20th Century, Architecture, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Transportation, Weather

High Bridge Blown Down

Unknown

Aug 20, 1904
A tornado traveling through Waconia, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Stillwater leaves fourteen people dead and causes property losses of $1.5 million. The same storm blows down the High Bridge in Saint Paul, where winds reach 110 miles per hour, the fastest recorded wind speed in the metropolitan area at the time. The storm also has the lowest measured barometric pressure (23 inches) of any tornado, according to Snowden Dwight Flora, author of Tornadoes of the United States.*

Every decision has a consequence. As the ancient prophet Hosea once said, ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’. But how did regular citizens of these cities ‘sow the wind’? Did they, or was this storm just a normal occurrence that is necessary to the health of the atmosphere and environment?
This I know of human nature, when tragedy strikes, many will attempt to deflect the awfulness of the event through blame. We don’t have the inner mechanisms to deal with great pain, and so we often try to externalize it. Psychologists call this process transference.

Unknown-1

Lord, what were the objects of transference in this event? Let me start with how we blame You, after all, this is an ‘act of God’. Will You forgive any residents of Waconia, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Stillwater who placed the blame for this event on You? Will You forgive any judgments made on Your character? Will You forgive those who viewed this storm as an offense against them in person and property, and in turn held a grudge against you?
Lord, we blame others! For example, “The High Bridge wouldn’t fall if it was designed better? The engineers and architects are to blame!” For the folks of these cities that fall into this category; will You forgive them those judgments of others?
Will You forgive our bifurcated motives? On one hand we love technology. We love what is new, innovative, and ground-breaking. Simultaneously, we cling to the familiar, and many of us have deep-rooted skepticism of new ideas. Will You forgive the judgments made of those who offer us new ideas? Will You forgive the wrath felt by those who dreamt, designed, labored, and finished this High Bridge?
Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for this hardship? We place ourselves on trial in the courts of minds and give harsh sentences for imperfections. Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for lost crops, fallen barns, loss of horses and animals, and loss of human life?
Lord, You are just. You are truly the only right judge because You know our heart, our history, our thoughts, our motives, and our actions. Yet, You are merciful to us, and often reveal the fragility of our inner life and its immaturity in the most gentle and gracious way possible.
You are a good dad. We do not criticize our toddlers when they make a bridge with blocks and it crashes. We praise them, and encourage their imaginations. Will You make us a people that loves valiant failures and Pyrrhic victories as much as you do?

*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!

Advertisements
Standard
19th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, Logging, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Uncategorized

Fire Destroys Hinckley and Sandstone

Unknown-2

Sep 1, 1894
Extremely dry conditions, high winds, and acres of tender-dry “slash” left over from timber cutting, combine to create a horrific fire with walls of flame 200 feet high reaching temperatures of 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Four hundred thirty six persons were known to have died and both towns were completely destroyed. Only the heroic actions of a number of railway employees, who evacuated several hundred residents, kept the death toll from being much higher. This was among the worst disasters in Minnesota history.*

Why is it that You allow adversity, tragedy, and disasters such as this fire, Lord? If this people were dependent on logging and wood products for their livelihood, why would You let it be taken away? Why would You allow this inferno to compound their grief by such a dramatic loss of life?

We often respond to catastrophe with a short-term perspective. Our senses are overloaded, and it is all we can do is observe the wreckage. It is not natural to stop and think, “What good can possibly come from this horror?”

Another typical response is to a painful event of this magnitude is to dissociate ourselves from it. We seek relief usually by one of two routes: responsibility or blame. The first is to rationalize what happened, and escape emotionally by seeking causes and responsibility, all the while remaining a ‘brave’ composure. The second response is to attach to our hearts, but close our minds by assessing ‘guilty’ parties of the blame due them.

I don’t know the hearts of my fellow Minnesotans this day, nor will I attempt to be their psychologist gazing back in judgment from the future. I do trust in Your omnipresent nature, and that this fire, the loss of these lands, people, and property 100-odd years ago remains in Your eternal ‘now’. Will You guide me to intercede Jesus?

Will You forgive those of us who offended You by choosing the pathway of blame? Will you forgive those of us who kept cool heads, were responsible, but never allowed the grief of this day to exit our hearts and consciousness? Will You break the pain that was passed forward into future generations by our lack of forgiveness and resolution?

Will You help us release the idol of control? We often hate what we cannot control. We cannot accept that we cannot control or manipulate our environment to our liking or desired outcome.

