Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 56, Number 3: Fall 2021
Our Lady of Good Counsel/Our Lady of Peace: Two Names, Decades of Daily Mercy, and Innumerable Blessings at St. Paul’s Free Hospice Home
Author: Christina Capecchi
Eighty years ago on December 7, 1941—shorty after radio newscasters began reporting the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii—nine nuns opened the doors of a former telephone toll office on St. Anthony Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, and welcomed curious neighbors to tour the newly established Our Lady of Good Counsel Home. This free hospice for the city’s cancerous poor was the sixth of seven facilities set up around the country—a ministry started by Mother Alphonsa (Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, daughter of American author Nathaniel Hawthorne) and her friend Mother Rose (Alice Huber) at the turn of the twentieth century. At that time, the pair had been accepted as Third Order Dominican religious and were called the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer. They and their religious community started caring for patients at two homes in New York State. After Mother Alphonsa’s death in 1926, Mother Rose and other Hawthorne Dominicans continued the ministry—caring for cancer patients at homes in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, Minnesota, and Ohio. The St. Paul home, rebuilt in 1981, stands in the same location. It is now known as Our Lady of Peace Home and is operated by the local Franciscan Health Community, but its mission remains the same—providing free, compassionate end-of-life care for those in need.
PDF of C. Capecchi article
Tikkun Olam: Jewish Women Serving Their St. Paul Community
Author: Kate Dietrick, Gabrielle Horner, and Janet Kampf
Question: How do we go about repairing the troubled world in which we live—in which we’ve always lived? Answer: With the help and creativity of one determined person at a time. In this article, we focus on five determined people—five women from St. Paul’s Jewish community—Hannah Austrian, Sophie Wirth, Annie Paper, Gretta Freeman, and Rhoda Redleaf—who with their associated organizations, helped provide relief for impoverished Jewish families, embraced the resettling of immigrants, supported education efforts for adults all the way down to prekindergarten students, introduced job training, and rallied for other basic rights. These five stepped up in times when such progressive actions by women were often frowned upon. And while their names may have been forgotten by most, their work to make the world a better place still impacts the local community in untold ways to this very day.
PDF of K. Dietrick, G. Horner, and J. Kampf article
Closing the Book: The James Jerome Hill Reference Library, 1921-2021
Author: Eileen McCormack
James J. Hill, was a creator of businesses, railroads, banks, trusts, and mansions. In 1912, he set to work on one more creation—a gift to the people of St. Paul. Hill died in 1916 before his dream—the James J. Hill Reference Library—opened in 1921. For visitors and patrons, entering the lobby and continuing through the glass-paneled French doors into the reading room never failed to impress. The marble floors and large study tables with leather chairs and ornamented study lamps filled the room’s center, as did books, on every level. The library included collections of rare tomes, papers, artwork, and artifacts. It was frequented by executives working on novel ideas, researchers, art aficionados, university scholars, tech firms, and high school students. In later years, it doubled as an event venue for fundraisers and weddings. It was a cornerstone in the community, but the world slowly changed, technology changed, research needs and capabilities changed. Funds dwindled. Some staff and board fought to stay true to Hill’s original mission, while other leaders attempted to adapt to the times and circumstances. The institution closed in 2019. In 2021—its centennial year—a developer purchased the building. Now, the Hill Library is but a chapter in St. Paul’s history book.
PDF of E. McCormack article