20th Century, Governors, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Republican

Governor Elmer L. Anderson: A Progressive of Head and Heart

January 2, 1961- March 25, 1963
Elmer Lee Anderson, the thirtieth governor of Minnesota, was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 17, 1909. His education was attained at Muskegon Junior College and at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a business degree in 1931. He established a successful career with the H.B. Fuller Company, first working in the marketing department and eventually becoming the owner and president of the company. Andersen entered politics in 1949, serving as a member of the Minnesota State Senate, a position he held ten years. He next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 8, 1960. During his tenure, a fair housing bill was sanctioned; a statewide sanitary law was authorized; highway safety measures were initiated; and a governmental ethics act was instituted.*

“I remind people I want to be known as a liberal Republican. If that’s a dirty word, so be it.” Elmer Lee Anderson **

Governor E.L. Andersen led a life of enthusiasms, that led into ventures, that usually led into success. Though his parents split at a young age, he discovered that he had capabilities to provide for himself and his family selling: soft drinks, candy, and newspapers. He loved birds, and wrote articles as a young teen that made it into the local newspaper.***

Already a natural salesman, he sold for Sheldon, a specialty school furniture company, and this is when he moved to Minnesota. After graduating from the U of M in 1934, he entered H.B. Fuller as a sales manager, and eventually went on to become its president. His formula of good sales seemed firmly based in his solid ethics. The following quote shows his heart-felt business acumen.

“Anything the customer wanted should be seen as an opportunity for us to provide it. Number two was that the company should exist deliberately for the benefit of the people associated in it. I never liked the word employee. It intimated a difference in class within a plant. We always used the word associate. Fuller’s third priority was to make money. To survive, you have to make money. To grow, you need money. To conduct research and develop new products, you must have money. The need for money can be desperate at times. But corporations must put the quest for money in its proper place. Our philosophy did not leave out service to the larger community. We put it in fourth place, behind service to customers, our associates, and the bottom line. Community service cannot be paramount to a business, but it ought not to be omitted, as it too often is. Business must concern itself with the larger society—for reasons of self-interest if nothing else.” ****

Maybe this heart and philosophy underscores some of Andersen’s key achievements during his governorship, and the scope of human interests they spanned? We see his love of nature and ornithology as the loon was named our state bird during his tenure. What ne plus ultra! What more fitting symbol of this place and people; our idiosyncrasies and achievements? This bird is capable aloft or underwater, but walks poorly on land and must run on the surface of the water to take off!?! Its beak is a spear for fishing, and its sharp eyes a vibrant red. Don’t be taken aback by the loon’s haunting lonely cry; it just wants to live in solitude. In this, Andersen is our Adam!

His administration officially recognized alcoholism as a health problem. Maybe the most impactful change for posterity of his term is in his sanctioning of a fair housing act. (Though the Fair Housing Act 42 U.S.C. did not see fulfillment until 1968, his was a quick response to just the problems that were brought to light in the public domain issues of the Rondo neighborhood.) *

Though succeeded by Karl Rolvaag after his one term in office, Elmer remained committed to the Republican Party, and his many pet causes and interests. Governor Andersen became a publisher, writer, and archivist while owning interests in ECM Publishing. He clearly was a bibliophile, and amassed a collection of over 12,000 rare books that went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Library. He was known as the father of Voyageurs Nation Park, working ceaselessly with other famous Minnesotans like aviator Charles Lindbergh, to preserve this beautiful land and interconnected waterways for generations.***

We now bow to You: Governor of Governors, Sovereign of Sovereigns, Crown of all Crowns! As Isaiah rightly prophesied, “On that day, Adonai-Tzva’ot will be a glorious crown, a brilliant diadem for the remnant of his people.” Isaiah 28:5 CJB * We owe this land grant and political state of Minnesota to You alone Lord. What wisdom do You wish to convey through the life and events of Governor Elmer Lee Andersen?

We thank You that Andersen relished the pathway of sales from childhood throughout his life. What a blessing to realize one is talented in an area, and to remain in such a strength for life! We thank You that this particular salesman clearly articulated his raison d’être in writing for posterity, and approached his business with a sense of balance between profits and people. May You be praised in this, and give our salespersons your heart of community service within provision!

As a second proviso of well-being, we acknowledge Elmer’s willingness to name the elephant in the room; “Alcoholism”! Though he aptly called it a disease of the body, we remember to You that is also a disease of the spirit. A satisfied mind doesn’t need alcohol to amplify Your wonders; but a needy heart craves the next drink. We praise You that he chose to name this issue, and create pathways of help for generations of Minnesotans!

Prolonging his memory to You, we see his desire to end discriminatory practices in housing. He began the end of discriminatory lending practices; a practice of unnecessarily stratifying of a generation of Minnesotans. Surely there is a way to honor liberties of private property without racializing Your land! May we keep asking for wisdom in this! Willing You forgive us: in our business and finance industries, as communities, and as individuals made in Your image of this offense towards You and Your land which we temporarily occupy?

In sum, there is much praise worthy in Governor Anderson’s life. His love of books became a fruitful business, which circled back to bless the branches of the University of Minnesota. A passion for the Creation led him to advocate to preserve Voyageurs. In this, he is just like You!

Precisely because of Governor Andersen’s good character and habit of fulfilling good desires, I am reticent to criticize, yet I must add these words and questions to You, Lord. We, who love progress, must define what progress looks like to move society towards it. Often, progressive movements work through the machinery of the State to fulfill their purposes. Does not this oblige others to both sanction and fund a definition of progress that they do not hold in their heart?

