20th Century, Architecture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Transportation

Aerial Bridge Completed

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Mar 24, 1905
The Aerial Bridge is completed in Duluth. The bridge permits land traffic to cross the ship canal without interfering with the ships that pass in and out of the harbor. A lift bridge replaces the aerial system in 1930.*

Aerial Bridge in Duluth began as a transporter bridge. Imagine an arch or high structure that spans a harbor that a segment of the bridge is suspended from on rails. Traffic boards on one side, and this segment of bridge rolls across to the other. When the segment reaches its destination, about 2/3rds of the channel is left open for harbor traffic. Quite ingenious!

Thank You for the mind of Thomas F. Mc Gilvray. How much pleasure You must take in the soul of an architect! A character that both delights in the disciplines of education, and in the revelation of beauty wherever it may be found or felt! A massive steel bulwark spanning a harbor may not immediately bring to mind the word ’beautiful’. Yet, to the residents needing to cross the harbor, it was tremendously useful. Is there a word for ‘useful beauty’? I’m sure there is in Your vocabulary, and that is what I praise You for today!

Furthermore, thank you for the means to connect cultures! In this context, the physical barrier of the harbor could make it difficult for one to know and trade with neighbors just across the water. Thank you that this physical structure opened the doors of residents of Superior, WI. and Duluth, MN. to know each other, as well as the myriad of cultures of sailors from around the world. Will You bless this moment of March 24, 1905, and create a perpetual heritage of blessing in this Harbor? As You have promised…”the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8 NIV
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transporter_bridge

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

High Bridge Blown Down

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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.

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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!

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20th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, State Government, Transportation

First Automobile License Issued

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May 2, 1903
The automobile era kicks off in Minnesota as a Packard in St. Paul receives license number 1. St. Paul’s first automobile fatality occurs just weeks later when a child is hit on Selby Avenue between Dale and St. Albans streets.** The city’s first automatic traffic signal lights up 20 years later; it stands on a ten-foot-tall pedestal at the intersection of Fifth and St. Peter streets.*

Why is it that we take delight in travel, exploration, and pure speed, Lord? Let’s think about the progression a little. Human beings have used their legs for eons, then the legs of various animals, and next the vehicles of their own invention: boats, carts, sleds, etc. Soon, we figured out mechanical means to augment our human, wind, or animal-powered vehicles with the refinement of the steam engine. Eventually the limitations of that power pushed us to adopt the internal combustion engine. Now we are in the era of fuel cell engines, and the dawning of practical electrical-powered vehicles.
Again, moving around the wheel, full circle; why do we want or need to move faster, farther, on less fuel? Why is it that the human creature wants to explore its habitat, which is natural, but then push far past the limitations of its home? Are there examples in the animal kingdom of creatures that explore out of curiosity rather than as a means of survival? A dog will happily sniff the scents of Lake Superior if it has never visited it, but will it long to cross it and see the other side?
Or do we long to see that other side because of discontent? We may not appreciate or flourish in our current environment, and we wonder “ Is there a greener pasture out there somewhere?” Perhaps it’s boredom? We adopt routines that shape how we use time, but break with them in varying degrees dependent on our personalities and discipline. We feel the impulse to stop the cycle of repetition.
Regardless of our motives, I thank You for the gift of the automobile. I thank you for the day of May 2, 1903 and the willingness of the owner of the first car in Minnesota to explore a new mode of transportation. Thank you for the gift of the freedom to travel, and how that travel has benefitted generations of our state. Thank you for all the goods and services we access because the automobile led to the truck. Thank you for the imaginations of individuals like Etienne Lenoir, Niklaus Otto, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Karl Benz, James Atkinson, Edward Butler, and Rudolf Diesel!

*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!

**See how far we’ve come in terms of safety over the past 115 years? http://amhistory.si.edu/onthemove/exhibition/exhibition_8_2.html

 

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18th Century, 19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, railroad, Transportation, Uncategorized

The Last Spike

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Jan 6, 1893
James J. Hill pushes his Great Northern line to the Pacific Coast. The 1,816-mile track from Saint Paul to Seattle completes the railroad he calls his “great adventure.”
The final spike was driven near Scenic, Washington, on January 6, 1893. By midsummer of 1893 Seattle and the East were linked by regular service.*

Sometimes it is hard to believe that one will ever see the “last spike”. Many work their entire life without the satisfaction of seeing even one dream completed. In Hebrews 11, there is a list of the pantheon of spiritual fathers and mothers who “…pleased God because of their faith!
Thank You for this completed task, and its blessings to the inhabitants of North America. Freedom to travel and explore such vast distances were unknown to most Minnesotans’ of Hill’s generation. Granted, a trip on a train is minimally interactive with the land and the people of this 1,800 mile stretch. However, it was a peek into the vastness of the West, even if it was framed through the window of a train!

*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, 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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