Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 24-2 1989

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

Volume 24

Volume 24, Number 2: 1989

A Pioneer Writes Home: Alexander Wilkin and 1850s St. Paul
Author: Ronald M. Hubbs
Alexander Wilkin was an important early resident of St. Paul. Lawyer, speculator, politician, adventurer, he sought fortune and glory on the frontier.
 He got both, plus an early death in battle. Letters he wrote to family in his hometown in New York, were recently found and provide a valuable insider’s view of St. Paul and Minnesota in the 1850s. They are excerpted here, with author comments. A Whig who had won appointment as Secretary of the Minnesota Territory, Wilkin knew the uncertainty of office. He sought his fortune in many ventures including insurance, railroads and newspapers. The Panic of 1857 financially wounded Wilkin, but he survived better than many. The Civil War gave him a chance for glory. He commanded Company A of the First Minnesota and died in combat.
PDF of Hubbs article

Boom, Boom, Bust! The ’29 Crash
Author: Woodrow Keljik
“Were the 1920s really prosperous?” the writer asks. In retrospect, signs of problems abounded, such as trouble on the farm, the situation in Europe, and reckless speculation. Words of caution were ignored. Another Republican victory in the 1928 elections encouraged the expanding bubble. The tumble began in early October; prices and confidence fell quickly. On October 24, St. Paul brokerage houses were crowded until long after dark. Four days later, “the plug was pulled and the shares of America’s most prominent corporations went down the drain,” according to the author. Things got even worse “as the terrible Black Tuesday of October 29 dawned.” St. Paul at first held up better than many, bolstered by its insurance and government payrolls, and it initially escaped the sharp declines seen in manufacturing. The full force of the Depression struck St. Paul in 1932. Every train brought more destitute men to the city and New Deal programs provided some amelioration.
PDF of Keljik article

PDF of Weather photo essay

PDF of Board of Directors