Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 25-4 Winter 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 4: Winter 1990

Fire on The Frontier—Tradesmen, Merchants: The Men Who Ran with the Machine
Author: Thomas J. Kelley
St. Paul’s first recorded fire occurred in 1838 – somebody torched Pierre Parrant’s lean-to. In 1850 the first Protestant church in the city, brand new, burned to the ground. Several fires later, in 1854, a formal fire company was organized. This article is the story of the creation and early years of what became the Saint Paul Fire Department. For decades all fire companies were volunteer, semi-exclusive clubs that charged dues and held social events. By 1877 the City Council, for so long so laggard in fire protection, decided to create a professional fire department and ordered the volunteer companies disbanded.
PDF of Kelley article

Christmas Myths, Memories and Our Pagan Past
Author: Virginia Brainard Kunz
The author reminds us that our Christmas traditions have varied origins, some pagan, some English, some commercial. “White Christmas” comes from an English custom of wrapping gifts for the poor in white. Thanksgiving marked the beginning of Christmas shopping season more than a century ago. “At this time of year, when tradition and memory hold us in such thrall, it is interesting to note how much a part of the past the present is.”
PDF of Kunz article
PDF of Christmas photo essay

The Mystery of the Leaking Lake: Phalen Park and Its Almost-100 Years of History
Author: Tim Koran
Phalen Park opened in 1899. Its history since then has been constant re-engineering and rebuilding, most of it having to do with controlling all that water. There has been dredging and damming; beaches have been closed and new beaches created; docks have been built, destroyed and replaced. Bathhouses, walkways, diving platforms, golf courses (the city’s first) have been rebuilt, moved, renovated. And then there was the leak. This article tells the whole story of lake and park through the 1980s.
PDF of Koran article

What’s Historic About This Site? The West Side’s Riverview Carnegie Branch Library
Endowed by Andrew Carnegie; built in 1916; and renovated in 1958.
PDF of Historic Site article

PDF of Sarah Wilkins letters

Book Reviews

Kenneth Maitland Davies, To the Last Man: The Chronicle of the 135th Infantry Regiment of Minnesota (St. Paul: Ramsey County Historical Society, 1982).
PDF of Book Reviews

PDF of Letters to the Editor

PDF of A Matter of Time