20th Century, Architecture, Economics, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, Unemployment

Unemployment and the Gateway District

jshiffer_1323895792_vachongateway

1930 to 1935
In the depth of the Great Depression, unemployed transients loiter in the Gateway district of downtown Minneapolis.*

Many great cities are renowned for their entrances: Paris has the Arc d’ Triumph, India has the Buland Darwaza, and Jerusalem has the Golden Gate (Sha’ar HaRachamim). Minneapolis wanted to create a beautiful structure to welcome visitors into Minneapolis as they came from the train station. In 1915, the city built a gateway pavilion, flanked by curving colonades, that surrounded a Civil War memorial fountain and flagpole and pathway. Known as Gateway Park, the surrounding area adopted the title of the Gateway District.**The Gateway District of Minneapolis was centered at the convergence of Hennepin Avenue, Nicollet Avenue, and Washington Avenue.***

So, how did this this transition from fabulous to flophouse happen in the next two decades? Author David L. Rosheim did extensive research into the decay of this neighborhood in his book; “The Other Minneapolis or The Rise and Fall of the Gateway, The Old Minneapolis Skid Row”.****

“According to Rosheim, as unemployment rose, so did the hobo population. A new demographic of this drifter population was youth, driven away from home by poverty, or perhaps in pursuit of better opportunities.

Public relief rose drastically during this period. In 1930, an estimated $215,000 was spent on Minneapolis Poor Relief. Charities such as the Union City Mission continued to serve free meals if the visitor listened to a sermon. The Minneapolis City Council raised funds through bond issues to begin construction on public projects, in hopes of making a dent in the massive unemployment rate.” ***

What can be said about poverty that has not been said? What were the judgments of these primarily male vagabonds against Minneapolis, society, and themselves? What cultural transference resulted from the relationships in the Gateway District?

Will You bless both those who wish to beautify the public spaces of the city, and those who wish to make use of those places? Will You forgive the judgments of those who took too much pride in the sanctity of this park, and the judgments of those who take too little pride in themselves or their public conduct? We have failed You on both ends to see the message brought by those who have different motives than ours. Have mercy.

Will You forgive, where it applies, the pridefulness of the alcoholics, and addicts of this era? We are guilty of trying to solve our problems on our own, and have rejected the help that comes from being open to new relationships because we would rather hold onto our pain. When and where Minneapolitans have suffered foolishly rather than accepting kind and useful input into our bad choices; have mercy!

Will You forgive both the misogyny and misandry of the sex trafficking of this era? We have sexualized the need for touch, and have rejected true affection. We have chosen either to take money to submit to abuse, or pay money to be the abuser.

We have judged the opposite sex falsely in the transaction of prostitution. Our men have wanted women for sex, but not considered them worthy of relationship. Our women have viewed men as incapable of love, so they might as well be an open wallet. Will You forgive the sexual sins that result in sex trafficking then, now and future?

Will You forgive the shame of these men for being poor and alone? The Great Depression was so very costly to many, and its pain lives in the false self assessment that we are what we do and own. Will You lift this pain and shame up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ?

Will You forgive “functional” society its judgments of these men, and this District? Many of us live under the premise; “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” This maxim recognizes the benefits of mutually beneficial relationships. But what is one to do when those relationships are gone, and basic trust of society is broken? Have mercy on our judgments of Your broken sons and daughters of the Great Depression, their children, and their grandchildren.
Will You forgive the “dysfunctional” portion of society its judgments of those outside the Gateway? A criminal or debaucherous subculture often makes a mockery of the culture of innocence and lawfulness. Will You forgive any defiance that took place in the geography of the Gateway District against the laws of Minnesota, and more importantly, the laws of the Only Just One?

We ask Your blessing on Minneapolis, the former grounds of Gateway Park, and the Gateway District to replace the curses we’ve sown. Will You bless those in our state experiencing poverty of mind, body, spirit, and property to turn to You for help? Will You grant the spirit of gratitude to replace the spirit of entitlement? Will You help givers to be humble? Will You help those receiving charity to give respect and honor due to those who give freely? We invite You to be the Gatekeeper of Minneapolis!

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:4-9 NIV*****

* 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!
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_District_(Minneapolis)
*** http://www.placeography.org/index.php/Gateway_District
**** Rosheim, David L. The Other Minneapolis or The Rise and Fall of the Gateway, The Old Minneapolis Skid Row. Maquoketa, IA: The Andromeda Press, 1978.
***** http://biblehub.com/context/proverbs/31-3.htm

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20th Century, Christian, Girls, History, Minnesota, women

Camp Fire Girls and World War I

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1917
The Camp Fire Girls of Minnesota, as led by Ruth Dale, participate in war relief efforts at the behest of the American Red Cross and the Minnesota Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Our correspondence matters to history! Below are two letters of women leading girls to participate in our society in a practical and meaningful way. These associations of women and girls reveal a wonderful example of their civic mindedness and actions.

“Dear Mrs. Lowry-
I wish to get a small club of Camp Fire Girls at work for Red Cross. I was wondering if they could not hem towels. I want them to work at something they can do & have it accepted. Will you please tell me what the material costs per doz. towels & where it can be gotten. Some where I heard, maybe in your lecture in St. Paul, before Public Safety Com that funny sayings & pictures pasted on paper and sent in to hospitals for soldiers was requested. if this is true, will you tell me the size of sheets required for pasting the scraps on. These girls could do this, they are too young to attempt much. […] A club of women here want to get at some of the work at once. What do you say to them beginning with sheets & pillow slips? […]
Sincerely,
Mrs. F.C. Corell
Big Falls
Minn”
http://www.mnhs.org/blog/collectionsupclose/8786

“13 April 1917
Minneapolis, Minn.

Miss Ruth Dale,
Roseville, Minn.

My dear Miss Dale:
Thank you so much for your kind offer of assistance. We have no pamphlets or government bulletins for distribution, but we are instructing classes in the art of bandage making, etc., at our headquarters in Minneapolis. This course consists of 8 lessons after which the pupil passes an examination and receives a certificate. These skilled workers are empowered to supervise work of others. I would suggest that you send one or two representatives of the Camp Fire girls to take this course.
In reply to your inquiry regarding materials, we prefer to have you raise the money for the same and let us buy since we can purchase in larger quantities and to better advantage.
Yours very truly,
Secretary.”
http://www.mnhs.org/blog/collectionsupclose/8101

“Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” Mark 9:41 NIV*

Lord, today we thank You for the actions of our foremothers! Will You bless Ruth Dale and all her heritage through the Camp Fire organization? Will You bless F.C. Corell and her generations of leadership in the Minnesota Federation of Women’s Clubs? We also remember and bless the unnamed secretary of the American Red Cross. Will You give honor to those anonymous contributors to the betterment of our State: past, present, and future?

Will You give the girls of Minnesota a sense of their value to each other, society, and to their Creator in perpetuity? Forgive us where we have not honored the leadership of women, and have stubbornly closed our ears to Your voice spoken through them? Will You guide our State in maleness and femaleness of Your image? Amen!

*http://biblehub.com/mark/9-41.htm
Learn more about the founding of the Camp Fire girls from these excellent sources.
**http://alicemariebeard.com/campfire/history.htm
***https://campfiremn.org/index.html

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