20th Century, Architecture, Economics, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, Unemployment

Unemployment and the Gateway District

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1930 to 1935
In the depth of the Great Depression, unemployed transients loiter in the Gateway district of downtown Minneapolis.*

Many great cities are renowned for their entrances: Paris has the Arc d’ Triumph, India has the Buland Darwaza, and Jerusalem has the Golden Gate (Sha’ar HaRachamim). Minneapolis wanted to create a beautiful structure to welcome visitors into Minneapolis as they came from the train station. In 1915, the city built a gateway pavilion, flanked by curving colonades, that surrounded a Civil War memorial fountain and flagpole and pathway. Known as Gateway Park, the surrounding area adopted the title of the Gateway District.**The Gateway District of Minneapolis was centered at the convergence of Hennepin Avenue, Nicollet Avenue, and Washington Avenue.***

So, how did this this transition from fabulous to flophouse happen in the next two decades? Author David L. Rosheim did extensive research into the decay of this neighborhood in his book; “The Other Minneapolis or The Rise and Fall of the Gateway, The Old Minneapolis Skid Row”.****

“According to Rosheim, as unemployment rose, so did the hobo population. A new demographic of this drifter population was youth, driven away from home by poverty, or perhaps in pursuit of better opportunities.

Public relief rose drastically during this period. In 1930, an estimated $215,000 was spent on Minneapolis Poor Relief. Charities such as the Union City Mission continued to serve free meals if the visitor listened to a sermon. The Minneapolis City Council raised funds through bond issues to begin construction on public projects, in hopes of making a dent in the massive unemployment rate.” ***

What can be said about poverty that has not been said? What were the judgments of these primarily male vagabonds against Minneapolis, society, and themselves? What cultural transference resulted from the relationships in the Gateway District?

Will You bless both those who wish to beautify the public spaces of the city, and those who wish to make use of those places? Will You forgive the judgments of those who took too much pride in the sanctity of this park, and the judgments of those who take too little pride in themselves or their public conduct? We have failed You on both ends to see the message brought by those who have different motives than ours. Have mercy.

Will You forgive, where it applies, the pridefulness of the alcoholics, and addicts of this era? We are guilty of trying to solve our problems on our own, and have rejected the help that comes from being open to new relationships because we would rather hold onto our pain. When and where Minneapolitans have suffered foolishly rather than accepting kind and useful input into our bad choices; have mercy!

Will You forgive both the misogyny and misandry of the sex trafficking of this era? We have sexualized the need for touch, and have rejected true affection. We have chosen either to take money to submit to abuse, or pay money to be the abuser.

We have judged the opposite sex falsely in the transaction of prostitution. Our men have wanted women for sex, but not considered them worthy of relationship. Our women have viewed men as incapable of love, so they might as well be an open wallet. Will You forgive the sexual sins that result in sex trafficking then, now and future?

Will You forgive the shame of these men for being poor and alone? The Great Depression was so very costly to many, and its pain lives in the false self assessment that we are what we do and own. Will You lift this pain and shame up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ?

Will You forgive “functional” society its judgments of these men, and this District? Many of us live under the premise; “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” This maxim recognizes the benefits of mutually beneficial relationships. But what is one to do when those relationships are gone, and basic trust of society is broken? Have mercy on our judgments of Your broken sons and daughters of the Great Depression, their children, and their grandchildren.
Will You forgive the “dysfunctional” portion of society its judgments of those outside the Gateway? A criminal or debaucherous subculture often makes a mockery of the culture of innocence and lawfulness. Will You forgive any defiance that took place in the geography of the Gateway District against the laws of Minnesota, and more importantly, the laws of the Only Just One?

We ask Your blessing on Minneapolis, the former grounds of Gateway Park, and the Gateway District to replace the curses we’ve sown. Will You bless those in our state experiencing poverty of mind, body, spirit, and property to turn to You for help? Will You grant the spirit of gratitude to replace the spirit of entitlement? Will You help givers to be humble? Will You help those receiving charity to give respect and honor due to those who give freely? We invite You to be the Gatekeeper of Minneapolis!

