Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 11-2 Fall 1974

Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.

Volume 11

Volume 11 Number 2: Fall 1974

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 avenues 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. The property passed out of Ayd family hands in 1866. Another German immigrant, Charles Kramerath, operated the mill until his death in 1878. Soon afterward, the Short Line Railroad ceased operating the mill. 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.
PDF of Empson article

The Necessities of Life, Available Early on the Frontier
Author: Kevin Galvin
Six businesses operating downtown in 1859 were still in actively running 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. Today 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. 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 had 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. Forty years later Field-Schlick occupied an entire city block.
PDF of Galvin article

Promoters Waxed Lyrical in “Selling” St Paul
Author: Virginia Brainard Kunz

A publication entitled The Minnesota Year Book 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 a native sweet potato; 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 travel to St. Paul.
PDF of Kunz article

The 1850s 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 at the time. 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.”
PDF of 1850 article

PDF of Board of Directors