RCHS is continuing to expand our educational offerings through podcasts, videos, and DVDs.
RCHS, with author and interviewer Paul Nelson, has developed a series of podcasts featuring interviews on subjects of historical interest.
All the podcasts are available here.
March of the Governors
The “March of the Governors” podcast series provides brief snapshots of Minnesota’s governors during their terms in office. As you might imagine, there’s far more to each of their stories, both positive and negative. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we hope you will be inspired to learn more.
March of the Governors #1: Henry Hastings Sibley
This is the first in a new series of podcasts. We call it March of the Governors because we will examine the lives and careers of governors of the state of Minnesota, one by one. We start with our first state governor, Henry Sibley, governor 1858 to 1860.
Featured image: Henry Hastings Sibley, (February 20, 1811-February 18, 1891) before 1889.
March of the Governors #2: Alexander Ramsey
Alexander Ramsey did not have it easy. He was orphaned at age 10 and worked as a store clerk and a carpenter before finding his vocation in politics. He served two terms in Congress from Pennsylvania and for his service to the Whig Party was rewarded, if you call it that, with being sent to a cold place with hardly any people — Minnesota. But he took to it, first as territorial governor (1849), then succeeding his rival Henry Sibley to become our second state governor. But his three years in office were nothing but crisis — Depression, war, and war. The defining event of his administration was the Dakota War of 1862, something that has darkened Ramsey’s reputation forever. There’s no evidence that Ramsey ever had sympathy for Minnesota’s native people. He left the governorship in 1863 to become a U.S. senator.
East Side Freedom Library
Author and historian John Milton tells the story of how citizen opposition delayed for many years the completion of Interstate Highway 35 through Saint Paul. And labor historian Peter Rachleff describes how he and his partner Beth Cleary plan to convert the closed Arlington Hills public library into the East Side Freedom Library in Saint Paul.
The second podcast, is now available here.
Edward Phelan was one of St. Paul’s very first settlers. Was he also a murderer? In September 1839 the body of Phelan’s cabin-mate, John Hays, was found floating in the Mississippi River. He had been beaten to death. Phelan was charged with the crime, but not convicted. Now, 170 years later, St. Paul author Gary Brueggemann believes he has solved the case. He tells the tale in his new book, Minnesota’s Oldest Murder Mystery. We met with Gary Brueggemann at Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul.
Swede Hollow is a ravine on St. Paul’s east side, and for a hundred years — 1850s to 1950s — a receptor neighborhood for recent immigrants. Swedes first, then Italians, then Mexican-Americans. St. Paul historian Steve Trimble edited the Swede Hollow memoirs of Michael Sanchelli for the Spring 2014 issue of Ramsey County History magazine. Steve Trimble joined us to talk about life in old Swede Hollow.
The German Friend
What can an anti-Nazi writer and intellectual, exiled in the United States, do for his beloved Germany? Over 70 years ago, Prinz Hubertus zu Lowenstein visited St. Paul and met Hamline University student John Larson. A lifelong friendship and flood of letters ensued. John Larson has now assembled some of these letters, from WWII and after, into a book entitled The German Friend, published by RCHS. Paul Nelson interviewed Mr. Larson at his home in Taylors Falls.
The Minnesota Historical Society has created a new venture called MNopedia: short-form articles of state history – including several Ramsey County stories – in an online encyclopedia. This podcast also has an interview with MNopedia’s then-editor, Molly Huber.
Joe Rolette & the Minnesota State Capital
For more than a century pioneer legislator Joe Rolette has been credited for preventing the Minnesta State Capitol from being moved from St. Paul to St. Peter. The story has been repeated countless times. But is it true?
In this episode, Minnesota historian William Lass makes the case that the popular story is folklore, not history.
March 9, 2016
He was sometimes known as “mayor for life.” George Latimer served as mayor of St. Paul from 1976 to 1990, the longest consecutive term in St. Paul history. A lot happened on his watch: the Town Square and Lowertown developments, the Dutch elm plague; the departure of big employers like Whirlpool and Amhoist; a population decline of 40,000, and plenty more. Throughout it all Mr. Latimer remained very popular; he is still popular today. In this interview you will hear some of the reason why: there is lots of laughter.
