Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 40, Number 4: Winter 2006
“The Greatest Single Industry?”
Crex: Created Out of Nothing
Author: Paul D. Nelson
The American Grass Twine Company was the fifth largest employer in St. Paul in 1903 and its largest manufacturing industry, with nine hundred employees. The company was based on taking wire grass, which grew in peat bogs, and was a plentiful, cheap resource that could be twisted to create twine, fabric and wicker. The company bought an old cordage enterprise and added new technology, such as “bog shoes” and a new type of bailer, which made gathering the grass easier. Crex quit making binder twine and entered new markets for home furnishings by making chairs, couches, and tables and had almost 400 products. Carpets were one of the firm’s mainstays and Crex rugs were light and easy to clean. Business soared as did the number of employees, many of them women. Things went awry with the arrival of cheaper materials and Japanese imports undersold Crex products. By 1931 Crex went bankrupt.
PDF of Nelson article
My Years at the Andahazy School of Ballet
Author: Sandra Snell Weinberg
At the age of eleven, the author took her first lessons at the Andahazy School of Classical Ballet located at 1680 Grand Avenue. She was thrilled and read all the books she could find on dance. The Andahazy teachings were based on classical Russian ballet. Mrs. Andahazy was a disciplinarian and the first female American to be accepted into the Ballet Russe. Weinberg remembered the full-length mirrors in the studio in the 1950s and dance concerts at Northrup Auditorium. Many of the Andahazy students went to camp Ballet Borealis in Northern Minnesota. Weinberg recalls blistered feet, lessons in applying makeup, dress rehearsals and making life-long friends. Two sidebars from Del Carter and Stanley Hubbard contain their memories of the Andahazys.
PDF of Growing Up in Saint Paul
Rabies Scare in St. Paul
’Mad Dog on the Loose.’ Panic Prevails as Fear Rips through the City in 1910
Author: Susan Dowd
A short article that looks at two weeks of fear that began in St. Paul on April 13, 1901. On that day a dog was reported to have attacked other dogs and horses on the West Side. A few people were also mauled. Newspapers reported three mad dogs and five attacks in three days. Dr. Justus Ohage, the St. Paul Health Commissioner, took the matter into his hands. After additional attacks in the Rondo neighborhood, seventeen animals were condemned. The article includes information on the treatment for rabies at time.
PDF of Dowd article
Dionicio Nodin Valdés, Mexicans in Minnesota (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2005).
George Richard Slade, Banking in the Great Northern Territory: An Illustrated History (Afton, Minn.: Afton Historical Society Press, 2005).
PDF of Book Reviews