20th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, sports

Streetcar Double Headers

April 1907
A heated sibling rivalry develops between the Twin Cities’ two pro baseball teams, the Saints and Millers. Streetcar doubleheaders are scheduled on Decoration Day, July 4, and Labor Day, with a game in each city.*

A bit of background is in order to help those who may not know much about the Twin Cities. There is definitely much in common between these two places, but it’s the distinctions that give each it’s flavor. They may not be thought of as ‘strong’ flavors by those who consider Minnesota ‘flyover country’, but that is a matter of taste.

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St. Paul is the older brother of Minneapolis. According to local legend, first two structures in St. Paul were a log trading post that doubled as a pub, and a log Catholic church. There are very strong communities derived from nations with a Roman Catholic heritage: Irish, French, Polish, Italian, and Mexican. This city leans blue-collar, tends to move slower, and with more respect for tradition.

1907 Spalding Guide - Hart - MPLS team

Minneapolis is the kid brother that just kept growing. It historically has been more Protestant, with residents mostly from Western and Northern European descent. It leans more white collar and entrepreneurial, with more nightlife to spend new money.

Holy Umpire, thanks for the heritage of baseball in Minnesota! What an awesome combination of sport with times for team play, and individual achievement! Baseball truly is a mirror of the best attributes of our culture.
Unfortunately, Saints and Millers reflect the darker sides of our nature too. Sometimes we, as fans attempted to “help” our home team. Check out this example of ‘sportsmanship from 100 years ago;

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“The newspapers joined the struggle, firing their artillery at enemy camps across the Mississippi River. In the 1890s, when both cities were represented in the Western League, the Minneapolis Tribune leveled a charge of “dirty ball” against its neighbors to the east, the Saints, who were owned and managed at that time by Charles Comiskey. “Manager Comiskey,” reported the Tribune, “will be served with a formal notice that the Minneapolis club will not play today’s game unless guaranteed that there will be no spiking of Minneapolis players, no interference on the part of the crowd, no throwing of rocks, no throwing of dust and dirt in the eyes of the Minneapolis players, and a few other tricks which the game yesterday was featurized by.” “ Thornley, Stew. On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers.**,***

God, thanks that You gave a home team to enjoy and be proud of. Will You forgive us for when we have gone overboard and over identify ourselves with a baseball team? Will You forgive harsh words that were sowed then between Minneapolis and St. Paul that still smart today?

Today I want to acknowledge specific sports offenses to You. We have loved winning more than losing, but doesn’t losing build character? We have loved showboat personalities more than the team at times, but innately we know that a single player can’t win the game. We can behave like spoiled brats at games, then lecture our kids about the importance of sportsmanship. God help our ERA and our era! Have mercy on our inconsistent batting average with beloved rivals of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thanks that these hostilities birthed a solution; the Minnesota Twins! Will You help us find creative ways to find common ground with our rivals today?

*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!

**Peruse this wonderful link to the complete article by Stew Thornley. http://www.stewthornley.net/millers_paydays.html

***Dig into a book on the Saint Paul Saints, again, by Stew Thornley. http://www.mnhs.org/mnhspress/books/st-paul-saints

 

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20th Century, Awe, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Longfellow Gardens Opens

Robert (Fish) Jones

1906
City dwellers flock to the newly opened Longfellow Gardens Zoo near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis to see the animals and the zoo’s colorful keeper, Robert “Fish” Jones. Dressed in his trademark Prince Albert coat and stovepipe hat, Jones is often accompanied around the park by his troupe of performing sea lions.*

“The zoo continued to prosper, although complaints from neighbors about noise and smell were perpetual. In 1930, Jones died. His family tried to keep his zoo open, but failed and the zoo had to be closed down. Many of the animals were sold or given the Como Zoo in St. Paul.” **

Why are we so inspired by zoos? Even the best of zoos are limited replications of natural habitat. What is it about looking a fellow creature in the eyes, watching the way it moves, or catching its scent that is so perpetually thrilling? Is it simply that we are afforded an audience with one of Your masterpieces?
Why is it that even observation of creative acts impact us so? We read excellent literature, and we are there in spite of a dim reading light! We see a great film, and are transfixed by the story so much that we forget our annoyance at the sticky floor. We view a majestic piece of art, and are taken in past the limitation of the frame, the space, and the white noise!
While this may be true, will You forgive our human propensities to miss the meetings You ordained for Minnesotans past, present, or future? We want to experience Your nirvana, but despise the travail of travel to observe it! It does not register what a priceless experience it is to look on a wild animal when it comes at virtually no cost!
Elohim, Strong Creator, thank You for the gift of our fellow creatures! Thank You for putting the vision for Longfellow Gardens into the heart of businessman Robert Jones! Thank You also for his passion and commitment to see it through to fruition! May this state forever cherish a chance to interact with (Your) nature…and dreamers!