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:4-9 NIV*****

* 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/Gateway_District_(Minneapolis)
*** http://www.placeography.org/index.php/Gateway_District
**** Rosheim, David L. The Other Minneapolis or The Rise and Fall of the Gateway, The Old Minneapolis Skid Row. Maquoketa, IA: The Andromeda Press, 1978.
***** http://biblehub.com/context/proverbs/31-3.htm

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20th Century, Civics, Economics, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Politics, railroad, State Government

Van Sant Becomes Governor

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Jan 7, 1901 to Jan 4, 1905
Samuel R. Van Sant takes office as the state’s 15th governor on January 7, 1901. He began his career as a riverboat builder on the Upper Mississippi. As Minnesota’s fifteenth governor, he led the fight to brake the runaway powers of the railroads.*

Read an excerpt of what it meant to be a “trustbuster” in his era?

“The second was the establishment of the State Board of Control to take on the railroad monopolies. The old riverboat captain didn’t have much love for his main competition on the iron rails. He particularly detested the Northern Securities Company run by James J. Hill and J.P. Morgan. The jovial riverboat captain turned out to be a very determined trustbuster. Van Sant’s battle soon turned into one of the biggest court dramas to ever come out of Minnesota in this suit to dissolve the Hill-Morgan railroad monopoly. He soon won the backing of President Teddy Roosevelt under the newly passed Sherman Antitrust Act. In 1904 the Supreme Court, by a vote of 5 to 4, upheld the determination that the Northern Securities Company was an illegal restraint of trade and the trust was broken up.”

Tuma, John. “Let’s Not Go Backward.” Conservation Minnesota March 2012 Web. 22 Jun. 2013. <http://www.conservationminnesota.org/news/headlines/lets-not-go-backward/&gt;

Father, thank you that Van Sant fought the monopolist powers of Minnesota in his term. His experience with the Northern Securities Company underscores an achilles heel of free markets; highly successful companies may eventually eliminate the competition in their fields and form monopolies or oligarchies. The most sought after form of land transportation of the North Star state was controlled by just two men; James J. Hill and J. P. Morgan.

You have given us clues in the Bible regarding property rights and ownership. Tribal allotment of specific geographic territories are described in the book of Joshua. All descendants of the sons of Jacob had land based on birthright. Land could be bought and sold, more like leased, but only for a fixed number of years until the Jubilee.

The Year of Jubilee described in Leviticus 25:8-13 is a year of pardon, for personal sins, debts, release of slaves, and a return of tribal property. So, we currently practice ownership of property, but do not have a system for forgiveness whether personal, labor, or property-based. Some may argue that bankruptcy fulfills this role, but is incomplete when compared to the model of the Pentateuch.

Although the Supreme Court upheld the position of the people regarding the railroad monopolies, we have no universal reset button for society like You describe! How do we enact Your standards in modern society? We hold property, but are not tied to specific geography on the basis of our tribes unless we are Native Minnesotans. We are disconnected from the land, and from each other! Is it because there is so little forgiveness in our modern system based not on wealth, but debt?

That said, Merciful One, do not let us be vain towards the successful, or return shrewdness with the counter-judgment of punishment! Will You forgive Minnesota its bitterness towards Morgan and Hill, and their company? Will You forgive them their “drive to power”? Most cannot relate to the unchecked influence of men like Morgan and Hill, but perhaps they can relate in a smaller way. If we have the power to change everyday situations in our favor, will we use it? Or misuse it?

Father, will You forgive us when we look expectantly and only to our system for justice? We are vapors that dissipate in a day! You are the only unchangeable personality in the universe. You are self-content and not subject to bribery. Your integrity allows us to enter into justice if we are open to self-examination as well as other-examination!

*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!

