Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 26, Number 4: Winter 1991
St. Paul’s First Shot Veterans: The Crew of the U.S.S. Ward and the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Author: Jane McClure
The U.S.S. Ward, a destroyer, served in combat for precisely three years, December 7, 1941 to December 6, 1944. Manned by naval reservists from St. Paul, the Ward saw combat at Pearl Harbor (“We thought it was the end of the world.”), Guadalcanal, and the Philippines, losing only one crewman along the way. Disabled by a kamikaze attack, the ship had to be scuttled in the Pacific. Crewmen from the Ward fired the first shots in the war with Japan, sinking a mini-submarine an hour before the air attack on December 7. After the war, most of the St. Paul crewmen returned home to long and productive lives.
PDF of McClure article
Help, Housing ‘Almost Impossible to Find’: A Single Mother and World War II
Author: Hilda Rachey
The trials of a young, single, working mother of two in St. Paul during World War II. She had to scramble time and again to find housing and child care (both often inadequate), deal with a temporary transfer, travel by foot and streetcar, and endure wartime shortages. “Our ration coupons allowed one pair of shoes a year for each person. No allowance was made for the fact that children’s feet grow . . . .” Only after the war did their conditions improve. Still, “If I could have my way, I would gladly go back and relive those days when the children were small and I had them with me.” A well-written and unusual memoir of life on the home front during the war.
PDF of Rachey article
100 Years of Helping People: Family Service and Its Legacy of Leadership
Author: Tom Kelley
Family Service, Inc., a social service agency, began in St. Paul in 1892 and has lasted one hundred years. Beginning as Associated Charities, an information clearinghouse for the coordination of private charity for the “worthy poor,” in the 1910s it moved into relief and social work, with an emphasis on “the preservation of family life.” The agency survived several wars, the Depression, periodic financial crises, and demographic changes to become and remain a full-service, private, secular social-service provider. Strong leaders (notably James Jackson, Charles Stillman, A. E. Heckman, Dawson Bradshaw, and Ron Reed) have been very important. Once the mission became established, the agency stuck with its core functions while changing with the times. Thus Family Service has regularly added new services while discarding others, merged with other agencies, developed new sources of money, and grown in size and scope. This article is a condensation of the agency’s history, A Legacy of Leadership and Service.
PDF of Kelley article
What’s Historic About This Site? St. Paul’s Union Depot
The Union Depot opened in 1923, after the railroad age had peaked. The last passenger train stopped there in 1970. It has been searching for a purpose ever since. It is very fine nevertheless; “a simple, rather severe example of the Neo-classical style of architecture often used in public buildings during the first half of the twentieth century.”
PDF of Historic Site
Anne Bosanko Green, One Woman’s War: Letters Home from the Women’s Army Corps (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989).
Jody Barret Litoff, David C. Smith, Barbara Woodall Taylor, and Charles E. Taylor, eds., Miss You: The World War II Letters of Barbara Woodall Taylor and Charles E. Taylor (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1990).
PDF of Book Reviews