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

Monorail Plans

he4 2 P61

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!

Advertisements
Standard
19th Century, Architecture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Transportation

Stone Arch Bridge Opens

images

Nov 23, 1883
The Stone Arch Bridge spans the Mississippi below St. Anthony Falls. Once called “Jim Hill’s Folly,” the bridge provides a crossing for trains and becomes a Minneapolis landmark.*

First, I need to confess my bias against the railroad barons based on my reading in college. The rails often made choices that yielded pain for the Midwestern farmer, manufacturer, or anyone who wasn’t in partnership with them. (They would have sweetheart deals for themselves and their allies, and charge exorbitant prices to the farmer whose harvest would spoil if they waited for a better deal. I do not abhor competition, but bristle when I sense oligarchic or monopolistic control.)
I find myself harboring bitterness towards them, and towards this spirit in man that is willing to use the law in SELF service. I confess my judgements and bitterness towards James Hill, and the way the railroads were constructed in this state and nation. Lord, quite honestly, I hate the heritage of price fixing and theft! I abhor the curse that these judgments have put on our state, its’ people, our freedom of travel, and all lands that were granted, bought or stolen by the railroad lines. I despise how the rails withheld the good that they could have chosen to perform for their fellow man, and still yielded a generous profit!
Yet, I am a man of mixed motives just like them. I withhold from doing the good I know I can do, and sin against my brother in my heart. I judge them. I think evil of them in my thoughts. I harbor resentment. Lord Jesus, King of the Universe, have mercy on me a sinner for my judgments!
Lord Jesus, it is You who taught the fish to swim, the rabbit to hop, the horse to run, the people to walk, the wind to blow, the moon to orbit, and sent us the sunshine we feel today from millions of light years’ away! You are the Master of All Transportation! Will You forgive the sins by James J. Hill against Minnesotans’? Will you forgive our collective counter judgements of him, his companies, and generations? Will You bring blessing to every rail, every piece of land, every train, every rail employee, and all the cargo that enters or exits this state of Minnesota? Will You profoundly bless the Stone Arch bridge, and redeem its’ symbolism? Will You be the bridge and span this rift? 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!

**Read more about these lovely arches? https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/historical_sites/stone_arch_bridge/#group_2_150339

Standard
19th Century, Business, Civics, Exploration, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Transportation

Hill’s 1st Railroad 1879

00902018

James J. Hill and his Canadian partners buy the near-bankrupt St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and rename it the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba. This is the beginning of the railroad career that will earn Hill the title “Empire Builder” and cement the importance of the Twin Cities as a commercial center.

Hill’s career didn’t begin with railroads. He came to Minnesota at age 18, convincing a steamboat man to hire him as a clerk. From making sure freight reached the right people, he expanded into handling freight by boat, stagecoach, and wagon. By the time his empire was built, he was one of the nation’s leading industrialists.

In 1891 James J. Hill will crown his success by building a house at 240 Summit Avenue in St. Paul. As massive and well-built as its owner’s railroad empire, the mansion will take three years to build and cost $931,275.01, furnished.*

Lord, thanks that You deal with us so patiently. You allow us to learn from our errors and seek You for mercy and truth. Thank You for the blessings of James J. Hill and his railroads. However, we still feel the weight of the curses aimed at his business! He was alleged to be duplicitous in his business dealings. He allegedly manipulated land grants or sales from cities, tribes, states, and the nations of Canada and the United States. He may have wreaked havoc on the stock market in his battle with Harriman of the Union Pacific line. He was said to be cursed by farmers across the nation for his punitive charges for shipping commodities.

Lord, You are the righteous ruler and justice of North America. Will You remove the curses we have laid on James J. Hill? Will You forgive his debts to the people of North America? Will You forgive us our injustices and betrayals of Your trust? We kill and covet and build empires in our hearts’. We plunder our enemies in our thoughts, and do not see our brothers and sisters as precious lives that You died and rose for! Have mercy on us: the ambitious, the coward, the sluggard, and the average! Remove the curses brought on us, our generations, the land, the property, and our homes both now and until Your return! May the pathway of this railway become a track of blessing to both Manitoba and the Twin Cities! 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!

 

Standard
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!

