Ramsey County Historical Society

Ramsey County Historical Society The mission of the Ramsey County Historical Society is to preserve our past, inform the present and inspire the future of the residents of Ramsey County and beyond.
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The RCHS Mary Livingston Griggs & Mary Griggs Burke Research Center: Hours: Mon-Thurs, 12:30-4:30pm Basement, Landmark Center RCHS Offices: Hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00am-5:00 pm Third floor, Landmark Center RCHS Exhibit Gallery Open during Landmark Center hours, located on first floor, North end The Ramsey County Historical Society preserves, presents and publishes the stories of Ramsey County, and makes them available to the public and to researchers through exhibitions in our Exhibit Gallery in the Landmark Center and throughout the County, and through the publication of books and "Ramsey County History" magazine. RCHS also owns and manages the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakota Life on Cleveland & Larpenteur Aves. The Gibbs is open to school and private tours, field trips, and rental events by appointment; organizes special historical events; and is open to the public, weekends mid-May through the end of October, 10am-4pm.

08/06/2020
Storytime with Gibbs Farm - Little Red Riding Sheep

Storytime with Gibbs Farm - Little Red Riding Sheep

Join us as we read a story with our pasture pals! Learn more about Gibbs Farm at rchs.com Little Red Riding Sheep by Linda Ravin Lodding illustrated by Cale ...

Toni Stone slid through the gender barrier in baseball, growing up in St. Paul playing on boys’ teams. By the age of 15,...
08/05/2020

Toni Stone slid through the gender barrier in baseball, growing up in St. Paul playing on boys’ teams. By the age of 15, she was playing for the semi-pro St. Paul Giants. She became one, if not the first, woman to play professionally in men’s leagues. But, she was often shunned and called names. She didn’t always receive her pay and she wasn’t always even allowed off the bench. Toni Stone’s final season was in 1954 with the Kansas City Monarchs. After her baseball career she became a nurse. In 1996, Dunning Baseball Stadium at Marshall Avenue and Dunlap Street in St. Paul was re-named Toni Stone Field in her honor.

For the month of August, we’ll be re-issuing and expanding past Facebook posts about some of the great African-American ...
08/03/2020

For the month of August, we’ll be re-issuing and expanding past Facebook posts about some of the great African-American athletes that called our community home. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues in 2020, we’ll celebrate and share posts on baseball, but we’ll include a few other sports as well.

To start off, a player that showed her talent at a young age was Toni Stone, pitching several games among adult men at the age of 16 in 1937. She was one of only three women to play professional baseball in Minnesota and was an excellent baseball player who overcame racial and gender indignities. Toni’s last pro season was in 1957, and she once said that getting a hit off Satchel Paige was her greatest thrill in baseball.

07/30/2020
Meet the Chickens!

Meet the chickens at Gibbs Farm!

Meet the Gibbs Farm chickens! Their names are Minerva, Luna, Fleur, Trixie, and Nymphadora. Learn more about Gibbs Farm at rchs.com Music: "I'm Letting Go" &...

The communities of Ramsey County have fascinating histories, and we wish we’d had time to get to them all! If we missed ...
07/30/2020

The communities of Ramsey County have fascinating histories, and we wish we’d had time to get to them all! If we missed your community, we’ll try to get to it in the future. We’d like to thank this month’s guest contributors: the Hill Farm Historical Society; the Maplewood Area Historical Society, the Roseville Historical Society & Beverly Kroschel; Lucena Slaten; the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society; Matt Wright.
Photo is of the old Ramsey County Court House and City Hall, northeast corner of Wabasha and 4th Streets, from about 1900. RCHS Collection.

Maplewood’s odd shape has to do with the merging and annexation of other communities. When Ramsey County was established...
07/28/2020

