s Bluff, The Seven Days, Antietam, and Gettysburg. There, Sherman and comrades were among the troops that absorbed the desperate fury of Pickett’s Charge; Sherman emerged with the battle flag of the 28th Virginia, a flag now in the possession of the Minnesota Historical Society. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Sherman lost a leg in battle in August of 1864 and returned to St. Paul, where he lived until his death in 1896. Annotated, with four illustrations.

Case Of The Vanishing Historic Site Or What Happened To Carver's Cave
Author Charles Burnley
A reprint of a 1913 article from the St. Paul Dispatch. The entrance to Carver’s Cave was rediscovered and the cave reopened, with considerable ceremony, in 1913. Jonathan Carver had come across the enormous cavern beneath Dayton’s Bluff in 1767.
Much Indian legend surrounded the cave, but railroads had closed the entrance around 1885. The city planned to turn the area into a park and the cave into a tourist attraction.
With three photographs, a map, and a drawing, plus post-script and annotations not part of the original article. The author was still alive and a member of the Ramsey County Historical Society. The city’s plans came to nothing.

Charles Borup - Fur Trader, Banker, Lumberman, And Minnesota's First Danish Consul
Author Nancy Woolworth
Charles Borup lived in St. Paul only 11 years. Born in Copenhagen in 1806, he was educated to be a physician, but chose adventure instead. In 1830 he landed at the Mackinac Island fur trading post. In 1848 he set up his fur trading business in St. Paul, and quickly expanded into real estate and banking – "the first legitimate banking-house in St. Paul." Borup and his wife built a fine "villa" downtown and were renowned for their musical soirees. He died suddenly in 1859 leaving a large estate, a widow, and nine children. Annotated.

Forgotten Pioneers - Women
"Among the most forgotten of Ramsey County’s forgotten pioneers are the patient, courageous wives of the men who founded, settled and built St. Paul and the surrounding communities in the county." Mrs. Abraham Perry was among the very first, settling near Fountain Cave in 1838. Rose Perry had the distinction of participating in St. Paul’s first wedding; she married J. R. Clewett in April of 1839, when St. Paul was still Pig’s Eye. Adele Perry married Vetal Guerin in 1841, with Father Lucien Galtier presiding; the descriptions of the wedding feast and honeymoon are memorable; Vetal and Adele survived both. Mary Turpin married Louis Robert, joining him in a life of fortune-seeking adventure. Matilda Rumsey built a school in St. Paul in 1845. Mrs. M. L. Stoakes had her own store in the city around 1850. Mrs. J. W. Selby toiled with her husband to build a fortune in the early 1850s. Annotated.

Memories Of The University - 1870's
Author Lillie Gibbs Levisconte
Lillie Gibbs grew up on what became Ramsey County Historical Society’s Gibbs Farm at Larpenteur and Fairview. At age 79 she wrote her memories of the University of Minnesota. She attended commencement ceremonies 1873 through 1877. Annotated.

Spring 1967 Volume 4 Number 1
Early Explorers' Trails Criss-Crossed Today's' Ramsey County

Author Alan Woolworth
A summary of the deeds of explorers who passed through or near Ramsey County (the piece in fact covers Minnesota generally) before 1840, including LeSueur, Carver, Hennepin, Pike, Long, Cass, Schoolcraft, and Nicollet. With 10 illustrations including a portion of Nicollet’s 1843 map.

Restless, Troubled Opportunist - Portrait Of A Pioneer Photographer
Author Henry Hall
William Illingworth, born 1844, came to St. Paul in 1850 and became a professional photographer in 1867. A pioneer of outdoor wet-plate photography, he made an expedition with Custer in 1874, then illicitly sold the prints but got away with it. Back in St. Paul, he made many images of the young city prized today. Illingworth had a tormented personal life; he married three times, was widowed twice and divorced once. He took his own life in 1893. Illustrated by a portrait of Illingworth and seven of his photographs.

