Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 15, Number 2: 1980
Long Kate, Dutch Henriette and Mother Robinson: Three Madams in
Post-Civil War St. Paul
Author: Joel E Best
According to the author, managing 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.” This article examines the careers of three madams. Samantha “Long Kate” Hutton came from Kentucky in 1867. She quickly became a successful madam and well-known character, for her six-foot stature, and her ostentatious dress. She drank heavily, got in fights, once attempted suicide, and was arrested over a hundred times. She was killed by a lover in 1881. Dutch Henriette was born in Germany around 1837 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 and legal fees. Like Long Kate, she was combative, but she died of syphilis at thirty eight. Mary E. Robinson was the city’s most prominent and successful madam at the time, overseeing its most fashionable brothel and gaining considerable wealth, some of which came from speculating in real estate. She retired in 1874 and lived to age 80.
PDF of Best article
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 came to believe that the housing conditions in St. Paul were among the worst in the nation. Aronovici’s 1917 report “Health Conditions and Health Services in St. Paul” was based on a survey of over 5,000 dwellings in the city’s slum areas. Illustrated with photographs, the report detailed the city’s housing deficiencies and made recommendations for city legislation. It was highly critical of the city’s Department of Health and touched off a public war of words with the city’s health director. Aronovici made detailed recommendations to the Wilder Board regarding actions they should take. When the board decided not to take these steps, he resigned.
PDF of Phelps article
Closing of Mattocks School—End of an Era in Education
Author: Rachel A. Bonney
Reserve Township built the original Mattocks School in 1860 at the corner of Randolph and Snelling. The frame building was replaced by a limestone structure in 1871. First called Webster
School, it was renamed for John Mattocks, the secretary of the St. Paul Board of Education, after the city annexed the township. It was a one-room “country school,” heated by a pot-bellied stove, with six rows of students, aged five to twenty-five sitting in desks bolted to the floor. Most had to walk at least a mile to reach Mattocks. Grades were taught separately, and lessons were recited to the teacher by one class while the others 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, was taken apart and rebuilt in 1964 on the grounds of
today’s Highland Park High School, where it is still utilized for classes.
PDF of Bonney article