*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!

**Benidt, Bruce Weir (1984). The Library Book. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center. ISBN 0-9613716-0-9.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longfellow_Zoological_Gardens

*** Photo and 1907 newspaper article that encapsulates the spirit of Mr. Jones. http://circusnospin.blogspot.com/2010_11_18_archive.html

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20th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Life, Minnesota

Wonderland Park

Unknown

1905
Wonderland Park in Minneapolis draws visitors with a 120-foot-high electric tower. Before going out of business in 1912, the park offers a carousel, a dance pavilion, a scenic railway, and a “House of Nonsense.”*

In Your creation, You ordained a day of rest, and have established a pattern for us. You worked six days, and then took a break on the seventh day. Thank You for showing us a plan for a happy life-balance.
Thank You for the creation of Wonderland Park in Minneapolis! Thank You for those who saw some land, and envisioned: a tower of lights for docking airships (dirigibles), a carousel, a scenic railway (rollercoaster), an Infant Incubator Institute for free treatment of pre-mature babies, a place where anyone could afford to ride a horse, and a place to meet and dance!
I particularly think You must have taken delight in the “House of Nonsense”! What good grandpa doesn’t relish the laughter, silly jokes, and just plain goofing off with his grandkids? You made a universe of discovery for us, and today I want to acknowledge and thank You for that.

Further, I want to acknowledge the burden of this amusement park on its’ neighbors.* The heavy traffic and noise caused a local church to sue for interfering with worship services. Thankfully, they settled out of court, and rebuilt further away.
In response, I find myself cringing in judgment of the Church of missing Your moments. Granted, the trash, glaring lights, and melismatic din of a permanent carnival could grow very tiring in an era where open doors and windows were the primary means to cool off. Yet, what opportunities to know and serve its patrons were missed in this transplant?
Will You forgive Elim Presbyterian for passing up the opportunity to demonstrate love to Wonderland Park? Will You forgive the same for the Church Universal? We get too caught up in the execution of religious ceremony to notice the chance for relationship with Your people outside it. Christ have mercy!

Will You bless those who experienced this park, and their generations? Will You grant us the grace to be a people who love the Sabbath rest? Will You give us the gift of having fun? Will You help us see the Wonderland just outside our doors?

*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!
**A nice article by Ben Welter of the StarTribune newspaper, and a bonus reprint of the opening day article from May 15, 1905. http://www.startribune.com/may-15-1905-wonderland-amusement-park-opens/142547735/

***Lawsuit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderland_Amusement_Park_(Minneapolis)

 

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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.

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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, Crime, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics

“Shame of Minneapolis”

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Jan 1901 to Feb 1903
Dr. Albert Alonzo “Doc” Ames served four terms as mayor of Minneapolis. His fourth term began in January 1901 and ended with his resignation in August 1902 after a grand jury exposed the corruption in his administration.

In January 1903 McClure’s magazine published an article by nationally-known muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens**** on the fight against corruption in Minneapolis. The story focused on Mayor Ames’ regime and how the work of the courageous grand jury led to his fall. He was convicted of bribery in February 1903.*

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:7 NIV**

Minneapolitans living in 1901-1903 may not have been “carried into exile” like the children of Abraham, but they likely felt that Justice abandoned them. What does one do, when their hometown becomes corrupt? Even more accurate, what response should the public have when their leadership targets them for abuse, and opens the doors of the city welcoming crime?

Mayor Ames’ actions lead to the conclusion that he was single-minded in his pursuit of control, and hungry for bribery. He made his brother Fred chief of police. He fired law-abiding police and replaced them with unqualified and criminally-minded officers. He released criminals from jail. He accepted and encouraged organized crime of all kinds in return for payment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Ames

Lord, hear our prayer! Our forbearers failed to see the character of Mayor Ames, or those he appointed. Some of our citizens participated in activities that enabled corruption. Will You forgive these offenses?

Will You forgive the lust that welcomed and expanded prostitution in the city of Minneapolis? Will You forgive us our willingness to objectify women? Will You forgive us our impatience to find sexual oneness and satisfaction apart from a real relationship?

The “johns” have given themselves over to misogyny, and the prostitutes have given themselves to misandry in response. We have accepted money for the denigration of our bodies. We have divided our spirits with strangers. We have divided our minds by making judgements that it is fine to pay women for sexual abuse, and conversely, to accept sexual abuse in exchange for cash. Forgive us these misbeliefs that do not honor ourselves, others, or You. As Your child shown mercy for his own lust, I disinvite the misogyny and misandry welcomed into Minneapolis during Mayor Ames era, and invite Your Spirit to free us to accept ourselves as men and women, and so become able to love the other gender in the present and future.

