Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 25-1 1990

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

Volume 25

Volume 25, Number 1: Spring 1990

Railroader as Yachtsman: James J. Hill and the Wacouta of St. Paul
Author: Thomas C. Buckley
In 1900 the meticulous and demanding James J. Hill bought a yacht. He bought it used for less than the asking price and ran it cheaper than the previous owners, and still made it a vessel of stunning luxury and performance. This article describes in detail the purchase, operation (including wages, uniforms, and menus), renovations, and voyages of the Wacouta, providing along the way insight into what it must have been to work for Hill (maddening.) Hill ran the ship mainly in the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River for fishing trips, and Atlantic coast excursions. On the fishing trips once the Wacouta had reached its destination “the yacht largely served as a floating packing plant.” The Hill family sold the ship after the old man died in 1916. She went on to have an eventful life-after-Hill. See “The Wacouta in Two World Wars” below.
PDF of Buckley article

Eugene V. Debs, James J. Hill and The Great Northern Railway Strike
Author: Tamara C. Truer
James J. Hill rarely lost a battle or met an adversary he could not defeat. The 1894 Great Northern strike was an exception. When he tried to impose a third wage cut on his employees in the course of eight months, the men, under the leadership of Eugene V. Debs’s American Railway Union, went on strike. All of Hill’s union-busting tactics failed. “The victory [for labor] was swift and dramatic.” Years later Hill said, “Gene Debs is the squarest labor leader I have ever known. He cannot be bought, bribed, or intimidated. . . . I know. I have dealt with him and been well spanked.”
PDF of Truer article

1940s Revisited
An eight-photo array.
PDF of photo essay

The Wacouta in Two World Wars
Author: Thomas C. Buckley
After James Hill died the family sold the Wacouta. Under three different names, Harvard, Athinai, and Palermo, it served as a World War I patrol boat, a Greek passenger ship, an Italian naval vessel, and a Mediterranean commercial craft. It was sunk twice, the last time in May of 1944.
PDF of Wacouta article

What’s Historic About This Site? The Dahl House: The Last of Old Lowertown
In 1858 Englishman William Dahl built a humble little house in St. Paul. One hundred and thirty-two years later, still humble and tiny, the Dahl House made it to the National Register of Historic Places “as the last surviving residence of the once-residential Lowertown district.”
PDF of Historic Site

Book Reviews

Rhoda R. Gilman, Northern Lights: The Story of Minnesota’s Past (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989).
Roseville, Minnesota, The Story of Its Growth, 1843–1988 (Roseville: Roseville Historical Society, 1988).
John T. Flanagan, Theodore Hamm in Minnesota: His Family and Brewery (Minneapolis: Pogo Press, 1989).
PDF of Book Reviews

PDF of Letters to the Editor

PDF of A Matter of Time