Ramsey County History Magazine Volume 55-4 Winter 2021

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

Take a Hike: A Century of Walks with the St. Paul Hiking Club
Author: Bob Tholkes, with Meredith Cummings
On January 15, 1921, twenty-five hardy young people bundled up in their warmest boots, knickers, hiking skirts, and woolen mittens and socks for a six-mile round-trip jaunt on the far east side of St. Paul in 10°F weather. With that inaugural trek, the St. Paul Municipal Hiking Club was formed. A century on and a few days past the anniversary of that first frigid excursion, members of what is today simply called the St. Paul Hiking Club recreated the journey—in warmer weather—15°F!  When not walking, Bob Tholkes, president of the club since 2014, spent the better part of two years researching the story of one of St. Paul’s early social clubs that formed to promote exercise and create opportunities to get to know one another and explore Minnesota’s great outdoors.
PDF of R. Thokes article
RCHS_Winter 2021_online sidebar-Hiking Club Presidents PDF
RCHM_Winter 2021_online sidebar-Anniversary Hike PDF

Growing Up Along the Mighty Mississippi: The Great Depression Through the Eyes of a Young “River Rat”
Author: Harriette Peterson Koopman, with Connie Koopman Pettersen
When Harriette Peterson Koopman was growing up during the Great Depression, she and her siblings were sometimes called “river rats” by classmates. The derogatory slur stung but faded over the years. However, cherished memories of the often difficult but adventure-filled time the Peterson family lived along the Mississippi River in St. Paul’s West Side Flats never faded. Koopman shared with her daughter, Connie Koopman Pettersen, the stories of living in a tar paper shack, fishing and playing in the muddy waters, quarantining when illness struck, and trying not to get into mischief. In 2008, the pair wrote a four-part series about the family’s river experiences for the Aitkin (MN) NewsHopper. Koopman passed away nearly a decade ago and is buried in Oakland Cemetery. Ramsey County Historical Society worked with her daughter to adapt the original tales for Ramsey County History magazine, even adding some tasty Depression-era family recipes for our readers’ enjoyment.
PDF of H. Peterson Koopman article

We Represent:  Evolving Public Art at the Saint Paul City Hall – Ramsey County Courthouse
Author: Kristina Youso
On August 19, 2020, the public got its first look at four new 16’ x 5’ murals now on display in the council chambers of the Saint Paul City Hall – Ramsey County Courthouse. The commissioned artists of the work reflect a rich array of backgrounds, artistic styles, and creative interests. The Latinx Muralism Apprenticeship at Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) based in St. Paul, Adam Swanson of Cloquet, Leah Yellowbird of Grand Rapids, and Emily Donovan, also from St. Paul, responded to the themes of the people, history, and progress of the area and to the chamber space in unique ways. The artworks currently cover, but do not replace nor do they eliminate, four original Art Deco murals created for Room 300 by renowned regional artist John Norton in the early 1930s. Writer and art historian Kristina Youso introduces readers to these public artworks—the new and the old—and explores how they and other public works of art have created important opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and enhanced cultural understanding and representation.
PDF of K. Youso article

How’d They Do That? Bringing Ramsey County History Tours Right to Your Home
Author: Jeremy L. Nienow
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly limited our abilities to get out and about and explore the many interesting and unique museums, historic homes, and other local venues in Ramsey County. But don’t worry! Jeremy Nienow of Nienow Cultural Consultants has been hard at work using new technology to create three-dimensional (3-D) images of many sites right here in our own proverbial backyard. He uses special data equipment with a laser scanner application and a tripod-mounted spherical camera to capture 360° images. An artificial intelligence (AI) platform stitches spaces together as the camera is moved to new locations every six to eight feet. In a matter of a couple days, a new virtual site comes to life. So light a fire in the fireplace, grab some popcorn, and enjoy these unique tours of Saint Paul City Hall – Ramsey County Courthouse, Gibbs Farm, the Bruentrup Heritage Farm in Maplewood, and more, and check out this article to find out how it’s all done.
PDF of J. Nienow article