19th Century, History, horses, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Technology, Transportation

Electricity Replaces Horses

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1890
Electricity replaces horse power on the Grand Avenue trolley in St. Paul. In four years, an intercity electric line will whisk passengers between the downtowns of the Twin Cities in only 45 minutes.*

Again Lord, thank You for inspiring improvements in our means of transport in Minnesota! What is it about movement that so appeals to us? Or is free movement something that appeals to You first, and us secondly? Transport my thoughts, God, in Your direction.
First let us not forget to thank You for the gift of the horse! How these creatures have served us so mightily! As a Minnesotan, I want to say thanks for all horses that have, are, or will exist here. Will You bless our horses, those who work with them, and trade them? Will You bless their health and lives in perpetuity?
In this era, the 1890’s, will You forgive any root thoughts or actions between those who used horses and those who wanted to replace them with electrical trolleys?
Will You forgive the judgments of those who pit technology vs. animal, or extant technology vs. new technology rooted in this era, and continuing into the present?

Why did the horse fall into disfavor for use with trolley car companies such as the TCRT?
“Despite the advantage of steel wheel on rail, the cars were still horse powered, and horses were a problem. Up to seven were required to keep a single car in service all day. They produced epic quantities of manure. They were slow, couldn’t handle steep hills and were subject to disease.”
http://www.trolleyride.org/History/Narrative/TC_Transit.html

These problems are serious in an urban setting. It’s understandable that Minnesotans of this era would look to a new means of propulsion.
So, I want to say thank You for the gift of the electric-powered trolley. Will You bless it’s inventors, and their heritage? Will You bless those leaders who experimented and took a chance on a new technology? Will You cleanse the land where these rails ran, where man and beast were cursed by one or the other of these factions?

Beyond these prayers, more thoughts arise without answer…yet. Why do we long to “get there” faster? Do we really “save time” by increasing the speed at which we travel? Is the increase of leisure time a net blessing or curse on Minnesota? How does “more speed help an attitude that is given over to impatience? For these questions, and the millions of others that are unspoken and unwritten, give us wisdom and insight! Lord, hear our prayer!

*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!

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19th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Technology, Transportation, Uncategorized

Bicycling Craze

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Jan 1, 1890
Twin Citians’ hop on bicycles in a fit of pedal-mania. Women shorten their skirts, and men clip their trouser legs for easier pedaling. Streetcar revenues decline, and there are complaints of a parking problem in downtown areas.
An outbreak of “scorchers”–bicyclists going over the speed limit of 6 miles per hour on sidewalks and 8 mph on streets–prompts the St. Paul Police Department to establish a bicycle squad in 1899.*

Thank You Father for inspiring the invention of the bicycle. More exactly, the Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan, b. 1812 – d. 1878 who is generally credited for creating the rear-wheel driven bicycle! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkpatrick_Macmillan What a useful means of transportation, and what a wonderful act of worship on his part!
Thank You for the heritage of bicycling in Minnesota. Thank You for the willingness of citizens, as well as the cities and enforcement agencies, in their embrace of this ‘new’ technology. What a gift to put reliable transportation within the economic grasp of nearly every person! Will You bless the heritage of bicycling in all aspects in Minnesota? Will You inspire us again to increase its’ usefulness, and keep inspiring inventors of human powered vehicles?
Lord, I also want to acknowledge our separateness from Your authority and order. Forgive us our propensity to defy established laws! It seems humorous to us in the present to hear those going 8mph labelled as “scorchers”. However, it still is telling of our character that once a standard is established, we often seek to ride the line or exceed it. Will You have mercy on our acts of rebellion no matter what size?
We have failed You by our failing to respect the safety of our fellow man. We have failed You by failing to recognize civil laws as being standards that You have established. We have rejected Your leadership in part by rejecting our human leaders and laws. In Your mercy, hear our prayer!

*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!

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Technology, Transportation

Monorail Plans

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1888
Over 200 dignitaries ride a new electric monorail up the Bryant Avenue hill in South St. Paul. Investors’ hopes of building an elevated system connecting the Twin Cites are abandoned when the St. Paul city council fails to approve their plans.

A vibrant trolley system will connect the Twin Cities until replaced by busses. But it will be another 113 years before voters approve the construction of a (partially) elevated public transportation system.*

Lord, thank You for the inspirations of men, and the dreams of women! Thank You that You have put ideas into the brains of people that eventually take shape and become reality! Thank you for the mind of Charles Clark! (The dreamer behind this monorail.)

A man like him sees the concept so clearly: a single rail, a simple car gliding on wheels that create so little friction, an opportunity to move the public while being able to ‘fly’ around and over existing structures, etc. He even made a working monorail, but met the obstacle of the city council. Have mercy on his resentments! Have mercy on all who have had their dreams and aspirations dashed by this committee or any committee!

