Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 55, Number 1: Spring 2020
Women and Children First: The Volunteers of America and Louis W. Hill Build Fresh Air Rest Camp
Authors: Eileen R. McCormack and Aine C. McCormack
In the early 1920s, Irving and Martha Starr, a married couple employed by the Volunteers of America (VOA) approached St. Paul businessman Louis W. Hill with a proposition: They hoped to open and run a summertime Fresh Air Rest Camp for poor mothers and their children—on a portion of Hill’s North Oaks farm. Hill agreed wholeheartedly. Not only did he lease the land for $1 a year, he provided much of the funding to build cabins, administration buildings, two swimming pools, and more. Many of his wealthy friends and colleagues followed suit with their own monetary donations and services. For their part, the VOA provided wholesome meals, parenting and sewing classes, and indoor and outdoor entertainment and babysitting options for the children. The mother and daughter duo Eileen McCormack and Aine McCormack share the touching story of this community collaboration that gave young children and their tired mothers—most of whom worked as the primary breadwinners and caregivers—two weeks to rest, relax, and recuperate. The camp welcomed over 50,000 guests during its twenty-eight years at North Oaks.
PDF of E. McCormack and A. McCormack article
Public Archaeology: Unearthing the Past in Ramsey County and Beyond
Author: Jeremy L. Nienow
Over the past few years, archaeologists and cultural resource management consultants like Jeremy Nienow occasionally open their doors to amateur help. This effort, known as public archaeology, allows those interested in culture and science to learn and work next to professional archaeologists on select projects in their communities. In this article, Nienow writes about the Metro Area Historical Society Collaborative or MAHSC—a multi-year effort undertaken by several county historical societies to learn more about the recent and ancient past and the archaeological collections and sites they steward. The latest work took place last fall in Ramsey County at two sites—Gibbs Farm and the Fish Creek Park Preserve. At both locations, archaeology enthusiasts, including a number of youth, assisted Nienow and his team in conducting multiple shovel tests in search of historical clues.
PDF of J. Nienow article
Clara Anderson v. City of St. Paul: A Woman’s Fight to Save Her Job in the Face of Discrimination
Author: John H. Guthmann
“Bartenders Wanted: Women Need Not Apply.” In the early 1940s, Clara Anderson worked as a bartender at a local hotel until the St. Paul City Council enacted an ordinance barring women from working behind the bar once men returned from World War II. Rather than lose her job to a man, Anderson went to court. Her battle lasted three years and involved one tenacious lawyer and nine judges along the way. Ramsey County Chief Judge John Guthmann accidentally discovered this long-forgotten case when conducting research for a judicial portrait dedication at the Ramsey County Law Library. Intrigued, he wanted to learn more about this feisty woman. Using court records, family stories and photographs, and newspaper accounts, Guthmann brings Anderson’s story and her fight against discrimination to life.
PDF of J. Guthmann article