Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 43, Number 4: Winter 2009
Courthouse Sculptor: Lee Lawrie
Author: Paul D. Nelson
A look at renowned sculptor Lee Lawrie (1887–1963) who designed the exterior artwork for the New York Rockefeller Center and the St. Paul City Hall and County Courthouse. His specialty was architectural sculpture or, so to speak, carving on buildings. Lawrie was born in Prussia in 1877 and came to the United States four years later. He learned his trade in Chicago and with Eastern artists. Like others, he dealt with the development of skyscrapers and how adornment could fit into vertical spaces. One of his first major projects was the Nebraska State Capitol, which rejected the usual neo-classical style. Lawrie was hired in 1931 to be the sculptor for the St. Paul City Hall and County Courthouse, another a modern structure. He departed from the suggestions of the public commission that was set up to help plan the building; instead he developed his own sculptural ideas, which have proven to be well received then and now. Lawrie felt that his artistic goal was not to express himself but to express the purpose and function of the building and called his work “modern mural sculpture.” There are sidebars on Lawrie’s works around the country and other area architectural sculptures.
PDF of Nelson article
Stanford Newel, Proposal Rock and Newell Park Widows: Newell Park Celebrates Its Centennial
Author: Krista Finstad Hanson
This article was timed to help Newell Park celebrate its hundredth anniversary in 2008. It starts with the early history of the land, which had been bought and sold often in the 1880s. Hamline Village, which included the university, was annexed into St. Paul in 1885. William Marshall bought the area at Fairview Avenue and Pierce Butler Road and platted it out. It included a frog pond that Hamline students often visited, sometimes to court. The Newell Park Improvement Association was organized in 1912 and, among other things, successfully pushed for the erection of a pavilion at the park in 1929. A strong booster club was formed in 1932. The site went into decline after World War II, but there were still activities and meetings at the park. In recent years the pavilion was restored and the windows were un-bricked There is also a sidebar on Stanford Newel.
PDF of Hanson article
Growing Up in St Paul:
The Teen Years at Our Lady of Peace (OLP)
Author: Susanne Sebesta Heimbuch
This article focuses on memories of a schoolgirl starting in 1959. Heimbuch graduated from St. Mark’s Grade School enrolled in Our Lady of Peace (OLP), a much larger high school established in 1951 at 875 Summit Avenue with a thousand students. She did well and became an honor-student track. She lost a good friend because the nuns told her to remain with others in the college track while also trying to “dainty-fy” her. She includes memories of events, such as her first dance at St. Thomas Academy and the mother-daughter teas. There is some information on the family’s life, including coping with a father who had a drinking problem. Heimbuch and her friends partied in each other’s homes and took a memorable trip to New York and the East Coast. Heimbuch worked part time at the rectory for St. Luke’s parish to get spending money. A number of other reminiscences make this memoir very insightful. There is also a long sidebar on Our Lady of Peace’s High School building and what happened to it after the institution closed and was sold to the William Mitchell College of Law in 1975.
PDF of Heimbach article