A Bridge, A Street, A Levee - Louis Robert's Name Lingers In St. Paul
Author Patricia Condon
He was one of the ur-pioneers – early settler, merchant, fur trader, steamboat captain and entrepreneur, real estate speculator, politician. He even got in on the Dakota Uprising of 1862, narrowly escaping with his life. Robert came to St. Paul from Prairie du Chien in 1843, bought, sold, and gave away huge portions of what became downtown, ran a fleet of five steamboats in the 1850s, built the first frame and then the first brick residences in town, and participated in the organization of Minnesota Territory. He died rich in 1874.

The Saga Of Charley Pitts' Body
Charley Pitts was part of the James-Younger gang that robbed the First National Bank in Northfield in September of 1876. He was killed by a posse two weeks later. His body was exhibited at the state capitol. What became of it after that? In 1946 Lillie Gibbs LeVesconte wrote of what she had seen and heard as a girl in St. Paul – details of the body’s treatment and fate.

Forgotten Pioneers - Rose Township
Roseville takes it name from Isaac Rose, but he never lived there. A soldier and farmer, Rose came to St. Paul in 1843 and farmed mostly in what became the Merriam Park neighborhood. He once owned the land now occupied by Macalester College. Rose Township received his name because he helped map the area in 1850.

Time, Luck & Stamina - Pioneers Needed Them All When Seeking A Farm
Coates P. Bull of St. Paul, age 93, recalls the story of how his parents came to Minneapolis in 1857, found and bought farm land at what became 50th and France in Edina, and began farm operations.

Fall 1966 Volume 3 Number 2
Encamped At Fairgrounds, Minnesota Troops Fight Typhoid Fever Epidemic Of 1898
Author Herbert Plass

Random Recollection- 45 Years As A School Board Member
Author Robert Jordan

Reminiscences Of A Lady In The Vicinity Of St. Paul - A Sioux Medicine Dance And A
Perilous Journey
Author Ellen Rice Hollinshead

Forgotten Pioneers- Benjamin F. Hoyt

Spring 1966 Volume 3 Number 1
Colorful & Handy With The Pistol - St. Paul's Territorial Editors

Author Berneta Hilbert
Early newspapering in St. Paul was competitive and rancorous. D.A. Robertson of the Minnesota Democrat wrote the James Goodhue of the Pioneer was "a moral lunatic … [whose] transparent wickedness would excite only the pity and compassion of the community." Though still a comparative village, the city in 1855 had five dailies, and they battled each other in print and out, for readers, advertisers, and contracts. Conflicts sometimes even became violent, as when Goodhue and a favorite target, Judge David Cooper, wounded each other in a knife and pistol brawl. Along the way, these early editors wrote some memorable prose and left an invaluable record of St. Paul’s pioneer era. With nine photographs, including portraits of seven early editors, and endnotes.

Minnesota's Early Libel Laws
Author Henry Cowie
Early Minnesota libel laws put a brake to the excesses of early journalism. The first state supreme court libel decision, in 1860, held that accusing an editor of stopping low enough to "steal children’s diapers from the clothes line" was libelous. An 1884 case ruled it libelous to call a lawyer a shyster. An 1885 statute made certain libels criminal, while an 1887 statute made retractions a partial defense. These and other legal develop-ments moved Minnesota journalism toward its modern era, but "undoubtedly led to powering reader interest in the editorial pages by raising the standard of their contents."
With endnotes.

Box Stoves, Cipher-Downs, Sleigh Rides - Memories Of A Rural School
Author Frank Paskewitz
The author, a member of the Ramsey County Historical Society Board of Directors, attended a one-room school in Todd County in the first decade of the 20th century. He recalls that school in detail – its appearance, the wood stove, traveling to and from by sleigh, lunches carried in old sorghum buckets, writing slates and cipher-down competitions, swimming in the nearby creek at lunchtime. "The one-room rural school is passing from the American scene but it is leaving behind it memories of a more simple, less complex and, as I remember it, a happier way of life." Three photographs.