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, 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.

On Sunday, July 14, 2:30 to 4 p.m., author James Blase will give a presentation at the Landmark Center, 75 Fifth St. in downtown St. Paul titled “Tracing TR’s 1903 Train Trip Tour: Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt’s Death in 1919.” Blase will be presenting the history of Teddy Roosevelt’s train trip throughout the country in the spring of 1903, one that culminated in a stop at the Grand Canyon. Blase’s new book, “Keep it for Your Children: Theodore Roosevelt’s 1903 Western Trip,” creates a first-person journal of a 66-day western train trip the president made during his first term in office, in 1903 — a year after the Landmark Center first opened its doors. The train trip included a stop in St. Paul, where Roosevelt arrived by train at 2:30 p.m. on April 4, 1903, and where the president spoke to a crowd estimated at approximately 50,000 outside the Cedar Street side of the State Capitol. Late in the afternoon the president travelled to Minneapolis, where he attended a banquet and made a speech at the Nicolette Hotel. Blase’s presentation, complete with photos, will cover the entire 66-day trip, but he will be emphasizing the president’s stops in St. Paul and Minneapolis.  

Reservations are required for this event, call 651-222-0701 to make them. This event is free.

On Wednesday, July 17, 6 p.m., historian Natalie Heneghan, will lead a tour of parks and trail systems created through New Deal programs. The Twin Cities have long boasted beautiful parks, waterfronts, and trail systems — in no small part because of the New Deal. Workers employed through New Deal programs in the 1930s changed the shape of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ parks and trails. The tour will begin at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St., for a discussion about New Deal projects in Minnesota. Tour participants will then hop on a bus to explore two parks that showcase handiwork of New Deal era workers: Indian Mounds Regional Park and Phalen Regional Park. Reservations are required — call the office at 651-222-0701 Tickets cost $8 for RCHS and Preservation Alliance of Minnesota members, $10 for the general public.

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

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