20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Native Americans

Superior National Forest

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February 13, 1909

President Theodore Roosevelt establishes Superior National Forest. Exploitative practices are restricted in these areas, thereby preserving the beauty of lakes and trees for future generations. Six weeks later, Ontario’s government responds in kind by creating the adjacent Quetico Provincial Forest Reserve.*

Again, how fitting it is to be awed by such natural beauty as I watch this event with you: the creation of Superior National Forest. My first thought, dear Lord, is to acknowledge that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. I’ve seen the North Shore, explored the Gunflint Trail, and the Boundary Waters many times, but cannot imagine how much greater the awe of those who saw it at the end of the 19th century. How humbling it must have been to walk as a grasshopper among the pine, fir and spruce forests!
I can smell the crisp scent of Your evergreen forest Lord, even as I write this. Will You forgive us for over-harvesting your forests in Minnesota? This we have done, this I acknowledge to you.
Next, I thank You for moving the heart of President Roosevelt to preserve such areas, and to be mindful of future generations. That said, I also acknowledge that sometimes self-interest drives our attempts to be nature’s caretaker. It is good to be your steward of nature! I just want to remember to You that we are also subject to impure motives even when doing good.
So I ask You, did Roosevelt establish this forest with a pure heart? Was he looking to enhance his legacy? Were there commercial interests that he was motivated to favor or disfavor? Perhaps he was motivated to increase Federal authority over state lands? If so, how did he gain the legal rights if they were not implicitly stated in the Constitution?
His actions allude to his belief that our state’s authority had failed this parcel of land. Did Minnesota trust the logging or mining industries too much? Did the President trust our state’s rights too little? Only You know the heart Lord.
In your mercy, hear my prayer. Will You forgive us our impure motives even while we do good whether past, present, or future? Will You forgive our prideful hearts? We honestly act, at times, as if we will save Your lands. We act as if we will improve Your creation, but often, at our best, we simply do no harm.
Our government established Federal authority to protect and preserve this land. Did we also seek Your celestial authority to protect and preserve it, or were we too busy making commerce? We often rule the land. We stake our claims declaring ourselves it’s savior, but in the end, we simply rule over other men. Will You forgive how we have fought over the title to Your land? Will You grant us humility of heart in Your state known as Minnesota? Will You give us the necessary self-control in land issues that we remain in balance with nature and each other? Will You preserve our hearts from the greed of over-harvesting, or the fear that locks the same lands up subjecting them to the ravages of under-harvesting?
Will You forgive our short memories? We forget that Natives managed Your forests here long before the Department of Natural Resources, or a Bureau of Land Management. They did so well that the first European explorers and settlers were dazzled by its bounty. Remember these tribal stewards Lord Jesus!**
As a final thought, dear Father, I do not suggest we as humans necessarily err in our “doing good”. After all, we are made in Your image, therefore capable of brilliance, ingenuity, and true greatness. I simply want to bow to You, to record and remember, that such brilliance, ingenuity, and greatness often builds a monument to our name. Will You make us a people humble and realistic in our land management successes?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Read the relationship of American Indians to the land, and the differing views of historians on the subject. This excellent article by William Cronin and Richard White for the American Heritage Society shows the breadth of variety of Native American responses to environmental change and conservation of land and species. http://www.americanheritage.com/content/indians-land

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20th Century, Architecture, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Sullivan’s Owatonna Bank Opens

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1908
Master architect Louis Sullivan’s National Farmers’ Bank, perhaps the most famous small-town bank in the U.S., graces the corner of Broadway and Cedar streets in downtown Owatonna.

One of the first American architects to break free from the influence of revival styles, Louis Sullivan completed a series of eight banks in small Midwest towns during the last years of his career. The National Farmers’ Bank of Owatonna is arguably the best.*

In 1896, in an article in “Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine”, Mr. Sullivan wrote the following:
“It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human, and all things super-human, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.”

It makes me curious why an architect of his stature would embrace the job of designing a small town bank. Just look at this track record. He is called both the “father of modernism” and the “father of skyscrapers”. He is one of the triumvirate of great American architects alongside Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Hobson Richardson.**
What would behoove him to design a small town bank in Minnesota?

A clue could be that he was considered to be a hard drinker and past his prime by the time he accepted this task. His client, Carl Bennett, had also died to his dream of being a conductor to attend family duties running the bank. Perhaps this serendipitous meeting fulfilled a need for both men to create again. It’s success does seem to be a merger of each as it is labelled as a “Symphony of Color”.***

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Merciful Messiah, thank You for their dreams. Thank You that, though deferred, they created an everyday temple to commerce that stills sings! Thank You for positioning their relationship and life circumstances to better enable them to savor the moment.

Will You continue to bless the artist and architects of Minnesota? Will You give them the talent that bedazzles the routines of our lives? Will You give our lives form that follows function, and let us trust that that’s enough?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Sullivan
***http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200002/28_buzenbergb_owatonna/

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