Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 36, Number 3: Fall 2001
The Financial Angel Who Rescued 3M: The Life and Times of Lucius Pond Ordway
Authors: Virginia Brainard Kunz and John M. Lindley
A twenty-one-year-old man would begin a career that would bring him a fortune and a place in the upper levels of St. Paul society. Lucius Ordway was part of a band of entrepreneurs from the East who prospered in St. Paul. Born in New England, he went to Brown University and then Harvard Law School. After graduating in the 1880s, he surprised his family by deciding to go to Minnesota where he got a job in a plumbing business and swiftly rose through the ranks becoming a partner at the age of twenty-four. As the city boomed, construction called for plumbing materials. He married in 1885 and the story of his wife’s family is told. They both worshipped at the Swedenborgian church. Ordway and Richard Crane of Chicago became partners and did well, except the Panic of 1893 hurt their business. Ordway was active in the community as an officer of the Merchants Bank, a member of Minnesota Boat Club, the White Bear Yacht Club, and other organizations. Most importantly, he poured money into the fledging 3M and had the company move to St. Paul in 1910, where it prospered after World War I. Ordway was also one of the movers behind the construction of the St. Paul Hotel (1910). He moved to 400 Summit Avenue in 1918 and died there in 1948.
PDF of Kunz & Lindley article