Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 23, Number 2: 1988
The Fire and Marine: Facts, Fancies, Legends—The First 100 Years of Minnesota’s Oldest Business Corporation
Author: Ronald M. Hubbs
Businessmen generally prefer stability, but frontier towns are often shaky. The St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, born in 1853, helped create local stability. Its organizers were some of the city’s early bankers, merchants, politicians, and real-estate speculators. The company soon went dormant but awakened after the Civil War. Transportation magnate James Burbank led the company into twenty-nine states and Canada, and the building of its first headquarters. Fire and Marine not only survived the Great Depression, but it also did so without lowering salaries or letting employees go. Even when losses were catastrophic during World War II, it survived. The company has issued some oddball risks: banks against theft during Dillinger’s heyday; an ostrich rider against falls; and elephants against harm at the hands of college students.
PDF of Hubbs article
A Record Setting Winter—And the Ice Harvest on Lake Owasso
Author: Neill J. O’Neill
As a lad in the mid-1930s, the author worked three seasons harvesting ice on Lake Owasso in suburban Ramsey County. He recalls in detail how the ice harvest worked—the equipment, the procedures, the job hierarchy, and the skills. “No ballet called for better timing as the packers alternately sailed heavy ice blocks smoothly across the icy surface to be packed in place,” the author wrote. Pay came only after the harvest was done and would often all be spent in one night without much regret the next day.
PDF of O’Neill article
Love and Marriage on the Old Frontier
Author: Edward Duffield Neill
This article consists of extracts from an address made by Edward Duffield Neill at Fort Snelling in 1889. Neill tells about romances born at the Fort in olden days. Characters include Zachary Taylor, Seth Eastman, Joseph Plympton, and others less known.
PDF of Neill article