According to the Hinckley Fire Museum:
“Because of the dryness of the summer, fires were common in the woods, along railroad tracks and in logging camps where loggers would set fire to their slash to clean up the area before moving on. Some loggers, of course left their debris behind, giving any fire more fuel on which to grow. Saturday, September 1st, 1894 began as another oppressively hot day with fires surrounding the towns and two major fires that were burning about five miles (8 km) to the south. To add to the problem, the temperature inversion that day added to the heat, smoke and gases being held down by the huge layer of cool air above. The two fires managed to join together to make one large fire with flames that licked through the inversion finding the cool air above. That air came rushing down into the fires to create a vortex or tornado of flames which then began to move quickly and grew larger and larger turning into a fierce firestorm. The fire first destroyed the towns of Mission Creek and Brook Park before coming into the town of Hinckley. When it was over the Firestorm had completely destroyed six towns, and over 400 square miles (1,000 km2) lay black and smoldering. The firestorm was so devastating that it lasted only four hours but destroyed everything in its path.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Hinckley_Fire

Will You forgive us as Minnesotans’ for vainly attempting to control our forests? Will You turn this tragic day into a blessing for present and future generations? Will you show us the good fruits of September 1, 1894? Will You kindly help us to manage our inner environments as we manage our external ones?

Unknown-1

PS Lord, Will You honor the everyday heroes like Tommy Dunn?

“One of the many heros of this tragedy was the telegrapher stationed at the St. Paul and Duluth Depot in Hinckley. Tommy Dunn remained loyal to his post and waited for orders. Eventually the very tracks the trains traveled on burned and no orders came. The young telegrapher perished in the fire. He had been determined to save the people of this area. His last know message that he tapped out on his key to the agent in Barnum was “I think I’ve stayed too long” Tommy Dunn had waited until it was too later for his own escape.”

http://www.hinckley.govoffice2.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7BFD8DC19D-5036-4403-8C87-061FFE2E781A%7D

 

*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!

Standard
19th Century, Catholic, Health, History, Intercession, Jesus, Medicine, Minnesota, Natural Disaster

St. Mary’s Hospital Established

unknown

Oct 1, 1889
In 1883 a tornado swept through Rochester, killing thirty-one. Mother Alfred Moes and the Sisters of St. Francis converted their school into an emergency hospital, with Dr. William Mayo supervising.*

Below, is an amplification of this history in terms of modern meteorology.

“During the late afternoon and evening of August 21, 1883, three significant tornadoes (two F3s and one F5) occurred in southeast Minnesota.  These tornadoes affected parts of Dodge, Olmsted, and Winona counties, and they accounted for 40 fatalities and over 200 injuries.
The first tornado touched down around 330 PM about 10 miles south of Rochester near Pleasant Grove (Olmsted County).  This tornado moved northeast for approximately 3 miles and it caused damage on four farms.  One of these farms was completely destroyed.  Other than this, few other details are known about this tornado.  It killed 2 people and injured another ten people.  This tornado was estimated by Thomas P. Grazulis to be a F3 tornado.  Damage was estimated to be $2,000 (in 2007 dollars this would be $42,000).
The second tornado touched down 4 miles northwest of Hayfield (Dodge County) around 6:30 PM.  At least 10 to 40 farms hit Dodge County were leveled.  The massive tornado then moved northeast through northern Rochester.  The enormous roar was said to have warned most Rochester residents.  Over 135 homes were destroyed and another 200 were damaged.  The tornado also derailed a train near Zumbrota Junction.  The mile wide tornado then began to move east again as it moved through rural eastern Olmsted County.  It leveled several farmsteads before dissipating 10 miles east of Rochester.  The tornado killed 37 people and injured 200 others.  Many of the injuries were very serious and other deaths probably occurred, but they are not listed in this total.  This tornado was on the ground for 25 miles and it was estimated by Thomas P. Grazulis to be a F5 tornado.  The total damage was estimated to be $700,000 (in 2007 dollars this would be $14.9 million)
The final tornado touched down around 8:30 PM two miles north of St. Charles (Winona County).  This tornado then moved east northeast for 12 miles before dissipating 4 miles north of Lewiston.  One man was killed in the destruction of a farm house 4 miles northeast of St. Charles.  In addition to this death, the tornado injured 19 others.  This tornado was estimated by Thomas P. Grazulis to be a F3 tornado.  It was estimated that this tornado produced $1,000 in damage (in 2007 dollars this would be $21,000).
Impact of this Event:
Prior to these tornadoes, there were only three hospitals in the state of Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities.  None of these hospitals were located near Rochester.  After the F5 tornado struck Rochester, a dance hall (Rommel Hall) was transformed into a temporary emergency room.  Doctors William Mayo and his two sons (William and Charles) took charge of caring for patients.  Mother May Alfred Moes of the Sisters of St. Francis helped care for patients as well.  After this disaster the Mayo family and the Sisters of St. Francis realized the need of a hospital in Rochester.  They banded together to form St. Mary’s Hospital, which ultimately led to the creation of the Mayo Clinic.”
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/arx/?n=aug211883

