History Revealed by Ramsey County Historical Society

Join the Ramsey County Historical Society this summer in learning more about local history from local historians and authors. The historical society has a number of events planned for the summer, here are a few coming up:

On Thursday, June 27, 7 p.m., join local historian and author Gary Brueggemann for a presentation titled “The Long Legacy of the Leavenworth Expedition.” The presentation, held at the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N, will share what Brueggemann has learned about the largest expedition to enter Minnesota 200 years ago. The expedition launched the development of an American military establishment near the meeting of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers that proved to be a turning point in Minnesota history. The expedition was led by the former New York lawyer and politician and war hero — the “polished gentleman” destined for fame but also misery — Commander Lieutenant Colonel Henry Leavenworth. The expedition was the largest group of non-natives that had traveled so far up the Mississippi — more than 530 miles north of St. Louis and over 200 miles upriver from Prairie du Chien, the northernmost settlement on the Mississippi in 1819. And it was the first time that people from so many places made such a large “Cantonment” in that part of the wilderness. But more importantly to the history of the state was that among the 128 members of this historic expedition were the first non-Indigenous women and children to enter present-day Minnesota. No reservations needed; free and open to all.

On Thursday, July 11, 7:45 p.m., author Irik Nathanson will have a presentation and book signing at Waldmann’s Brewery & Wurstery at 445 Smith Ave. N. in St. Paul on the topic of downtown St. Paul. The event requires reservations — go to the website at www.rchs.com or call 651-222-0701. Minnesota’s capital city was given a lofty identity when young Catholic priest Lucien Gaultier built a modest log chapel in a wilderness clearing and named it for his patron saint. St. Paul’s modern downtown would later take shape at this very site. In the mid-19th century, St. Paul’s strategic location at the head of navigation on the Mississippi River was naturally situated as a way station for goods and a hub for settlers pouring into the Upper Midwest. The city remains at the center of state politics as Minnesota’s state capital, and St. Paul’s downtown has been reinvented as a major sports, entertainment, and cultural center.

Nathanson tells the story of this resilient urban district, stretching over two centuries, using images from local archives like the Minnesota Historical Society and the Hennepin County Public Library Special Collections. Nathanson’s most recent work includes The Minneapolis Riverfront and Downtown Minneapolis, both in the “Image of America” series. His newest work, “Downtown Saint Paul” will be available for purchase and signing.

To find out more about other Ramsey County Historical Society events taking place this summer, go to www.rchs.com.

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