Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 37-3 Fall 2002

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

Volume 37

Volume 37, Number 3: Fall 2002

Lost Neighborhood: Borup’s Addition and the Prosperous Pioneer African Americans Who Owned Homes There
Author: David Riehle
The story of a vanished neighborhood populated, though not exclusively, by pioneer African Americans, many of whom arrived around the time of the Civil War. This nineteenth-century community was located in Borup’s Addition on the eastern edge of today’s downtown, roughly between Robert Street, Seventh, Broadway and on the north by today’s I-94 freeway. The residents of the neighborhood were generally a prosperous group, many owned their homes and businesses long before the famous Rondo community developed. Using old city valuation files, city directories and other sources, the author looks at several houses, one grocery store and the people who lived on Sibley Street. Additional information comes from a 1923 interview with John Hickman Sr., one of the old-timers from the area and son of the legendary Rev. Robert Hickman. John Hickman described the neighborhood as an amalgam of free people of color from the northern states, and ex-slaves, often called “contrabands,” who arrived in the city during the Civil War. Two of the people he remembered were James K. Hillyard, a beloved tailor and musician, and barber Blakely Durant. Old records indicate that Borup’s Addition was almost evenly split between black and white residents, but they did not share buildings. By 1900, most of the African-American residents had moved to the northwest and homes in that area slowly became decrepit. In the mid-1930s the city acquired the homes to allow an expansion of the city market.
PDF of Riehle article

Fur Trader, Banker, Danish Vice Consul: This Was the Borup of Borup’s Addition
Author: Virginia Brainard Kunz
A short biographical sketch of Danish-born Charles William Wulff Borup, a man with a medical degree. He came to the Midwest in 1835 as an agent for the American Fur Company and moved to St. Paul in 1848, where he became involved in real estate. With his brother-in-law, Borup founded a bank. He married a Métis woman and raised a family of nine children. Borup became a wealthy man and supporter of the arts. He died of a heart attack in 1859.
PDF of Kunz article

St. Gaudens’ New York Eagle: Rescue and Restoration of St. Paul’s First Outdoor Sculpture, Icon of Its Past
Author: Christine Podas-Larson
The New York Eagle is one of St. Paul’s most famed outdoor sculptures. It became a fixture in downtown in 1887 when the New York Life Insurance Company built a St. Paul branch. The bronze eagle, modeled by prominent sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens and his brother Louis, perched above the entrance of the ten-story building at Sixth and Minnesota. After the building torn down in 1967, the salvaged sculpture was relocated to the outer edge of a new parking ramp. Public Art St. Paul gained legal control of the Eagle in 1999 and worked on its restoration and installation at Summit Overlook Park.
PDF of Podas-Larson article

PDF of Restoring the New York Eagle

Summit Overlook Park: Once Upon a Time: Carpenter Park and Its Five-Story Hotel
Author: Thomas Zahn
A short history of Summit Overlook Park, which once held the Carpenter Hotel. It was acquired by the Saint Paul Parks Department in 1900 and was the spot chosen for the New York Eagle’s new roost.

PDF of New Roost for the New York Eagle

Growing Up In St Paul: Seeing, Talking to, Calling on Sprits: Grandma Minda’s Adventures in Spiritualism
Author: Joanne Englund
The story of Minda Sands, a Scandinavian woman as remembered and written by her granddaughter. Minda and her husband bought a lot on Edmund Street between Albert and Pascal Streets, living in tents and then an alley house until a large home was completed in 1916. Minda worked at the Bonn refrigerator during World War I. Paul died in the 1918 flu epidemic and Minda had to carry on alone for most of her remaining years, raising her children, working at different jobs and participating in the social life during the 1930s and ‘40s. Minda had a great interest in spiritualism that lasted until her death at age 95.
PDF of Growing Up in St. Paul

Those Squealing Red River Ox Carts: Norman Kittson and the Fur Trade
Authors: Clarence Rife and Holly Walters
In 1830 at the age sixteen, Canadian-born Norman Kittson joined the American Fur Company and headed west. He eventually arrived in Minnesota where he joined Henry Sibley in the fur business and as a settler’s clerk at Ft. Snelling. Soon he began operating a string of fur posts from Pembina in northwestern Minnesota. Kittson used wooden Red River ox carts to haul furs to St. Paul. The article describes the fur business, Kittson’s attitudes toward Native Americans, his involvement in politics, and his various business ventures. Kittson’s pride and joy was Kittsondale, a stable and race track once located in St. Paul’s Midway area.
PDF of Rife & Walters article

Book Reviews

George Byron Merrick, Old Times on the Upper Mississippi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001).

Mary Christine Athans, “To Work for the Whole People:” John Ireland’s Seminary in St. Paul (New York: Paulist Press, 2002).
PDF of Book Reviews

PDF of Letters to the Editor