Lord, this is truly a beauty for ashes story in the history of Minnesota! This terrible tornado, which kills 31 and obliterates the land, is the impetus for the Mayo Clinic?! Will You forgive the sadness, anger, and distrust that may stem from this day of weather towards You? Will You forgive any verbal vows or commitments made towards You in the pain of this moment within the blast of an horrific storm? We are only people! We do not see as You see.
Conversely, will You bless Mother Alfred Moes, the Sisters of St. Francis, and Dr. William Mayo and their progeny? Will You bless us with vision beyond the present tense as a people? Will You cause us to remember that even tragedy can birth new life and healing?

Standard
19th Century, Catholic, History, Intercession, Jesus, Medicine, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Weather

Tornado Kills 31 in Rochester

unknown

Aug 21, 1883
A tornado sweeps through Dodge County, killing five, and then lands in Rochester, killing thirty-one. Mother Alfred Moes and the Sisters of St. Francis convert their school into an emergency hospital, with Dr. William Mayo supervising.

Realizing the need for a permanent hospital in the city, Moes establishes St. Mary’s Hospital on October 1, 1889. This facility would evolve into the Mayo Clinic.*

This story is just like You Eternal Father! You turn a curse into a blessing, and usually use ordinary people in the process. Thank you forever for having a greater perspective on life than us! Thanks that You give insight.
I bless the benefits of the tragic tornado that struck Dodge county! Will you forgive any curses past or present on Dodge county? I ask for insight of the root sins of the county, and the future of Rochester and the Clinic. I bless the city of Rochester, the clinic, it’s employees, clients, in the authority of Jesus! I know that Your favor remembers both before our sense of time begins, and will continue after the end. May Your favor rest in perpetuity for the faithfulness of theses sisters’, Moes, and all who volunteered to work in the emergency hospital. Amen!

*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!

**The rest of the story?  http://history.mayoclinic.org

Standard
19th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster

Rust Plagues Crops 1878

unknown

Rust, a parasite growing on barberry bushes brought west by settlers, severely damages wheat crops. Later epidemics of wheat rust lead to the outlawing of barberry bushes in 1918.

Epidemics occur again in 1904 and 1916 before the state outlaws the culprit carriers. The problem is eradicated over the next decades through the efforts of “Barberry Bees,” organized to dig up bushes, “Rust Busters Clubs” in schools, and bounties paid for reporting barberry in the 1940s.*

Some days it is burdensome to read chapters of history like the Rust Plague. It feels like humanity, myself included of course, is a one-trick pony. We fail over and over to see cause and effect.
When confronted with the tragic, we react with externalizing our pain. It must be someone else’s fault that I have this problem. Moreover, You are a convenient target for our misuse or overuse of natural resources.
Creator of All Nature, this is the ray of light I see in this Rust Plague; eventually the curious among us found a relationship. We found that transporting plants, namely berberis vulgaris, from their origins resulted in creating an undesired effect when they reached our desired destinations.* We loved progress, but lacked the knowledge and wisdom to enact it in this case.                                                 *https://www.ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/st-paul-mn/cereal-disease-lab/docs/barberry/barberry-situation-past-present-future/

Lord, was there something to this parasite outbreak other than nature? I believe that You are far more merciful to us than our sins deserve, but simultaneously maintain justice and wise judgments. You remain in perfect balance; neither favoring grace or truth. Our separation from You and our fellow man has its consequences. I can think of several events that happened in this time frame that caused massive unrest:
the creation of the Federal Reserve -1913
the negation of the Nicaragua Canal
the first foray into US nation-building that created the nation of Panama
the opening of the Panama Canal – 1914
sinking of the Lusitania – May 7, 1915
Poncho Villa raids US – 1916
President Wilson commits our troops to WWI, in spite of his campaign promise; “He kept us out of the war.” – 1917
Wilson “14 Point of Peace” – 1918
and extensive upheavals between labor and the industrialists.
Lord Jesus, will You enter into this chapter of our history again? Will You, by Your kind Holy Spirit, point out offenses that we may have made towards You? Did we curse the ground, or more specifically the wheat crops of Minnesota? Were You just maturing us to trust You in difficult times? Was a disease necessary to place nature in proper balance? Jesus, please forgive us any root judgments that contributed to the rust epidemic. Will You heal our land and our hearts, to receive You where our ancestors may have missed You? Will You make us capable of self-examination, observant of our surroundings, and shield us from the temptation to only look for external targets of our wrath and blame rather than responsibility, reason, and relationship?

