Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 47, Number 3: Fall 2012
Hands-On Historian: Ethel Hall Stewart and Preserving the Gibbs Farm
Author: Steven C. Trimble
On an October day in 1954, the Gibbs Farm Museum opened to the public, thanks to the efforts of Ethel Hall Stewart. Stewart’s love of history and belief in hands-on education was the impetus for the preservation of the farm and the blossoming of the current day Gibbs Farm. Moving to St. Paul as a child, Stewart grew up in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood and later returned as an adult with her husband and family, where she became deeply involved in local church activities and in community history. Following the death of the last Gibbs family member in 1942, the Gibbs farm was sold to the University of Minnesota. Over the next several years, Stewart was able to negotiate a land swap that allowed the newly organized Ramsey County Historical Society to take ownership of the farm in 1949. With financial help from Ramsey County and other benefactors, Stewart and other supporters of the Historical Society took five years to restore the Gibbs farmhouse and ready it to open as a museum.
PDF of Trimble article
The Center of the Universe for Car Buyers: University Avenue Dominated the Local Automotive Scene for Fifty Years
Author: Peter B. Meyers
A fascinating photo essay on the role that St. Paul’s University Avenue once played in the retail auto industry, especially between 1915 and the early 1970s. Completion of I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul in the mid-1960s and the growth of the suburbs around St. Paul brought on a slow decline in the number of car dealerships with the last dealership vacating the street in the 1970s.
PDF of Myers article
Growing Up in St. Paul: University Avenue: Then and Now
Author: Joanne A. Englund
Looking back on memories of University Avenue mixed with current observations: traffic accidents; the beat of the author’s father, a St. Paul police officer; patronizing local movie theaters, drugstores, and ice cream shops; passing by buildings that still grace the avenue but are now home to new occupants; and the transition from streetcar traffic to motorized traffic and then back to the newly built light-rail along University Avenue.
PDF of Englund article
St. Joseph’s Academy: The Legacy Lives On
Author: Mary Jo Richardson
From its founding in a log cabin on the Mississippi in 1851 to its eventual closing in 1971, St. Joseph’s Academy (SJA) was a legendary educational institution situated on a grand estate in the heart of St. Paul. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet operated SJA for all those years and provided a rigorous education for all the young women who attended it. SJA was a rare school that lives on in the hearts and minds of its Alumnae Association and members of the community who know the many ways its graduates have contributed to the city.
PDF of Richardson article