**More flavor on Governor Van Sant? https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_minnesota/col2-content/main-content-list/title_van-sant_samuel.default.html

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19th Century, Business, Culture, Economics, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Financial Panic Changes the Economic Climate July 1, 1857  

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Fueled by wild speculation in land prices, the economy of Minnesota Territory became overheated. This speculative bubble burst in July when banking failures in the East began to spread panic in the West. The resulting crash in land values caused credit to dry up in Minnesota. Local banks closed and other business failed as well. The economy of Minnesota did not improve until the Civil War.*

Father, how often has this happened in our history as human beings? How often has money, property, or wealth been manipulated to bring an otherwise peaceful people to war? Lord, we seem immune to recognize the inner causes of these type of panics and economic downturns; we want what we do not have. Will You forgive us our desire for easy money? Will You forgive the greed of the banks involved: Eastern or Western or foreign?

Will You wipe out the painful judgments of our states’ debtors towards these banks, and their unforgiveness of debt? Will You forgive us for being seduced by the spirit of speculation to the detriment of our brothers and sisters? It seems there is a perpetual battle between those who value the land as a home that sustains life and those who view it only as a profitable commodity. Lord, will You give balance to our judgments of the land, and free our land of the curses we have committed against it?

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .

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19th Century, Business, Economics, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

1st Lumber Mills in MN 1848

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Pioneer businessman Franklin Steele builds a sawmill at the falls of Saint Anthony. By 1856, there are eight mills at the falls.*

May I sit with You and observe this chapter of life in my state? Mr. Steele came here through the invitation of the man who would become his brother-in-law; Henry Hastings Sibley, a prominent Minnesotan. He staked an advantageous claim on the east bank of the St. Anthony Falls. Soon, he established a partial dam, sawmills, and a crew upriver to supply him logs, and commence a successful business. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Steele

Digging further, this is what I found:
“But Steele surreptitiously staked the first claim on the choicest land before sunrise on the first day of legal settlement.” http://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/historyculture/upload/River_Ch_6.pdf

Is there nothing new under the sun? Once again, a man becomes successful through an inside scoop, and bending the rules to his advantage. We, indeed, are people of mixed motives, bearing both good and bad fruit!

Will You forgive his offense to You in making an illegal claim? Will You forgive his offense to all parties affected in his day whether Native, immigrant, loggers, and sawyers? Will You restore the losses of Steele’s contemporaries?

Yet, we sometimes exhibit the same heart as Steele. We try to grow beautiful things from ugly roots! We often esteem the shrewd, and shun those led by conscience. We are so in love with success stories that we brush past whom our heroes step on and over in the process. Will You forgive us our “illegal claims” today?

Precisely because I am a man with a mixed up heart like Franklin, I am drawn to Your mercy! Through Your kindness, I can offer honest thanks for the accomplishments of others with on-again/off-again hearts. Thanks for providing ample waterpower in Minnesota! Thanks for the resources of wood! Thanks for Franklin Steele who put together an enterprise to use both for the betterment of Minnesota!

*www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/

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19th Century, Culture, Economics, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, riverboat, Technology, Transportation

Steamboats 1840 to 1870  

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Steamboat trips up the scenic Mississippi are the fashion for Eastern tourists in the 1840s. By the mid-1850s steamboats, carrying supplies and immigrants as well as tourists, arrive in St. Paul at the rate of four or five a day during the summer months.*