Who Was Harriet Bishop?
October 30, 2016
Harriet Bishop is the only well-known woman among St. Paul’s early settlers. In fact, she may be the best-known of all. She was Minnesota’s first schoolteacher, yes, but what else do we know about her? Minnesota’s leading historian, Professor Mary Wingerd, brings us closer to the real Harriet Bishop — writer, land speculator, jilted bride, divorcee — a person far more interesting than our image of her as virtuous schoolmarm.
Ford Motor Company
December 31, 2016
For almost a century the Ford Motor Company built vehicles in St. Paul, first on University Avenue, and from 1925 onward in Highland Park. Architect and historian Brian McMahon has now published a book telling the story of Ford in St. Paul, The Ford Century. And for the Fall 2016 issue of Ramsey County History magazine McMahon wrote an article about the Highland Park factory’s defense production during World War II. We talked with Brian McMahon about both themes.
Fort Snelling and the Civil War
April 24, 2017
The Euro-American phase of Minnesota history begins with Fort Snelling, starting in 1820. The fort’s busiest period was 1861-1865 — the Civil War and the Dakota Conflict. All of the soldiers headed south to fight for the Union, and west to fight the Dakota, passed through the fort. And over a thousand displaced Dakota were interned there too. Steve Osman’s new book, Fort Snelling and the Civil War published by the Ramsey County Historical Society — is full of stories you’ve never heard before.
The Gibbs Farm
December 1, 2017
The Gibbs Farm podcast available here.
The Gibbs Farm museum preserves remnants of both native and pioneer life from the mid-19th century, right in the middle of a densely populated urban environment. There you can find farm buildings from the Gibbs family, an archeological site, re-creations of a sod hut, native tipi and long house, native prairie and an early orchard, and a one-room school house.
Image above is a drawing of the Gibbs’ sod house, “sodddy.” by Lily Gibbs.
April 9, 2018
Minnesota Caves podcast available here.
No one knows more about subterranean St. Paul — the caves beneath our feet — than geologist and author Greg Brick. In his new book, Minnesota Caves: History and Lore, Brick describes the many caves, both natural and human-made, under St. Paul — their legends, their lore, and their reality.
North Star: Civil War Stories with Daniel Bergin & Bill Green
June 4, 2018
North Star: Civil War Stories podcast available here
Ramsey County Historical Society and TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) have collaborated in the production of a new documentary film, North Star: Civil War Stories, about Minnesotans of African heritage who served in the Civil War. At the premiere screening, filmmaker Daniel Bergin and historian Bill Green discussed the project.
Crusade for Forgotten Souls with Susan Bartlett Foote
Crusade for Forgotten Souls podcast available here
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Minnesota led the nation in reform and modernization of the treatment of the mentally ill. But it didn’t last. Author Susan Bartlett Foote has told the story, a story at the same time inspiring and disheartening, in her new book, Crusade for Forgotten Souls. She brings to life some heroic and nearly forgotten people: the amazing mental health worker Engla Shey, the clergyman Arthur Foote, and the crusading governor, Luther Youngdahl.
International Institute with Krista Hanson
International Institute podcast available here
In December 1919 the International Institute of Minnesota opened its doors in St. Paul to serve the needs of recent immigrants. One hundred years later, and still in St. Paul, it continues pursuing the same mission. In the spring 2019 issue of Ramsey County History magazine author Krista Hanson chronicles the first hundred years of the International Institute. In this issue of the Ramsey County History podcast, we interview the author.
RCHS Videos and DVDS
University Avenue: One Street, A Thousand Dreams
Documentary Project & Exhibit
A collaboration between Peter Myers, Ramsey County Historical Society and Twin Cities Public Television.
DVD available through RCHS for $25.00
This fun and informative traveling exhibit is available for rent through RCHS. Contact us for more information.