Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 41-2 Summer 2006

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

Volume 41

Volume 41, Number 2: Summer 2006

“He Was Mechanic Arts” 
Mechanic Arts High School: 
The Dietrich Lange Years, 1916–1939

Author: John W. Larson
Although this article features Dietrich Lange (1863–1940)—educator, naturalist and writer—it gives biographical information on several other teachers as well as several Mechanic Arts High School students who became prominent. Roy Wilkins, for instance, became a national civil rights leader. He was encouraged to develop his writing skills by Mary Copley, whose background and career are summarized. Dietrich Lange became principal of Mechanic Arts High School in 1916. In 1921, there were 1,500 students with diverse backgrounds. It had college-bound tracks as well as commercial classes and art and shop classes. Creative writing and the publication of a school magazine to display the work of students was a primary goal at the school. Future U. S. Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun was another prominent graduate of MAHS. There is also information on Lange’s upbringing in a strict German family. In addition to being the principal at MAHS, Lange became a nationally known author and lecturer on nature studies. In 1939 Lange was replaced at MAHS and given a different job in the school district.
PDF of Larson article

“Dreams of the Immensity of the Future:”
Crex Carpet Company Revisted

Author: Paul D. Nelson
A short article that follows up on an earlier piece by the author, published in the Winter 2006 issue. It was prompted by the discovery of an unpublished manuscript written by Michael O’Shaughnessy, the founder of the American Twine Grass Company, later known as Crex. The fifty-page document was shared by O’Shaughnessy’s great-grandson with Nelson and it provided a lot of new information about Crex, a major St. Paul manufacturing company, and its founder, James O’Shaughnessy.
PDF of Nelson article

Fighting Billy Miske: 
The Heart of a Champion

Author: Paul Picard

St. Paul was known for its champion boxers, even before the sport became legal in the city, and bouts had to be fought outside the state. Miske, the “St. Paul Thunderbolt,” was the son of German immigrants. He ran a car dealership that was barely profitable. Miske learned that he had a chronic kidney disease; however, he still needed to box to provide for his family so he trained at home to conceal his poor health. Against doctor’s orders, he went into the ring for over thirty fights. One of his last ones was against the new champion, Jack Dempsey. Although he fought valiantly, he lost in the third round. By the end of 1923, Miske was too sick to train; however, he still needed money. He fought in Omaha and won a sizable purse that helped him have a large Christmas for his family. The next day he went to the hospital, but Miske died on New Year’s Day, leaving behind a wife and three children. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery.
PDF of Picard article

Book Reviews

Jeffrey A. Hess and Paul Clifford Larson, St. Paul’s Architecture: A History (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006).

Victor Tedesco with Trudi Hahn, I Always Sang for My Father (or Anyone Who Would Listen) (Minneapolis: Syren Book Co., 2006).

Dick Harris, TWOgethr: A Fictional History (Edina, Minn.: Beaver’s Pond Press, 2005).

Duane Thein, ed., Father Joseph Goiffon: A Tale of a French Missionary (White Bear Lake, Minn., Stereoptics Co., 2005).
PDF of Book Reviews

PDF of Letters to the Editor