“Mexican-Americans in St. Paul form the Anahuac Society. The organization sponsors social events and encourages participation in community affairs and the celebration of traditional Mexican holidays.” *
Anahuac means “near the water” in Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language spoken in Tenochtitlan, Mexico, so it is no surprise that it be transferred onto a home with many waters like Minnesota.** The Anáhuac Society established in Saint Paul was meant to provide a solid foundation for Latinos to survive in a new environment, as well as an institutional basis for organizing.*** Anahuac is also a small town in Texas which claims “the first armed confrontation between Anglo-Texans and Mexican troops, on June 10-12, 1832.”***
Some of Saint Paul’s first Latinos likely were driven north during this era due to the unrest of the Mexican Revolution or Revolución Mexicana. The corruption of the Diaz administration was challenged by Madero and Pancho Villa. Mexicans who fled this conflict found work first in the sugar beet industry of Minnesota.
Let’s observe with You, Lord, and see where this prayer leads. We see a people displaced by war or revolt seeking a new way of life. We see a bold quest for freedom in spite of the rigors of farm labor.
Will You forgive the judgments made between groups during the Mexican Revolution, and their transference through these pioneers to Minnesota? All immigrants to Minnesota have carried our historical baggage here. We have viewed our neighbors and government through the lens of both our beliefs and misbeliefs shaped by the pains and experiences of our countries of origin. We give You our dirty glasses this day Lord, will You give us new eyes for those around us who have also overcome to reside in this place?
Will You remember the hearts of these new arrivals, and their commitment to stay and build community? Will You bless their progeny to see their wisdom? Will You bless those who have chosen to live here humbly in peace, even rather than be warriors in their homeland?
Will You bless the contributions of Latinos to our state, especially through generations of untiring work in agriculture? Will You remove the present day judgments of those who work with their hands in the field? Will You show us new solutions to the problems of guest workers and illegal immigrants?
We are drowning in judgment over the plight of guest workers and illegal immigrants in the present tense. We have refused, to often, to even hear the thoughts of our neighbor on the subject. Our Democratic friends have judged their Republican next door to be: racist, haters of brown people, and living in a bubble of white privilege. Our Republican friends may believe in the human rights of illegals, but that civil rights are belong only to citizens. They have judged their Democratic friends of being incapable of rationality, over emotional, and false accusers of those who love our laws and hate lawlessness.
In any case, will You forgive us whether we are those who judge, or those who counter-judge our neighbor in Minnesota? We invite You to be our Judge and Justice for all Minnesotans. Will You make a place that is lawful and just for all nations who love Your laws of grace and truth?
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” **** Proverbs 16:32
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!
**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
“German immigrant Frederick Weyerhaeuser, one of the most powerful men in American lumbering, moves his offices to St. Paul. Skilled at bringing competitors together in huge undertakings, he makes heavy investments in Minnesota timber and mills before moving on to the Pacific Northwest.” *
Lord, I believe every person makes an impact on the future. Therefore, every Minnesotan has made an impact this state and it’s consciousness. I am a bit awed by the impact Weyerhauser made on St. Paul and Minnesota!
I can imagine the moxie it took to set up the processing of all the logs that were floated down the Mississippi. Or to have the courage to sign a land deed to purchase 900,000 acres. That’s an astronomical responsibility.
When a man or woman is so dedicated and effective in their field, they cultivate both admirers and critics. Will You forgive St. Paul and all areas that Mr. Weyerhauser impacted of our judgments’ towards him? Will You also forgive any injustices committed by him, or his company towards Minnesotans? We, too often, love the ideal of success, but are fearful and jealous of the successful in practice. Forgive us this foible!
May You bless the heritage of Weyerhauser and all who partook in the logging industry on the Mississippi! May we learn from their mistakes, and have Your insights on how to better use our land, timber, and all wood by-products. Thank You for this precious resource!
“The Minnesota State Fair finds a permanent home in the Midway area of Saint Paul. (The 1885 fair was the 27th annual state fair.)” *
Lord, it does help to have more information when interceding; and most facets of life. Even with my limited research, I see a few things: 1. Establishing Fairgrounds was a priority by the city government of St. Paul, and the state government of Minnesota. 2. the Poor Farm and it’s people were clearly displaced. 3. There was a sense of rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul. 4. Care for the poor from the county, to the state, and to the Federal government.
To begin, I want to announce to the land formerly known as the Ramsey County Poor Farm the jubilee and blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank You for this example of caring for the the elderly and poor! I want to bless those generations attached to the Poor Farm whether as employees or residents, and ask that any bitterness on their part be forgiven and removed.
Lord, will You forgive our lack of relationship with those in need? Will You heal the rift over HOW we do charity, and WHAT it looks like? Each election, we still battle over WHO gets the credit for being charitable; the State or individuals!?! May this land that is now called the State Fairgrounds be a place where we iron out these differences! May we find Your way of blessing each other; rich to poor, in any state of health!
Also, will You forgive the political and business rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul? Will You set us free from the emotions of Alden Blethen? Jesus, will You make these “Twin Cities” live at peace with each other? Holy Spirit, will You inhabit this property now known as the State Fair and bring your life there? Will You dignify the poor and show them their potential to contribute for their loved ones and society, and most importantly, their eternal value to You?
More on how the poorhouse was transformed into the Minnesota State Fair:
March 1, 1881
“The first state capitol building burns. Three hundred people escape safely, but the building, including the law library, is a total loss. Luckily, most of the Minnesota Historical Society’s artifacts are rescued from the basement.” *
Thanks for the government of Minnesota, Lord. Thank you for the saved lives of the people on this day. May You rewrite any critical laws or ordinances that were lost this day on our hearts’, minds, and once again into law. Thanks that today Your mercy triumphs over judgment for the people of Minnesota!
*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 from the Star & Tribune account? http://www.startribune.com/march-1-1881-fire-destroys-the-state-capitol/117267958/