Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 54, Number 1: Spring 2019
One Hundred Years Serving New Americans: The Centennial of the International Institute of Minnesota
Author: Krista Finstad Hanson
As visitors and clients open the doors to the International Institute of Minnesota in St. Paul, they leave behind the every-day-Como-Avenue-scene across from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and step into a vibrant, diverse, international world, buzzing with conversations in languages from around the globe. In one room, students from Mexico, Somalia, Egypt, and China throw a baby shower for a classmate, and the instructor turns the celebration into a learning opportunity: Students write congratulatory messages on the white board in their own languages, and then they huddle at desks to quiz one another over common baby-related words in English¾diapers, baby carrier, bottle, and stroller. Upstairs, in a class set up like a hospital room, students practice nursing skills on mannequins, checking blood pressure and temperature. Elsewhere, staff help clients prepare for citizenship exams. The folks at the International Institute of Minnesota have been assisting immigrants, refugees, and asylees for a century. In 2018 alone, they worked with 3,722 New Americans from 104 countries! That’s something to celebrate in this centennial year.
PDF of K. Hanson article
Growing Up in Ramsey County: With a Dash of Foreign Spice
Author: Kitty Gogins
Kitty Gogins wrote the companion piece to Krista Finstad Hanson’s International Institute of Minnesota history (above). Gogin’s family, beginning with her refugee parents, Olga and Tibor Zoltai, learned first-hand how the Institute helps make the transition to a new land and community easier. Gogins brings the story of her family to life with personal stories of hardship, hard work, and humor. The institute didn’t just help the Zoltai family. In fact, the Zoltais returned the favor over the years. Gogin’s mother worked on staff at the Institute and created new and innovative programs for the organization’s international clients. She also mentored refugees, sometimes hosting them at her own home. The rest of the family participated in the Institute’s Festival of Nations, a tradition many Zoltai/Gogins family members continue. Today, Gogins is president of the Institute’s Board of Directors. She plays an active role there and throughout the Roseville and Ramsey County area, welcoming newcomers and helping make their transition easier. Afterall, she understands. Her family has been there.
PDF of K. Gogins article
Where the Grass is Always Green: The Founding of Midland Hills a Century Ago
Author: John Hamburger
Golf was growing in popularity in 1915 when a group of University of Minnesota professors built a nine-hole golf course on the edge of the Farm Campus. Four years later, the aptly named University Golf Club, leased 160 acres to the north to build an eighteen-hole course. Ralph Barton, a mathematics professor and early board member who supervised the course construction, preserved much of the “drama” that ensued as keeper of the club minutes. As in any major undertaking, there were heated discussions over which course architect should be hired, how to collect dues from members to keep the construction going, and even what the name of the club should be going forward. The renamed Midland Hills Country Club opened in 1921. The club’s archives provide a treasure trove of first-hand discussions, long-faded black and white photographs, and golf artifacts, including tees, balls, and hand-stamped golf clubs. Club member John Hamburger has done a masterful job bringing those early years to life and sharing how the founding members, local lawyers and bankers, the golf professional, the prominent golf architect, the skilled landscaper, and several others created a masterful course that has stood the test of time and is still here for today’s golfers to enjoy.
PDF of J. Hamburger article
Susan Bartlett Foote, The Crusade for Forgotten Souls: Reforming Minnesota’s Mental Institutions, 1946–1954
Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2018
Reviewed by Gary F. Gleason
PDF of Book Review