Maplewood’s odd shape has to do with the merging and annexation of other communities. When Ramsey County was established in 1858 it had six townships in addition to the City of St. Paul: Reserve Township, Rose Township, Mounds View Township, White Bear Township, New Canada Township, and McLean Township. These townships slowly disappeared or were incorporated - only White Bear Township is left today.
Maplewood was originally part of New Canada and McLean Townships. The area south of Hudson Road became McLean Township, and the area north of Hudson Road was New Canada Township.
The City of St Paul repeatedly annexed land from New Canada and McLean Townships between the early 1850s and 1887, when present city boundaries were established. Around 1890, the remaining five square miles of McLean merged with New Canada. North St. Paul was incorporated as a village in 1887 and Little Canada in 1953; what was left of New Canada Township became part of Maplewood when it incorporated in 1957.
New Canada Township built a town hall near the north shore of Lake Phalen in 1879. This was moved to Gladstone around 1900. By the early 1950s, the old town hall was sold and meetings were held in Gladstone School. Fire protection was started in the mid 1940s by the Gladstone volunteer fire department, soon joined by the Parkside and East County Line volunteer departments. In 1997, they merged to become the Maplewood Fire Department.
All of these communities helped make Maplewood what it is today.
The photo is Gladstone School, District 21, from the 1920s. The school was built in 1889 on Frost Avenue, one-half mile west of the Ramsey County Home. Gladstone was a settlement in present-day Maplewood that eventually became a ghost town by the 1920s. RCHS Collection.

Maplewood could be said to have grown out of several communities, including Gladstone and New Canada and McLean Township...
07/27/2020

Maplewood could be said to have grown out of several communities, including Gladstone and New Canada and McLean Townships. In 1852, Thomas Carver began farming to the west of Carver Lake. Settlers began moving in about 1853, after the Dakota were forcefully moved to a reservation. The last operating farm in Maplewood was probably the Bruentrup Heritage Farm on White Bear Avenue - in 1999, the farm buildings were donated to the Maplewood Area Historical Society for preservation and programming.
In 1856 a stagecoach line from St. Paul to Duluth ran through the area, replaced by railroad lines in 1870. Lake Phalen Junction on the railroad line was renamed Gladstone in 1887 when William and Mary Dawson purchased and platted a town site, naming it after British stateman William Gladstone. Dawson relocated his St. Paul Plow Works to the junction and convinced the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad to build maintenance shops in today’s Gladstone Savanna. By the 1890s, the businesses employed 1,000 workers. Gladstone had a post office, a hotel, at least two saloons, a brothel and a population of about 150. But the Plow Works suffered a fire and several bankruptcies, closing in 1908, and the railroad shops closed around 1917. Gladstone became a ghost town by the 1920s, and the depot closed in the 1950s. More on Maplewood later!
Image: Bruentrup Farm, at the Maplewood Area Historical Society. Photo courtesy Robyn Priestley/RCHS

Ramsey County Historical Society is taking applications for a part-time Accountant. Please see the page at https://www.r...
07/27/2020
Job & Volunteer Opportunities - Ramsey County Historical Society

Ramsey County Historical Society is taking applications for a part-time Accountant. Please see the page at https://www.rchs.com/about/job-opportunities/ for more information and how to apply. Please do not apply through Facebook.

Ramsey County Historical Society & Gibbs Farm Job & Volunteer Opportunities Position Description – Accountant Ramsey County Historical Society Updated July 15, 2020 Title: Accountant Classification: Part-Time, Non-Exempt (.6 FTE; 24-26 Hours/Week average) Downloadable PDF of Accountant Position De...

Chapman’s business interests included becoming the tri-state distribution representative for farm-related equipment, sil...
07/25/2020

Chapman’s business interests included becoming the tri-state distribution representative for farm-related equipment, silos, dairy supplies, barn equipment and livestock feed. He organized the Milk Producers Association in 1917 holding the office of secretary for the organization. Possessing a knack for bringing people together, he put on a huge dinner for prominent businessmen and farmers in his scrubbed barn, complete with linen tablecloths covering one long banquet table.
Left Photo: Pictured in front with raffle bucket, H. H. Chapman often held popular dances in his barn. Middle: This dining table was for the cows, but it is their barn.
Right: Milk Producers banquet 1917, dinner is served. On the left side of photo is H.H.Chapman, with his daughter Cecile on his lap, his wife, Mary, with their son Howard on her lap. Directly across the table, on right are the parents of H.H. Chapman. Photos courtesy Lucena Slaten.

In what is now Shoreview, H.H. Chapman built his first and second homes, with a dairy farm and outbuildings, on what was...
07/25/2020

In what is now Shoreview, H.H. Chapman built his first and second homes, with a dairy farm and outbuildings, on what was then Breezy Point. Chapman named the area around his dairy farm Horseshoe Drive. He petitioned Ramsey County to cut a road from Rice Street between Lake Owasso and Lake Wabasso to access his property, continuing west to Victoria. In those days it began as a “corduroy” road, made with tree logs laid perpendicular to the road, covered with sand and dirt, now known as North Lake Owasso Boulevard. Sunday picnics were often held between Lake Wabasso and Lake Owasso which is now Lake Owasso Park and picnic area. Photo: West end of Horseshoe Drive, marked with stone pillars to identify the drive. Looking west toward what is now Chandler Ave., where cars & buggies are parked for beach-goers. In the distance can be seen the Gus Forster (sp) farmhouse and acreage. Photo & caption courtesy of Lucena Slaten.

