Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 48, Number 1: Spring 2013
One History of Service: The Guild of Catholic Women and Guild Incorporated
Author: Hayla Drake
In 1906, out of concern for the welfare of new immigrants in their community, a group of thirty women from St. Luke’s Catholic Church began the Guild of Catholic Women (GCW), which helped meet the basic needs of these newcomers to St. Paul with distributed clothing and food baskets. GCW later formed the Travelers Aid Bureau in order to expand its range of services by providing temporary shelter and loans to new arrivals who did not yet speak English. Before long the GCW had expanded yet again, and became nationally known as a resource for women in the community in need of shelter and work. In 1974 Ramsey County Human Services asked GCW to assist men and women with mental illness, which it did. With the shift from a continuum model of residential treatment for those with mental illness to a supported housing model of service, in 1990 GCW formed Guild Incorporated, a nonprofit subsidiary to administer and expand this work. Today Guild Incorporated provides a range of community-based services ranging from housing assistance to health care and mental health treatment to a wide spectrum of clientele in Ramsey County.
PDF of Drake article
A Monument to Freedom, a Monument to All: Restoring the Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller Memorial in Como Park
Author: Colin Nelson-Dusek
Beginning in 1907, a bronze sculpture of Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller has reigned over the Gateway to Como Park. Despite its long and ubiquitous presence, little in the way of historical information has been revealed about this creation of German artist Ignatius Taschner, and, until recently, even less had been carried out in the way of preservation of the statue after over a century of being exposed to the elements. Nelson-Dusek’s account shows how all of this changed in late 2012, with an initiative from the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department to restore this historically significant work of art. A local nonprofit, Public Art Saint Paul, raised all the money necessary for the restoration and oversaw its completion and the rededication in 2013.
PDF of Nelson-Dusek article
Aviation Pioneer: Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie
Author: Roger Bergerson
Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie (1902–1975) was the first woman to do a lot of things in American aviation: hold a federal pilot’s license; fly over the Rocky Mountains in a light plane; and serve as a top government aeronautics official. Phoebe Fairgrave first came to the attention of the public in St. Paul in July 1921, when she set a world parachute jumping record for women. This article is a fascinating biographical profile of Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie beginning with her St. Paul childhood and her first adventures in flight, to an aviation career that encompassed stunt flying, disaster aid, pilot training, along with service in the aviation field for Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. In 1922 she married Vernon Omlie, a fellow pilot, who died in 1936 while a passenger aboard a commercial airliner that crashed in fog near St. Louis. Toward the end of her life, Fairgrave Omlie was a recluse who died in Indianapolis in 1975.
PDF of Bergerson article