Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 40-2 Summer 2005

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

Volume 40

Volume 40, Number 2: Summer 2005

Rendezvous at the Riverbend: 
Pike’s Seven Days in the Band of Little Crow—the Wilderness That Later Became St. Paul

Author: Gary Brueggemann
In 1805 Zebulon Pike, a twenty-six year old lieutenant, led the first American expedition to explore Minnesota. A group of twenty-two men came up the Mississippi River in a thirty-foot bateau. The author describes the native Mdewakatwon Dakota in the area, their village of Kaposia, and Carvers Cave. In 1817, Major Stephen Long also described the village as did Henry Schoolcraft in 1820. Little Crow held a council with Pike on what is now known as Pike Island. In a treaty that Pike negotiated with the Dakota, the government acquired land for a military post, which later became Fort Snelling, but Pike didn’t write a clear treaty to show the boundaries of the land covered by the treaty. Pike then went further up the Mississippi and later returned to Pike Island. He wanted Little Crow to accompany him to St. Louis, but the Dakota leader declined.
PDF of Brueggemann article

Zebulon Pike and James Aird: The Explorer and the ‘Scottish Gentleman’

Authors: Duke Addicks and James Aird

A short piece written by a fur trade reenactor (Addicks) who portrays James Aird, a Scotsman who farmed near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Addicks states that one of his goals is to remind visitors of the importance of Zebulon Pike. The fur trader, who is identified in Pike’s journal as a “Scottish Gentleman,” breakfasted with the lieutenant on August 28, 1805. The article includes the narrative that Addicks uses when portraying Aird. In his rendition, there is information on other people of the era, including fur traders and two Native Americans, Wabasha and Little Crow. Addicks bases his story telling on Pike’s journal and other sources and tries to convince listeners of the importance of Pike and Aird and how their meeting affected both their lives.
PDF of Addicks & Aird article

Lots of St. Paul: A Photo Essay on Downtown Parking 
and What Urban History Can Tell Us about a City

Author: Steve Trimble
This photo essay is a response to a letter to the editor wondering why the magazine bothered to publish an article on “nothing more than a parking ramp.” It opens with four quotes from 1927 to 1986 all saying how lack of parking was hurting the downtown St. Paul economy. In fact, the search for parking was perhaps the most powerful force in shaping the cities. American culture had been increasingly enamored with the automobile. At first older buildings were converted, then new “auto laundries” as service stations added auxiliary services. Next was the development of flat surfaces for parking, which had a negative effect on pedestrians and left gaps in the city fabric. The 1950s bought large ramps and later self-parking.
PDF of Trimble article

Growing Up in St. Paul: I Remember My Aunt: Frances Boardman—
Music Critic, Who Covered an Archbishop’s Funeral 

Author: Alexandra (Sandy) Klas
Written by the niece of the Frances Boardman, the memoir starts out with the background of the family. Boardman graduated from Central High School and became a pioneering woman in the newspaper world. First she did odd jobs of writing, but she soon took over theater and literary criticism and then was given a special job to update the obituary for Archbishop John Ireland, who was near death. The author describes the procession and dignitaries at Ireland’s funeral. She lived in an apartment at 235 Summit that was filled with Victorian furnishings and hundreds of books. Because of the death of her mother, Klas spent a great deal of time in Boardman’s apartment, listening to her stories, and accompanying her to concerts. When Boardman passed away in 1953, her friend James Gray wrote that she was “the very embodiment of a gentlewoman” and “a creature of myriad insights and the little candle of her wit lightened up everyone.”
PDF of Growing Up in Saint Paul

PDF of Letters to the Editor