Born on November 7, 1862 in Niles, Michigan, Harry Howard Chapman moved with his parents to St. Paul in 1867. As a young...
07/24/2020

Born on November 7, 1862 in Niles, Michigan, Harry Howard Chapman moved with his parents to St. Paul in 1867. As a young man, H. H. Chapman would become a tobacconist and cigar dealer in St Paul, owning two stores, one at the corner of 4th & Jackson (opened in 1890), and a branch in the lobby of the New York Life Building (opened in 1906). Inspired by business associates, in the early 1890s H.H. Chapman began the development of a resort that is presently know as Chapman’s Lake Owasso. His vision was a hotel over the water with a theme park adjacent on the peninsula. Building of the hotel began circa 1925, however, the stock market crash of 1929 resulted in its loss. The deteriorating support pilings could still be seen many years after. These were the first of H. H. Chapman’s many efforts to promote and raise awareness for the need to develop the “north end” of St. Paul as it was known then, what we know as Shoreview today.
Left photo: Chapman Cigar Store, 4th & Jackson, H.H.Chapman behind counter, with musicians below left, circa early 1900s. Right: In 1925 H. H. Chapman build the Velvet Inn with the See-me bathing facilities as part of his amusement park vision. Photo facing east, on the shore of Lake Owasso, west end of Horseshoe Drive. Photos courtesy of Lucena Slaten.

Roseville stands on land that was valued by the Dakota and Ojibway Indians.  The Dakota claimed superiority over all peo...
07/22/2020

Roseville stands on land that was valued by the Dakota and Ojibway Indians. The Dakota claimed superiority over all people because their sacred leaders taught that the juncture of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers were immediately over the center of earth and beneath the center of heaven.
In 1940, Ramsey County Surveyors bolstered this claim when they placed this rock in Roseville marking exactly one half the distances between the equator and the North Pole. The 45th parallel monument is located on Cleveland one block north of Roselawn on Loren. Photo courtesy of the Roseville Historical Society.

Gibbs Farm: Pathways to Dakota & Pioneer Life
07/21/2020

Gibbs Farm: Pathways to Dakota & Pioneer Life

Don't forget! Gibbs Farm is currently open by appointment on Fridays and Saturdays. There are limited spots available through Saturday, August 28. Find out more and register online:⁠
https://www.rchs.com/news/gibbs-farm-open-by-registration/
You can also register by calling the office. Office hours are M-F 9-4. #history #historichouse #minnesota #familyfun

Charles Moise Melancon was also born in the parish of St. Jacques L'Ashigan in the Province of Quebec, Canada, on Decemb...
07/20/2020

Charles Moise Melancon was also born in the parish of St. Jacques L'Ashigan in the Province of Quebec, Canada, on December 18, 1832. He left home at 15, and learned the trade of blacksmithing in Montreal, Canada. He immigrated to the U.S. to Buffalo, N.Y., traveled to St. Louis, MO, and thence to Keokuk, Iowa. He then came to St. Paul, and to Little Canada where he opened the first blacksmithing shop on Sept. 8, 1858. Charles operated this shop until 1870, when he moved to the farm which he had previously purchased. On January 28, 1861 he married Lady Ann (Marie) Clewett, who was reportedly the first white female born in what is now St. Paul. He died March 23, 1904.
Photo circa 1890, T.M. Swem, St. Paul. RCHS Collection.

A later French-Canadian immigrant from Quebec was Joseph P. Melanon, (otherwise known as Joseph Placide). Joseph was bor...
07/19/2020

A later French-Canadian immigrant from Quebec was Joseph P. Melanon, (otherwise known as Joseph Placide). Joseph was born in the parish of St. Jacques L'Ashigan in the Province of Quebec, Canada, January 7, 1819. He studied law for three years, and also spent four years in Paris, France, studying portrait painting. From Paris he went to Germany, thence to England and finally landed in Ireland. Coming back to Buffalo, N.Y. he managed a large hotel for seven years. In 1854 he came to St. Paul and purchased a small farm where he specialized in growing grapes. He taught school in Little Canada, was Justice of the Peace and also Town Clerk of New Canada Township. He moved to Stephens, MN, in 1899 and died there in 1902.
Photo 1890, N.A. Giguer, 486 Wabasha St., St. Paul. RCHS Collection.

