Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 38, Number 3: Fall 2003
St. Paul Underground: The University Farm Experimental Cave and How St. Paul Became the Blue Cheese Capital of the World
Author: Greg A. Brick
Willes Combs, a professor of Dairy Industry at the University of Minnesota, was buying mushrooms at a West Side cave and saw that the humidity there was similar to the humidity in the caves in which France’s famous Roquefort cheese was ripened. He decided to see if Minnesota could also produce a similar cheese. With a 1933 federal grant, the project turned out to be a great success, producing 10,000 pounds of the product. It was hoped it would help relieve the state’s milk surplus. Combs suggested that St. Paul had enough cave space to fill the world’s need for Roquefort cheese. Things lagged, but World War II cut off the supply from France and both Kraft and Land O’ Lakes rented out caves. After the war, the University’s research went in other directions and the cave went empty. The author also describes his 2003 visit to the caves.
PDF of Brick article
A Pillar of Modern Psychology: Alfred Adler and His 1937 Lecture at the Historic St. Paul Women’s City Club
Author: Roger Ballou
This article tells the story of the time the St. Paul Women’s City Club hosted a speech by famous psychologist Alfred Adler on March 8, 1937. The author provides background information about Adler and his approach to psychology as well as biographical details about Alice O’Brien, the Club’s president. The dinner and talk on the main-floor auditorium was filled to capacity with 500 in attendance. The title of Adler’s talk, “The Three Great Problems of Life,” is explained.
PDF of Ballou article
‘Laid to Rest by Strangers’ Hands’ Death in the Railroad Yards: The Century-old Mystery of a Beautiful Young Woman
Author: Susan C. Dowd
In the late evening on March 12, 1902, a young woman was run over by a train just west of the railway station at Dayton’s Bluff. Local newspapers were filled with details and one headline read “Girl’s Death a Mystery.” She was not recognized and no one from the immediate area was reported missing. Physicians could only estimate her age and describe her clothing and couldn’t tell if her death was accidental or a suicide. Visitors flooded the morgue to look at the corpse, but still no one knew her. A committee of club women arranged a funeral for the woman and provided a cemetery plot and headstone for her burial in Oakland Cemetery. The mystery remains unsolved.
PDF of Dowd article
Gibbs Museum Heritage Orchard and the Comeback of the Ancient Apple
Author: Ralph Thrane
This article deals with the history of apples, written by the resident horticulturist at the Gibbs Heritage Orchard. Thrane studied and sought out fruit that shows the diversity of the apples and that would also be resistant to Minnesota’s cold weather. The article has a list and description of seventeen different apple varieties and short explanations of their heritage.
PDF of Thrane article
Growing Up in St. Paul: A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Payne Avenue in the 1950s—“It Was Like Living in a Small Town”
Author: DeAnne Marie Cherry
The author, who grew up in the 1950s at 973 Payne Avenue on St. Paul’s East Side, relates a teenager’s memories of her neighborhood and high school. The family lived in a rented apartment above a grocery store, shopped at Woolworth’s and other small stores and banked locally. The teens had pajama parties, cherry cokes at the local drug store, attended Johnson High School dances, went to drive-in restaurants and movies and cruised in her car on weekends. Her memoir gives a sense of the neighborhood along Payne Avenue and its friendliness.
PDF of Cherry article
Stanley Gordon West, Growing an Inch (St. Paul: Lexington-Marshall Publishing, 2003).
Donald John Giese, The Carol Thompson Murder Case (New York: Scope Reports, 1969).
PDF of Book Reviews