Lord, we have argued bitterly over transportation in this city and state for over 100 years. Will You hear this prayer? I acknowledge to you our separateness on this issue. Will you forgive our clashes over monorails, trains, planes, roads, and other forms of transportation yet to be discovered?
It is good to test a new idea. Debate is healthy, and often necessary when it involves investing of time and resources. Will You show us a new way to debate this issue? Will You keep our wheels rolling?

*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!

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

Steamboats 1840 to 1870  

mississippi-riverboat

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, Agriculture, Business, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Technology

Missionaries at Lac qui Parle 1835

hane-and-herman-bigger

Presbyterian ministers Thomas Williamson and Jedediah Stevens establish a mission at Lac Qui Parle to the west. They bring a farmer along to teach the Dakota how to raise crops in the European manner.*

Lord, thanks for the benefits of European farming, and Native farming. Thank you for the benefits of this heritage: seldom have we lacked food as a state, often we have contributed food to others! Will You continue to bless the productivity  of all Minnesota farmland? Will You enhance the nutrition of our soil and food? Amen.

*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, Exploration, Health, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Technology, Transportation

First Steamboat at Ft. Snelling 1823

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The “Virginia” is the first steamboat to reach Fort Snelling. Needed supplies are missing from the cargo, though the boat does carry the umbrella-wielding Italian count Giacomo Beltrami.*

Today’s meditation is on the relevance of the arrival of steamboats in the state of Minnesota. For the author, the practical is spiritual, and often the super-normal is the basis of the super-natural. Therefore, if I want to hear what my Good Father is saying to me today, I may have to slow my thoughts to the speed of a paddle-wheeler headed upstream. That said, below is a succinct general history to amplify this event:

“As early as the 17th Century a handful of explorers, hardy French voyageurs, and missionaries had ventured into the environs of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Through a variety of relationships that included cooperation, intermingling, and competition with the native inhabitants of the region, several temporary encampments and forts had been established to support the lucrative fur trade. But most historians agree that nothing changed the frontier as quickly as steam transportation.(1)

In April, 1823 the small steam packet Virginia backed out into the channel of the Mississippi from the St. Louis levee to become the first boat to ascend the Father of Waters into what would later become the Minnesota Territory. This remarkable journey was chronicled by Giacomo Constantine Beltrami, the Italian explorer who went on to play an important role in Minnesota history. (2) A Kentucky family en route to the lead mines of southern Wisconsin on board the 118-foot vessel represented the first trickle of what would soon become a deluge of immigration. Also on board the Virginia for this historic trip was Captain William Clark of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1805.

Imagine the contrast of traveling in the relative ease and comfort of this sturdy little boat with his experience of just a few years earlier.” http://www.winonahistory.org/sesqui/steam/

There is much here to ponder: the new technology of the steamboat, how this technology changed history, and what timeless truths can we grasp from it? Lord of Mighty Rivers hear my simple thoughts and prayers.

Strong Creator, thank You for the scientific properties of water. It’s truly amazing! It’s like Your character, it can appear as ice, liquid, or steam, yet it is always the same substance. You put it into Your creative children to harness this transitional power for the betterment of humankind. Which of their ancestors would imagine that one day their boiling tea kettle would power massive loads upstream against the might of the Mississippi?

Here is my first confession and petition. Lord forgive our lack of imagination, both for ourselves, and for the dreams of others. May we practice to spur this generation to dream, and to the enjoyable discipline necessary to their fulfillment. May we be a voice of encouragement that pushes others to defy the current! Thank You for the symbolic value of the lonely Virginia moving slowly to its destination!

Next, new technology often makes the impossible possible, and the impractical practical. Again, who in the 18th century would think that their steaming iron maple syrup pot could actually become a boiler? And that that boiler would have the power to move unthinkable payloads up and downstream? And that those payloads would enable trade and previously unimaginable lifestyle for the average American?

We, in the 21st century, have the luxury to throw away old socks and t-shirts. Cotton products have become so accessible they are practically disposable. We do not know or remember that our ancestors may have experienced the incredible comfort of cotton articles from the South for the first time because of this steamboat’s success. Conversely, those in the South were likely amazed at the beautiful white flour Minnesota could send them so affordably.

Lord, we don’t often pause to remember what it’s like to do without. We do not see the masterful design of a plain white cotton t-shirt, or ponder that in past generations, it was a garment fit for a king. Or that the greatest chefs of Paris were astounded at the silky wheat flour from some unknown place called Minnesota. It was “Incroyable”!

Incredible Dreamer, thanks that You are not offended by our inventions! Thanks that this steamboat enabled Beltrami to better share his discoveries with a much wider audience. Ultimately, thanks that You take pleasure in our discoveries! May this river valley yield new discoveries and discoverers who make the impossible possible! (Just like You!)

*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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