Little Canada was founded by French-Canadians who had migrated from today’s Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. The first set...
07/17/2020

Little Canada was founded by French-Canadians who had migrated from today’s Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. The first settler in the area was Benjamin Gervais, who was born in 1786 in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec. Gervais was a fur trader who moved to Pembina in the Red River Colony and then to Fort Snelling in 1827. His son Basil was the first white baby born in St. Paul in 1839. He later lived in Lowertown and (with Vital Guerin) donated the land for Fr. Galtier’s church, from which St. Paul got its name. In 1841 he built a cabin and the first non-government grist mill in Minnesota on a creek between Lake Gervais (his namesake) and Vadnais Lake. Soon, other French-Canadians followed him and the community was born.

For centuries, the land around White Bear Lake has been known to Native Americans as part of the seasonal migration rout...
07/15/2020

For centuries, the land around White Bear Lake has been known to Native Americans as part of the seasonal migration routes of the Dakota. The first recorded reference to the White Bear area appears in Joseph Nicollet’s 1843 “Map of the Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River” in which he labels the 2,400 acre-water feature as “Bears Lake.” The French-born explorer relied upon Indigenous guides to help him identify and describe the territory between the Upper Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and the inclusion of Bears Lake on the map points to the significance of this place to those who lived in the area prior to the arrival of Europeans. Courtesy of White Bear Lake Historical Society.

Today, White Bear Township with an estimated population of 11,789 is the smallest, but most densely populated township o...
07/13/2020

Today, White Bear Township with an estimated population of 11,789 is the smallest, but most densely populated township of Minnesota’s nearly 1,800 towns and the only remaining township in Ramsey County. Townships within twenty miles of Minneapolis or St. Paul City Halls are granted urban powers, allowing them to act much like cities by regulating local utilities, engaging in economic development activities, and creating departments of town government. White Bear Township is governed by a three-member town board and holds an annual meeting each March where electors have a strong voice in the direction of their government. Courtesy of White Bear Lake Area Historical Society.

White Bear Lake was a well-known resort town in the early twentieth century. One popular venue was the Hotel Chateaugay,...
07/10/2020

White Bear Lake was a well-known resort town in the early twentieth century. One popular venue was the Hotel Chateaugay, operated over the years by the Markoe and Benson families. Wealthy vacationers took a break from the hustle and bustle of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and other busy Midwestern cities to enjoy the lake and the many lake-related activities, including boating, swimming, and fishing. Hotel staff often came from the cities, as well. Out-of-town waiters, chefs, maids, and other employees stayed at the hotel itself, in the homes or guest houses of the proprietors, or in cottages or tent villages. Sometimes, their families joined them for the summer. Hotel photo courtesy of White Bear Lake Area Historical Society.

07/08/2020
East Side Freedom Library

Join the Ramsey County Historical Society and the East Side Freedom Library tomorrow evening, Thursday, July 9 at 7:00 pm for an important conversation with Bill Green, Christopher Lehman, and Marty Case, "Exploring the Historical Roots of Racism in Minnesota."

Premiere on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EastSideFreedomLibrary/videos/904936243330741/), YouTube (https://youtu.be/OK64iOMWcQg).

In the past year, local historians have published three eye-opening books, each of which, grounded in careful research, explore the roles played by racism in the development of Minnesota. Marty Case’s The Relentless Business of Treaties explores how the U.S., territorial, and state governments, and their leaders, stole land from the indigenous people who had lived here for centuries. Chris Lehman’s Slavery’s Reach reveals the power and influence exerted by wealthy southern slaveholders in the early years of the “North Star State,” and the cooperation extended to them by the state’s founders. Bill Green’s Children of Lincoln tracks the journeys away from abolition and racial equality trod by the new state’s leaders in the immediate post-Civil War years.

These three historians undertook their research and wrote their books independently of each other. Each of them has spoken about his book at ESFL. Now, we are able to bring them together for a conversation about the connections and implications of their conclusions. Given the heightened concern over racism being expressed in our communities, this is a timely conversation for them—and for us—to have. Please join us.

Video premiere on Facebook, YouTube (https://youtu.be/OK64iOMWcQg) and Twitter.

