Ramsey County History Magazine

Our latest issue of Ramsey County History magazine is just published!

To receive Ramsey County History magazine in the mail, please sign up for a membership in RCHS here. You’ll receive a subscription to the magazine as one of your membership benefits!

Volume 53, Number 3: Fall 2018

St. Paul’s Mary Griggs Burke, Abby Weed Grey, and Aimee Mott Butler: Three Extraordinary Women Who Supported Art and Artists
Author: Moira F. Harris
Although most histories of the visual arts in the Twin Cities celebrate the contributions of men who were collectors, much less well-known are the roles played in the visual arts by three women in twentieth-century St. Paul: Mary Griggs Burke (1916–2012); Abby Weed Grey (1902–1983); and Aimee Mott Butler (1902–1993). For Mary Griggs Burke, collecting Japanese art from all centuries was her passion. Abby Weed Grey primarily collected contemporary art from the Middle East. Similarly, Aimee Mott Butler chose to acquire contemporary art from Minnesota. These women collectors all relied heavily on their own tastes and judgment in making the decisions on what to buy using personal or foundation money. Lastly, all three chose to donate their collections for the benefit of the public to institutions that will maintain the art and support scholarly study of it. Their examples illustrate the prominent roles that a number of women now play in the visual arts in the Twin Cities as artists, collectors, educators, curators, dealers, and critics.
PDF of Harris article

From Streetcars to Soccer: The Rise and Fall of TCRT’s Snelling Shops
Author: John W. Diers
In 1907 the Twin City Rapid Transit Company (TCRT), a privately held corporation that operated all the street car lines in Minneapolis and St. Paul, opened its Snelling Avenue shops complex in St. Paul. For nearly 50 years, workers at this site prided themselves on the high quality of the electric streetcars they manufactured, repaired, or rebuilt for TCRT during its run of providing affordable public transportation for people in the Twin Cities. Over the years, the Snelling complex expanded. In its heyday in 1920, the Snelling facility was the operating hub for seven streetcar lines that carried 238 million passengers. The automobile, however, was the undoing of the streetcar. Even after it switched to buses in 1952, TCRT was unable to compete with passenger cars. Ridership plummeted, which caused a steep decline in the firm’s profits and eventually forced its demise in 1954. Today the streetcars are gone; instead a newly erected soccer stadium, Allianz Field, occupies the Snelling Shops site.
PDF of Diers article

Fighting Students’ Summer Slide in Ramsey County: Investigate MN!
Author: Teresa Swanson
According to the Children’s Literacy Initiative, “Summer Slide is what happens when the skills students learn during the school year are lost or forgotten over the summer.” In 2015 the Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS) started a new educational program, known as Investigate MN!, designed to help students succeed by utilizing a number of the cultural resources available in the Twin Cities to engage and inspire them and to fight summer reading loss. Initially RCHS partnered with the Saint Paul City School in designing a six-weeks-long curriculum that combines reading, writing, and classroom activities with twice-weekly, hands-on learning in museums and other cultural institutions. The focus of the program is students in the sixth grade. Over the past four years, Investigate MN! has grown from 27 middle-school students to 60 participants in 2018. During the most recent summer, Investigate MN! achieved a major goal of including students from a second school. This article provides a detailed account of Investigate MN! and its progress so far.
PDF of Swanson article

Letter to the Editor
Susanne M. Adler comments on the story about Mary jane Massey, from the Winter 2018 article, “Terror Visits Fort Snelling: The 1940 Murder of Mary Jane Massey” by Steve Lydon.
PDF of Letter