Ramsey County History Magazine: Volume 48-2 Summer 2013

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

Volume 48

Volume 48, Number 2: Summer 2013

Fine Art Exhibits at the Minnesota State Fair, 1885–1914
Author: Leo J. Harris
The first Minnesota art exhibit was held in St. Paul at the 1857 territorial fair. From that year until 1884, few art exhibits were displayed at the State fair, partly because the location of the Fair moved to different cities and little notable art was produced. Beginning in 1885, the State Fair had a permanent location in St. Paul; consequently fine art exhibits blossomed at the Fair. After 1915, a wealth of artistic talent in Minnesota and the presence of commercial galleries and growing number of public museums in which to display fine art took precedence over the State Fair as the desired venue for showcasing fine art. Much of the credit for the serious display of fine art at the State Fair in the period between 1885 and 1914 was due to the work of Russell C. Munger, the Fair’s first and longest-serving superintendent of the fine arts. Much of this article concentrates on the methods of display, the buildings used for fine art exhibits, and the notable works of fine art that were displayed at the Fair in this middle period.
PDF of Harris article

St. Paul Union Depot: Decline and Rebirth
Author: John W. Diers
St. Paul’s first Union Depot opened in 1881, but it was destroyed by fire in 1884. Fire also destroyed its replacement in 1913. This article is about the building of the third Depot, which took place between 1917 and 1926, at a cost of $15 million, on the same site as its two predecessors. Practical rather than pretentious in design, the third Depot was in its heyday the largest and most important rail station west of Chicago and the third largest handler of mail in the U.S. It was owned and operated by the nine railroads that served St. Paul. Americans’ preference for travelling by automobile and later airplane rapidly undermined rail passenger traffic and the Depot closed in 1971. A few years later, the U.S. Post Office moved its mail operations elsewhere, making the Depot a huge liability. The Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority purchased the Depot in 2008 and over time was able to restore this majestic building for use by Metro Transit, intercity buses, Amtrak, and the Central Corridor Light Rail service. It reopened in December 2012 at a cost of $243 million.
PDF of Diers article

Book Reviews

Gary J. Brueggemann, Minnesota’s Oldest Murder Mystery: The Case of Edward Phelan; St. Paul’s Unsaintly Saint (Minneapolis: Beaver’s Pond Press, 2012).

John Watson Milton, For the Good of the Order: Nick Coleman and the High Tide of Liberal Politics in Minnesota, 1971–1981 (St. Paul: Ramsey County Historical Society,    2012).

William Swanson, Black White Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman Sackett (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012).

Leo J. Harris, Before the Museums Came: A Social History of the Fine Arts in the Twin Cities (London: Versita, 2013).

PDF of Book Reviews