Holy Spirit, will You journey with me through the steamboat era of the Mississippi? Will You allow me to bounce ideas off You, and alert me to any related subjects? Thanks that You are in, around and through all times and places! I love You for that!
Thanks for the gift of the steamboat! The idea of going effortlessly upstream must have been revolutionary in 1840. What would be an appropriate analogy to present Minnesotans’; skiing uphill at Afton or Wild Mountain? Maybe waterskiing without a rope or a boat?
I thank You for the relational benefits of this mode of transportation to our midwestern forefathers and foremothers. Technology is often viewed in terms of its innate capabilities, but not in terms of the relationships those capabilities may unlock. Transportation advancements seem to inherently effect relationships by changing how we view our geography.
For example, before the steamboat one imagines that it would be much easier for Northerners to travel south, downstream, on the Mississippi than Southerners to travel north. Is it a stretch to imagine that this creates a one-way relational path? If one can only passively receive visitors, products, news, from the north how would that impact one’s world-view.
Conversely, imagine what it would be like to only be a giver on this unidirectional path. A farmer works all season, loads up his crop, brings it to a river town, and sends it away. He feels the immediate reward of the sale of his harvest, but is largely isolated from any connections to those downstream.
Will You forgive any judgments between north and south based out of this one-way relational paradigm? Will You forgive any resentments based on an identity of being primarily a “giver” or a “receiver”? Will You forgive past judgments based on geographic isolation instead of real relationship?
Lord of Hesed, will You create in our generation a desire for real relationship, while aided by technology, not based on technology? Will You show us ways to reverse any symbolic or real curses resulting from one-way relationships? Will You make our mighty rivers flow upstream, and give us a future of blessed two-way, real relationships with our world and fellow man?

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is http://www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

 

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19th Century, Business, Economics, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Timber industry begins in Minnesota 1839

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More than two-thirds of Minnesota is covered with trees when Minnesota’s first commercial sawmill is constructed at Marine on St. Croix–the beginning of Minnesota’s first industry.

On the east side of the Mississippi, a vast forest of pine and other evergreens stretches to the Canadian border. Many white pine along the St. Croix River are 200 feet tall and five feet in diameter.*

Jesus, thanks for our timber resources in Minnesota. Thank you for all who have, who are at present, or who will work in our forests in the future! Will You send your blessing into every place where Your Minnesota forests have gone: furniture, homes, barns, fences, etc.? Will You bless every recipient of Minnesota wood as You chop the roots of blame, and judgment, grudge and jealousy, envy and anger?

As you said in Romans 11:16b “…if the root is holy; so are the branches.” At present, will You forgive any worship of nature itself, and the lack of acknowledgement of to the Creator of the Woods? I’m guilty Lord too: we love stuff and use people instead of loving people and using stuff! Have mercy!

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

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19th Century, Business, Culture, Economics, History, Intercession, Jesus, Leadership, Minnesota, State Government

American Fur Company 1833

 

 

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Young Henry Sibley takes over the American Fur Company post at Mendota in 1834 and stays on to be a leader in building Minnesota. He will become Minnesota’s first territorial delegate to Congress and its first state governor–an indivisible part of the state’s history for more than 50 years.*

 

 

Thank you for the life of Henry Sibley, and his leadership role in this state. You have seen Sibley’s work and heart, will You guide this prayer? Will You give insight into the ramifications of this new role for Sibley as head of this important company so long ago?

 

I do not know how conscientious or just he was, or if he favored the American Fur Company in his civil leadership roles. Lord, I just want to acknowledge that when I have power, it is tempting to favor those with whom I have the strongest trust and relationship. Will You forgive me this sin?

Forgive any favoritism, or judgments against those favored by Henry Sibley, the American Fur Company, and the government of Minnesota? Will You forgive us as Minnesotans’ from our savior-complex? Sometimes we shield those we favor from learning by the cause and effect of their actions. God, these are some contemporary examples of our civic favoritism: >“This company (or bank) is too big to fail.” >”We need a new Vikings stadium.” >”Our state can pay for equality of outcomes.” You are the Savior of Minnesota! Cleanse us from 1833 to now of our favoritism.

Why is this offensive to You, Just One? Is it because misuse of authority exhibits the limitations of our trust for our fellow man, or their Maker? Do we deny those around us that they also have Your inalienable right of choice?

Of course, there are times when you authorize and condone our exercise of judgment on behalf of others. For example, a mother must choose, moment by moment, what is best for the care of her newborn child. Yet if this same woman were to be constantly advising her adult child, it would be a sick relationship, and probably feel quite smothering.

In the same way, will You bless the future of all leaders of this state with Your proper balance of authority? May they be blessed with strength balanced by tenderness! May they neither fear the loneliness of leadership, nor the humility that nurtures future leaders. Amen!

 

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