Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 53, Number 4: Winter 2019
Remembering One of Our Community Legends – Jimmy Lee
Author: Frank M. White
Jimmy Lee was a prominent leader within St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, St. Paul itself, and the state of Minnesota. He was well known and respected at the First National Bank Building, where he served many years as an elevator operator and, later, a greeter when elevators automated. With a smile and a hand shake, he welcomed employees as they came to work in the morning and visitors there on business during the day. He always offered a kind word and, for those who were interested, the latest in sports news. For when it came to sports, Lee was a living sports encyclopedia. The award-winning golfer and baseball player was also a sought-after sports official, thanks to his level head and “wise whistle.” And he penned his very own sports column for over a decade for the Minneapolis Spokesman/St. Paul Recorder. After his death in 1979, the community renamed the Oxford Recreation Center the Jimmy Lee Recreation Center in his memory. Lee was a true gentleman, mentor, and friend who was inducted, into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame in 2013.
PDF of F. White article
Eliza Edgerton Newport and St. Paul’s Floating Bethel, 1891-1903
Author: Christine Podas-Larson
Eliza Newport knew how to get things done. The well-educated and well-connected St. Paul resident led many charitable organizations and community efforts throughout her lifetime, but one that was especially dear to her was the city’s Floating Bethel, a refuge for the working poor that was docked off Sibley Street on the Mississippi. Newport recognized the dignity of those in need, and over thirteen years, organized committees to provide educational, vocational, and religious instruction for the guests. She thought of everything: clean beds, wholesome meals, daily baths, afternoon teas, and clubs for boys and girls. Not even a fire aboard the ship could stop her. Rather, she was more determined than ever to rally the community for donations to rebuild. Eventually, though, a deteriorating neighborhood, complaints from some businesses, and another accident led to the boat’s demise. But the legacy of the Floating Bethel lives on today through the Bethel Hotel, a transitional housing program for men run by Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities. Mrs. Newport would be pleased.
PDF of C. Podas-Larson article
The Tazewell: 100 Years in the Life of a St. Paul Apartment
Authors: Aine C. McCormack and Eileen R. McCormack
If the walls of a century-old apartment building could talk, what stories might they tell about those who once resided there? Eileen and Aine McCormack, a mother/daughter duo from St. Paul, worked through old documents and oral histories to bring the story of the Tazewell Apartments, located at the corner of Laurel and Western Avenues, to life. Theirs is a fascinating tale of the lifecycle of one of architect Perry E. Crosier’s early works; from birth and early years, to the stable middle years, to an eventual death and rebirth. The McCormacks invite readers to step from the courtyard into this Craftsman/early Prairie School edifice to catch a glimpse of its former renters. While the building fell into disrepair in the 1970s, it reopened in 1980 as condominiums. Today, Tazewell condo owners enjoy living in the shadow of the past with a variety of modern shops, restaurants, and businesses right around the corner.
PDF of A. McCormack & E. McCormack article
William Shields Fallon (1931–2018): A Tribute
Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS) remembers Bill Fallon, who passed away in December. The St. Paul attorney was passionate about history. As the former RCHS president and chairman of the board, Fallon helped bring history to life for thousands of residents, school children, families, and history buffs in Ramsey County and beyond.
PDF of Fallon Tribute