A conversation with Bill Green, Christopher Lehman, and Marty Case

In the past year, local historians have published three eye-opening books, each of which, grounded in careful research, explore the roles played by racism in the development of Minnesota. Marty Case’s The Relentless Business of Treaties explores how the U.S., territorial, and state governments, and their leaders, stole land from the indigenous people who had lived here for centuries. Chris Lehman’s Slavery’s Reach reveals the power and influence exerted by wealthy southern slaveholders in the early years of the “North Star State,” and the cooperation extended to them by the state’s founders. Bill Green’s Children of Lincoln tracks the journeys away from abolition and racial equality trod by the new state’s leaders in the immediate post-Civil War years.

These three historians undertook their research and wrote their books independently of each other. Each of them has spoken about his book at ESFL. Now, we are able to bring them together for a conversation about the connections and implications of their conclusions. Given the heightened concern over racism being expressed in our communities, this is a timely conversation for them—and for us—to have. Please join us.

After the discussion the panelists will be available virtually for further discussion in the YouTube and Facebook comments section.

Address

75 5th Street West, Suite 323 (Landmark Center)
Saint Paul, MN
55102

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(651) 222-0701

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Equity & Inclusion Statement:

History informs us, inspires new choices, brings people together, and builds community. Likewise, it can be mis-used to inspire fear, create division, and perpetuate racism and other injustices. We resolve to present history in accordance with our values of Authenticity, Innovation, Inspiration, Integrity, and Respect. We believe that by doing so our community will be more informed, more engaged, and will become stronger.

Values:


  • Authenticity: We strive for historical accuracy in all our programs and activities.

  • Innovation: We consciously seek new ways to educate and create unique programming.

  • Inspirational: We raise awareness of our past and how that informs our understanding of our present and future.

  • Integrity: We adhere to the highest standards as a nonprofit organization in all our operations.

  • Respect: We provide experiences that respect our collective heritage and the diverse cultures of our community.
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    Comments

    I am wondering if anyone has any pictures(or info) from a fire that gutted much of The Angus Hotel in St. Paul during the mid to late 1960's. Thank you in advance.
    Join us for an evening with journalist and historian Curt Brown. He will share tales from his 2008 book, So Terrible a Storm, which chronicled a 1905 gale that smacked Duluth. He will then cover his latest book, Minnesota 1918, which retells the human stories of the year when the flu pandemic, WWI and wicked fires in northern Minnesota all converged on the state. Details are online. http://bungalowclub.org/events/ St. Mary’s Episcopal Church 1895 Laurel Ave., St. Paul www.saintmarysepiscopal.org
    Hello to whoever does your media releases..I didn't get an announcement that Moira's program had been cancelled. If we hadn't been fact checking it would have been in the paper and readers would be unhappy with us and you. Please be sure to follow up on any releases sent to us. thanks. Mary Ann Grossmann
    If you have an interest in Genealogy and vintage photographs or documents I'd like to invite you to join our groups "Family Treasures Found" and "Forgotten Faces, Forgotten Places" on facebook. "Our Mission is to rescue vintage photographs, letters, etc., from languishing on dusty shelves and long-forgotten boxes. Through research we strive to reconnect long-lost ancestral history to descendants AT NO CHARGE." The groups, have been formed to display "lost" Identified/Unidentified Photos & Documents so they may be returned to their descendants (or an appropriate historical society, library, etc). Our hope is that, as more people join the group, they will identify our unmarked photos by comparing them to existing photos which they may have in their possession.
    Hello, just a note to inform you of a 1905 photo album with lots of Ramsey County photos in it. Thank you
    Didn't Abraham Lincoln hang 30 native Americans on this day?
    Does anybody have, or can tell how to obtain, photos of the Roseville library in the 1960s?
    Hi! My name is Viveca Andersson and l live in Sweden. My paternal grandmother's grandmother had a brother, LOUIS JOHNSON, who left from Landskrona for America in 1882 with his wife and children. He was christened Lars Jönsson, b. 21 Jan 1847 in Sireköpinge. He and his family settled in Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Louis Johnson died there on 11 Oct 1915. His wife's name was Karin/Karen. Their children were: - Ellida (a k a Elita), b. 2 May 1872. She married Edward J. Oswald and they had two sons, Edward Joseph and Adolph Thomas - Johan/John, b. 16 Feb 1874 - Herti, b. 2 July 1876 and - Lina, b. 1 Mar 1882 I wonder if there might be anyone who knows of now living descendants of Louis and Karen Johnson? My email address is [email protected] Thanking you in advance.