*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!

Standard
19th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster

Grasshopper Plague 1873

grasshoppers1939

Grasshoppers darken the skies of southwestern Minnesota. For the next five summers they strip the land bare. Charities and the state provide some relief, but many farmers lose everything.
“‘The wheat!’ Pa shouted. He dashed out the back door and ran toward the wheat-field.
“The grasshoppers were eating. You could not hear one grasshopper eat, unless you listened very carefully while you held him and fed him grass. Millions and millions of grasshoppers were eating now. You could hear the millions of jaws biting and chewing.
“Pa came running back to the stable. Through the window Laura saw him hitching Sam and David to the wagon. He began pitching old dirty hay from the manure-pile into the wagon, as fast as he could. Ma ran out, took the other pitchfork and helped him. Then he drove away to the wheat-field and Ma followed the wagon.
“Pa drove around the field, throwing out little piles of stuff as he went. Ma stooped over one, then a thread of smoke rose from it and spread. Ma lighted pile after pile. Laura watched till a smudge of smoke hid the field and Ma and Pa and the wagon.
“Grasshoppers were still falling from the sky. The light was still dim because grasshoppers covered the sun.”*

Holy Spirit, we don’t know why You allow tragedy, but we thank you that you work ‘all things together for good for those that trust him.” This event must have felt like some kind of biological warfare; its’ devastation being so total.  How helpless it must have felt to take any useful action in the face of this swarm?!

Many would find this type of annihilation a ‘proof’ that You are not God. They may fail to see beyond the immediate to the fact that You’ve given us a will to choose lightness or darkness when our the object of our security is touched. They may fail to see that in the depths of pain, one’s greatness of character arises. Nearly every Bible story contains a main character who suffers, and often suffers unjustly.

Lord, I do not want to judge my state in their response to this plague. I do want to ask forgiveness for responses of anger or bitterness and unforgiveness towards You. Whether You allowed us to be tested, or whether the grasshoppers came because of natural law and overpopulation; You are righteous in Your judgments. Lord, forgive us our lack of trust that You bring life to the land, whether human or not? You truly are King of the Universe! May we bless You and not forget the days of life and health you have given. Will You show us how to work with insects in balance? Will You bless all insect and plant life through out our land?

We are fickle. We think You serve us instead of the truth that we are Your people and the sheep of Your pasture. Father, help Your Church to not cower in fear in the face of this accusation of the enemy, but answer with confidence in Your love. May we believe as David, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him.”

*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!

Standard
19th Century, Business, government, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, Politics, State Government

Falling Falls

Unknown

1866 to 1880

Construction begins on a wooden apron to protect St. Anthony Falls. Mills depend on the falls for industrial power, and their owners hope the apron will stop its erosion and collapse.

Floodwaters destroy this first attempt the following year. Collapses follow. It’s 1880 before a useful apron is completed.*

The Eastman Tunnel once ran below the St. Anthony Falls, connecting Nicollet Island with Hennepin Island. It’s collapse almost destroyed the utility of the falls for the milling industry. Congress gave the Army Corps of Engineers $50,000 to fix the falls by basically filling in the tunnel with concrete, and making a wooden apron. This attempt failed also, and it wouldn’t be until 1874 when a lasting apron would be built.
https://www.esci.umn.edu/courses/1001/1001_kirkby/SAFL/WEBSITEPAGES/5.html

Jesus, our life is a series of attempts, successes, and failures. Help us view failures as You do; teachable moments. Thanks that this failure to build an apron eventually led to a successful preservation of the utility of St. Anthony Falls and the milling industry, but at the cost of destroying its’ natural beauty.

Will You bless us again through the Falls and the Mississippi? Will You gift us to persevere today when our work is totally destroyed by forces beyond our control? Will You help us work in harmony with beauty and nature?

*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!

Standard