Forgive my weak wordplay, Messiah, but who protects our figurative loons from progress? Who stands for those who are undefiant, yet choose to fly alone? Maybe I have an inordinate fear of progressivism because of it’s inherent humanistic roots; “the progress of man”. Where is Your place in this worldview? Does it make allowances for Your Kingdom of forgiveness, humility, and innocence? What place do virtues such as patience and persuasion hold in a climate that waves a banner stating “Advancement Now!”?

Yet this is where I arrive in watching this era of Elmer’s leadership; we need You to stand between us. We ask forgiveness where our version of progress diminishes another; in this age of the early 1960’s, in the present, and into eternity. We invite Your wisdom into the ways we must yield to each other. Keep us from conceit as we make concessions to the greater good. And may our self-defined greater good be submitted to our Greatest G-d.

“It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.” Ecclesiastes 7:18 NIV **

*https://www.nga.org/governor/elmer-lee-anderson/
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_L._Andersen cited in Saint Paul Pioneer Press. 2004 article
*** Andersen, Elmer L. (2000). A Man’s Reach. Edited by Lori Sturdevant. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
**** “1941: Harvey Fuller Sells Company to Elmer Andersen”. H.B. Fuller. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1
***** “Publications: Princeton Union-Eagle”. ECM Publishers. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
****** Smetanka, Mary Jane. (1999). “Former Governor’s Gift Is Voluminous”. Minneapolis Star Tribune. Metro ed. April 1. p. 1A.
******* https://www.nps.gov/voya/learn/historyculture/index.htm
********https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Isaiah%2028:5
*********https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+7%3A18&version=NIV

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Mining, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Gunflint Trail 1893

homeslide4

1893

“The American Realty Company and the Gun Flint Iron Company rejoice at the completion of the Gunflint Trail. They will use it to transport iron ore from inland mines to Grand Marais, where it can be moved by ship.

The area lies on the eastern edge of the Mesabi Iron Range, but proves to be less rich in iron-ore deposits than prospectors had originally hoped. In the end, the road is used more by logging trucks and later by tourists.”* 

Thank You Messiah that You encourage and allow us to dream, and the strength to fulfill even part of those dreams. Lead me on the path of Your thoughts on the Gunflint Trail of Minnesota. What will You reveal today?

I share the joy of the American Realty Company and the Gun Flint Iron Company of the completion of this task. How could they know that their ore trail would become a logging trail, or one of the most lovely roads leading people to the peace of the Boundary Waters? How will You repurpose this road in the future?

I will assume that the motive of a realty company building a road is to create access to land, and make it usable for the needs of that generation. This hits a past and present wound; our judgement(s) of others’ land use. Each generation tends to judge or blame or assess the actions of the ones before.

 

So, here I will start; Lord, this piece of ground known as Minnesota is Your property. All treasures above, below, or on the surface of its boundaries belong to its Creator! Forgive our offense to You by judging the motives of this generation in 1893. Forgive our offense to You through the many battles fought in our courts over Your property. Our vision is short-sighted. We lack mercy. We hate what our brother does with the ground You’ve allotted him, and we sue him. We despise the generosity of resources You give to our sister, and we steal it from her!

Will You remove these curses on the Gun Flint Trail? Will You bless it thoroughly?       Will You break the cycle of judgment between those who want it for recreation, those who want it completely undeveloped and pristine, and those who want to use its resources?

Our state government has accrued land, or limits the use of privately held land through regulation. what are Your thoughts on that, Lord? Is that simply, “nothing new under the sun” because that is the way of rulers? Is it a wise idea to set aside land for  future use, and does it truly increase ‘sustainability’? Are we like the servant who buries our talents, in this case land resources, because we refuse to utilize them?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** Need a primary source? Peruse the “Cook County Herald”? https://www.loc.gov/newspapers/?q=grand+marais+minn

***More on the Gun Flint Iron Company? http://www.padwrr.ca/iron.html

 

 

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19th Century, Business, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Saint Paul Mutual Insurance Company Incorporated

Alexander Wilkin

Alexander Wilkin

March 5, 1853
“The legislature incorporates the St. Paul Mutual Insurance Company, forerunner of the insurance giant St. Paul Companies, the state’s oldest business corporation.” *

Lord, thanks for the conception of corporations, and the good intended through their creation. Our culture has taken a bitter view of business entities such as the “corporation” because of the publicized abuses of some business leaders. This is like tossing away the idea of going to a court for justice on the basis that there are some mistrials. It’s like tossing the Bible because we read it as a punishment instead of Your love letter to humanity.

I commend the three men who founded this company today to You; dear Founder of the Universe. I thank You for the life of Alexander Wilkin, and his impetus to create an insurance company for Minnesotans’! I thank You for George and John Farrington, his partners and investors! I observe that these men, going “all-in”, could barely raise the $50,000 necessary to start their business. Yet, You have allowed it to grow to $20.68 billion in four generations?!

Jesus, I acknowledge the failures of corporations in Minnesota to honor Your standards of integrity. Even the best businesses operate on the basis of mutually beneficial self-interest, but are not expected to exhibit love. Forgive the judgments of our society towards its corporations and vice versa from March 5, 1853 forward.

Likewise, forgive the believers of Minnesota for our judgments of its corporate body, the Church. Forgive the bitter judgments and lack of love towards its parts, and failure to recognize that a rejection in part is a rejection of its corporateness. On the basis of this confession, I want to pronounce the Lord’s forgiveness to the businesses of Minnesota both past and present, and invite Your favor on our states’ corporations and all Church business. Make us one, Jesus!

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** More on St. Paul Companies http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/the-st-paul-companies-inc-history/

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19th Century, Business, Economics, History, Industry, Minnesota, Native Americans, Politics, trade

1st Lumber Mills in MN 1848

history_franklinSteele

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. **

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.” *** 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 too 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 those whom our heroes stepped 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!

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Steele
*** http://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/historyculture/upload/River_Ch_6.pdf

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