Lord, we are also party to another form of misplaced affection; the love of money.
Gambling is the expectation of reward apart from work.*** In it, we participate in the self-injurious behaviors of excitement addiction and greed. Work informs our character with persistence, delayed gratification, and the reward that we produce or are part of a team that gives something of worth to society. We stunt our own growth by believing we should get something for nothing.

Mayor Ames opened our city to this form of greed. Will You forgive those who have loved reward apart from work both past and present? As Your son who has been shown mercy for his own hatred of work, I disinvite gambling from the city of Minneapolis. I invite Your Spirit into our labor. Let us receive the gifts of character in store for us! Let us be glad in how our work gives and serves and benefits others! Let the innovations of our work in Minnesota bring a better life to all humanity, and be a reflection of Your Mind and Muscle! Will You be our unfailing Justice?

*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!
**http://biblehub.net/search.php?q=jeremiah+29%3A7
***How does gambling affects the brain? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933850/
****An excellent article by Iric Nathanson about the man who brought Ames down; Mr. Lincoln Steffens. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2013/12/goodwin-s-bully-pulpit-spotlights-shame-minneapolis

 

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19th Century, 20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, Logging, Men, Minnesota

Lumbering Maximum 1900

Unknown

At the height of the lumbering era, 40,000 lumberjacks are cutting timber in the north woods. Minneapolis is the sawmill capital of the world, cutting enough lumber to fill 65,000 freight cars. But Minnesota is running out of pine; within twenty years the lumber industry will be dead in Minneapolis.*

This interesting oral history by Jim and Bernard Pearson describes the day-to-day lives of the men logging in Northern Minnesota during this era.

“The Pearsons showed their audience old tools of the logging camps.  There was the pickaroon the camp blacksmith made from a worn-out ax which was used to pull logs by hand.  There was also a grub hoe for removing brush by hand, a broad as to square up logs for building log structures, a cant hook for turning logs, and a come-a-long for lifting logs by hand.

The cutting of the logs was done in the winter when sleds could be used to pull the logs from the woods to a river to float them downstream to a sawmill in the spring when the water ran fast.

Loggers didn’t rely just on the frozen ground to sled out the logs, according to the Pearsons, but constructed troughs of ice for the runners.  The troughs were made by hooking a plow to the side of a sled to make troughs in the snow in which water was poured to form ice.  These troughs had to be continuously built up throughout the winter, the Pearsons said.
The Pearsons also talked about the care of horses, which were vital to the logging.  Jim told how some of the loggers would carry a ballpeen hammer to tap snow out of horseshoes.

“My uncle especially loved animals, and his horses were very big,” Jim recalled.  “If any teamster (driver) mistreated his horses, they went down the road (were fired) so fast they didn’t now what happened.”

(Jim) described the lumberjacks as hard working and very honest individuals, who had always given their best.

But Bernard, during the interview last week, also portrayed some of the lumberjacks and logging camp operators as not so honest.

Bernard said, for example, that in the worst camps, the operator would hire someone to gather up workers for the winter season that included dropping a knock-out pill into a man’s drink in a saloon.  “The next thing the man would know he was in a logging camp way up north,” said Bernard.  “There were rascals on both sides.” “

Stottrup, Joel. “Logging White Pine.” Princeton Union-Eagle, May 1993. Web. 20 June 2013. <http://www.baldwintownship.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC%7BB61F42FB-82B1-4356-B678-16C2642C1ED2%7D&gt;

Father, a lot of time and thought has gone into recording the history of the wealthy and powerful “lumber barons”, but it seems not much is known about the men who actually did the work. Will You guide the author into the stream of Your thoughts on the subject? Will You give us a new frame of reference for these Minnesota loggers, and the effect of this massive harvest of trees?

As for the workers, the physicality of their respective jobs inspires awe: cutting huge trees down by saw or axe, squaring logs by hand, loading them on sleds, and moving them to the river. Once at the river, prepped logs were managed on their journey south by the “river pigs”. These were crews of men men who were responsible to float the logs to their proper destination at a plethora of sawmills.

As with many things, logging seems simple in principle, but requires incredible endurance, skill, and risk in practice. Eternal Father, will You honor those who poured their soul into this labor? Will You remember their broken blisters, and aching backs? Will You remember those who took joy in working outside, all day, in the numbing cold?
Will You bless them and their inheritance from this era, to the present, and on to the future?

Another thought, men often feel validated in their masculinity by performing an epic task together. They sail into the unknown, each man privately harboring reservations, but going beyond those self-imposed limitations by the strength that comes when men are part of a team. Lord, thank You for past loggers’ example of this teamwork. Will You strengthen the bonds of men, and forgive us for emasculating our brothers? In the present, we may sit in judgement of these people for their contribution to exhausting magnificent forests through clear-cutting. “What were they thinking? Didn’t they know they were acting like shock troops executing millions of innocents? Why would you kill mother earth over a job?” However, we have the historical vantage point of witnessing that natural resources can be used up, and that human interaction with the environment may yield unseen and unintended consequences.

