Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 54, Number 4: Winter 2020
Ramsey County’s “Boy Problem” Snapshots of Boys Totem Town
Author: Bobbie Scott
When Boys Totem Town, a detention home on St. Paul’s east side, closed its doors in 2019, administrators, teachers, judges, and several men who once spent time there as boys, gathered to remember. The facility opened in 1913 with the goal of helping those who had gone astray through guidance, education, and mandatory chores that included farm work in the fresh Minnesota air. There was a Boy Scout troop, recreational activities, and hope that these young men could straighten up and make lives for themselves. Author Bobbie Scott poured through court documents, newspaper articles, grand jury reports, and staff minutes to assemble these “snapshots” of Totem Town. Over a century, the facility celebrated certain successes but also faced many challenges. Eventually, it became apparent that what might have worked in the best interest of the boys in 1915 no longer worked in 2015, and so staff, correction officers, judges, and community members joined together to begin to revamp the county’s juvenile justice system.
PDF of B. Scott article
#MinneAsianStories: Illustrated Living History
Authors: Bert Lee, Yusanat Tway, and Zoua Vang
There’s a common misperception that many young people aren’t necessarily interested in history. But over the last few years, the Coalition for Asian American Leaders (CAAL) has invited young Asian Minnesotans to not only think about history, but also to recognize that they, themselves, are living these histories, and they should document their important cultural and everyday stories for future generations. History has traditionally come alive through diaries, books, and photographs, and now, as is the current trend, through an illustrated or “graphic novel” format. Ramsey County Historical Society recognized the importance of these stories from authors Bert Lee, Yusanat Tway, and Zoua Vang, with wonderfully detailed artwork by Xee Reiter and Lilian Reiter. CAAL graciously permitted us to reprint a selection from their 2019 This Is Home: #MinneAsianStories publication.
PDF of B. Lee, Y. Tway, and Z. Vang article
Growing Up with the St. Paul Saints: Memories of a Teen Groundskeeper at Lexington Park Author: Vern Schultz
Anyone stopped at the traffic light at University and Lexington Avenues in St. Paul today might see dozens of small businesses and fast food restaurants and never realize that this busy neighborhood once looked much different. In the 1940s, Vern Schultz worked on that block, where Lexington Park stadium once stood, as a ground crew member for the St. Paul Saints. Schultz tells the story of his first job—a great job for an avid Saints fan—with summers spent chasing errant balls, polishing players’ shoes, and making sure the field was in tip-top shape for the upcoming game. So enjoy these memories: imagine the whack of the bat against a ball, the smell of fresh-mown grass, the taste of roasted hotdogs and salty stadium peanuts, the warm sun on your back, and the cheers of the crowd echoing across University and Lexington Avenues.
PDF of V. Schultz article