 

Standard
19th Century, Business, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Transportation

Red River Oxcart Trade 1840 to 1850

Unknown-11

Métis families (formed by marriages between whites and Indians) take their furs from the Red River Valley to St. Paul in oxcarts. Long caravans of up to 200 carts travel from as far away as Winnipeg, Canada, making St. Paul one of the leading fur markets in the country from the 1840s to the 1860s.*

My first question, Lord, is who are the Metis people? Doing what any modern American would do when faced with something they haven’t encountered before I went straight to wikipedia, and found the following excerpt below.

“The Métis are the descendants of Indigenous Cree or Anishinaabe women who married French or Scottish fur traders during the early colonial period. They have a specific, unique culture. Most are found among the Michif-speaking peoples of the Red River region in modern ManitobaNorth Dakota, and Minnesota.[1] The Red River peoples are part of the same ethnic group as many of the Canadian Métis peoples. There is also a broader but limited use of the term to describe any people who descend from the united culture created by the intermarriage of various French and British fur traders and various Algonquian, Cree and other Native American groups intermarrying during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This use would exclude from Métis people-hood those whose ancestries became mixed between these different ethnic groups in other settings or more recently than about 1870.”

So now I have a place to begin my prayer; with at least an inkling of a back story of the Metis. God, I don’t really feel too prayerful tonight, but I’m willing to wait with You and see where it goes. Ok?

To begin, thank You that the Metis are Your people, and included in Your family. Thanks that You have watched over and led them for generations before their participation in the fur trade took place. Today I give your gratitude for the this era of the oxcart trail!

Next, I thank You that Metis marriages became an intersection between Scotch, Irish, French, Cree, Anishinaabe, and perhaps more nations of people! My late aunt, Ingrid Trobisch, an author and marriage counselor once told me, “Interracial marriages may be doubly difficult, but they are also doubly blessed.” I  commend  and honor these marriages that forged a new and unique culture from their culture of origin to You Good Father! Will you bless the Metis and all their future generations with the same forbearing spirit?

How interesting that, again, a people group becomes synonymous with a form of transportation: the Sami people of Finland the reindeer, the Arabs the horse, the Peruvians the llama, and the Metis the oxcart. All through history You have given us gifts and innovative thoughts that improve our lives. Thank You for these gifts. Will You bless those who rode these caravans, and continue to provide for their needs in the present and future? Will You cause us to pause as we drive I-94 west of Minneapolis, and remember who those who first blazed this road; the Metis?

Lord, I ponder what those in the future will think about us when the car is an antiquated beast. Will our interstates lead them somewhere, or will they cease to have purpose ? Will we be associated with our vehicles? In any case, I ask that You bless the future forms of transportation that may be discovered here in Minnesota, and that they would be inhabited by people who drive them to intersect with their neighbors as the Metis did.

*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!

 

 

 

Standard
19th Century, Business, Exploration, Health, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Technology, Transportation

First Steamboat at Ft. Snelling 1823

images-3

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!

Standard
18th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Transportation

Horses Arrive 1740 to 1760

By the mid-1700s, thUnknown-1e Dakota are riding horses, obtained in trade with other tribes, on their buffalo hunts on the prairie. They can now follow the herds farther west on the plains.

Horses had been extinct in the Americas for about 8,000 years. Columbus reintroduced them when he carried European breeds to the continent in 1493. Nearly 200 years later, horses were abundant on the plains, where they transformed the lives of the region’s inhabitants.*

Master, thank you for the creation that You allow us to live and thrive in! Thank you that horses have blessed the lives of the Dakota and immigrant alike! Thank you for the gift of the buffalo to our forbearers! Thank you for reintroducing the horse to North America, and for it’s profound impact on Dakotans’ survival!

Why did You use Europeans to bless North America with the horse? It is good to remember that European explorers were not solely the “exploiters”  of North America as some revisionists may hold. In this case, will You remember those who brought the horse as “contributors?” Thank you, Father, that all cultures are free to choose to contribute and be blessed by those they may not yet know!

Will You bless both horse and rider in Minnesota forever? Will You make us better as a people in our treatment of all horses? Will You give us insight into Your masterpiece; the horse?

*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!

 

Standard