As a witness to such present attitudes, the author wishes to address with You our use of the term “exploitation” as it applies to past Minnesota logging. Will You forgive us the casual use of this label? Will You forgive us if we unfairly apply present environmental and economic standards on our forbearers? Will You forgive our common humanity in Minnesota of viewing Your forests, that You graciously allow us rights of temporary stewardship, as “our forests” or “our property”? We do not often think of property rights as a continuum of which we are a temporary subset.

Truly, we all are parties in “exploiting” Your forests! We breathe air daily! We live in houses of wood. We write with pencils of wood on paper of cellulose. We use toilet paper, and simultaneously write graffiti on the walls criticizing the “exploiters” of the environment! We apply standards to others that we do not apply to ourselves! We fail to see the log in our own eye, and browbeat others about the speck of sawdust in theirs!

Furthermore, contemporary history does not often enter the mindset of these predecessors. Perhaps in their age, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people exercised a different logic than ours. They had a much stronger sense of agriculture than those who buy 2×4’s at the lumberyard, or food from a grocery store. If they wanted food, they had to plant it, tend it, and harvest it.

When their corn reached fruition, they harvested it, and took everything. When they saw forests full of mature trees, they brought in the harvest. Is it possible that they trusted that such a generous yield would surely supply their generation?

In the life experience of most of these workmen, most commodities gathered locally were used locally. Is it possible that such workmen did not conceive of the national or international cravings for the White Pine of Minnesota? Were the men working in these logging camps aware that they tree they just felled was to become a floor joist in an English factory? If they were aware, did that make their labor change from “sustainable” to “exploitive”? Hear my questions, Lord, and forgive us all our attempted harvests without Sabbaths of Your forests!

*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, sports

Softball Invented in Minneapolis 1895

Unknown

Minneapolis fireman Lewis Rober invented outdoor softball in 1895. Called kitten ball by Rober, who hand-made the leather balls himself. Rober was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1996.*

What is significant about the invention of this game? What makes challenging another to a team sport appealing? Is it simply about getting some exercise? Jesus, guide my thoughts and heart this day. Help me bless and confess what may stem from the invention of kittenball.

Thank you for Lewis Rober, and his desire to organize a fun activity for his firemen. Waiting is fatiguing enough, let alone waiting for events that may involve risking one’s life. By inventing a kitten ball, bigger and softer than a baseball, he made a wonderful sport that occupied his firefighters, gave them exercise, and perhaps most importantly, took their minds off the incessant waiting for danger! Will You bless the heritage of Lewis Rober, of all who have, are, or will play the game he loved so much?

Next, it seems important to meditate on the nature of competitive sport. A challenge can be a fun test or a fight without weapons, therefore testing the character and heart of the players. Frequently, children are told to “be a good sport” in their games by parents who are quite inconsistent in modeling that same.

So, our kids go through this mental wrestling match: wanting the glory of winning vs. contentment in a game well-played. We see the benefit of them facing “fight or flight” challenges as a means of conditioning them for life’s tests, and building endurance and tenacity in adversity. We teach them to choose their attitude with phrases like, “it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”

Yet, we often fail to see these same benefits on a cosmic scale. So often we judge Your character, and wonder: “Why would a Father send his son to die? Why would a G-d of love allow this natural disaster? Why do the rich fleece the poor, generation after generation? Why does an all-powerful being allow hunger, genocide, terrorism, and war?” It seems consistent with the theme that good parents sometimes allow their kids to experience the effects of the “bad sports”, without intervention, even though they have the ability to spare them.

It may seem like a jump, to go from kitten ball to genocide, but You are are the King of Quantum Leaps. You are before time, in time, and beyond time. You observed the exact moment, the exact decision, that led a benevolent ruler’s heart from leading all the people to choosing the tyranny that exists beyond the law. Yet, many times You have chosen not to intervene.

Why? Why should we be faced over and over throughout the span of time with the decision to hate our enemy, or love our enemy? Do You want us to shake hands with evil and say “Good game”? You box us in and force us to choose: “What will it be today, forgiveness or bitterness? What world do you want to create? Do you want to be a microcosm of division, or unity?”

Have mercy Lord! If we still haven’t learned to play softball, what will we do in the face of hardball! There is so little love in us for those that offend, disgrace, and injure us in small ways. What will we do in the face of the atrocities of this age? Give us enough love for this day! Give us grace that overcomes our opponent with a game well-played! Will You make us firefighters in our field today?

*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!

** Take a peek at the birthplace of kittenball; the Minneapolis Fire Department? http://www.extraalarm.org/ltrober.htm

***Fire Station No. 19 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Station_No._19_(Minneapolis,_Minnesota)

 

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