Feb. 8, 1898: Buggy rage flares on Portland Avenue
February 9, 2011 — 5:43pm
Four men – first one pair, then another – stepped out of their carriages one Sunday morning and, without a word, began whipping each other on Portland Avenue near 15th Street. The Minneapolis Tribune gave readers a blow-by-blow account of what might be the first reported incident of road rage in Minnesota.
WAS FULL OF MYSTERY
Men and Dogs Fall Out and Chide and Fight, Creating a Diversion and Disturbing the Peace of the Sabbath on Portland Avenue.
The peace and quiet of Portland avenue was ruthlessly disturbed Sunday morning. Two whip fights and a dog fight occurred on that ordinarily well behaved thoroughfare. It all happened so suddenly that the residents did not have time to find out the cause of the principals, and they have nothing but the recollection of the affair. It will, however, serve as a topic for neighborly gossip, and much speculation will be indulged in.
Just about the time the churches were letting out, two men in carriages approached one another from opposite directions. They met near Fifteenth street. Without a word they stopped their swiftly speeding horses, jumped out, grabbed their buggy whips and fought a furious round for about two minutes. Blows fell with lightning rapidity. Not a word was spoken, but standing about six feet apart they roundly slashed and struck at one another.
The old saying “like master, like man” was never more true than in this case. Each of the men was accompanied by a dog. One was a small bull-terrier. The other was a large dark brown St. Bernard. When they saw their masters having it out, they took a turn at fighting and chewed and bit each other until the big fellow obtained a good grip on the terrier’s throat. Then it tried to sweep the streets with its adversary.
In the meantime the owner of the big dog had had his whip torn from his hand, and to save himself went into the fight at close quarters. He grabbed the other man by the shoulders, pushed him into the snow, and was showering bitter blows on the under man when bystanders took a hand.
As the fight was at its height, two more men drove up and went through the same operation. They took out their buggy whips and slashed each other across the face. However, their fight was tame compared to the first one.
Although the affair only lasted about two minutes, it gave a few bystanders a chance to congregate. When the four men had been separated, it was found that the dogs were still at it, and it required several good hard kicks to subdue the animals. Then without a word of explanation the men got into their buggies and drove away. What the cause of the feud was, or who the men were, is still a mystery to the few who witnessed it. The men had stylish turnouts and were well dressed and good looking.
Here's what a horse and carriage looked like in 1898. According to the Minnesota Historical Society's caption, this "stylish turnout" was parked at George Daggett's magnificent Eldor Court, 40 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis. The horse barn and servants' quarters, perhaps? (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)
Sample Minnesota newspaper articles, photos and ads dating back more than 140 years. Fresh items are posted weekly. Go here for tips on how to track down old newspaper articles on your own. Follow the blog on Twitter. Or check out "Minnesota Mysteries," a new book based on the blog.
Email your questions or suggestions to Ben Welter.
The Minnesota State Fair has featured many unusual attractions in its 150-year history: death-defying aerial acts, colliding locomotives, freak shows, live animal births, the Minnesota Iceman and premature babies in incubators. Wait … what? The Minneapolis Morning Tribune was there:
"We're more popular than Jesus now," John Lennon told an British journalist in 1966. A year later, the Monkees' Mike Nesmith, in the Twin Cities for a show at the St. Paul Auditorium, humbly explained his band's place in the cosmic pecking order.
A musically inclined vagrant known as Banjo Ben walked the streets of Minneapolis in the city's early days. His weakness for alcohol and penchant for strong language landed him in court with some frequency. In February 1876, for example, he was sentenced to 20 days in jail for spewing obscenities at the St. Paul and Pacific depot. Later that year, he walked into the Tribune newsroom and issued an invitation to witness a spectacular feat at the new suspension bridge under construction nearby.
Donald Trump confronted head-on allegations that he is racist on Thursday, defending his hard-line approach to immigration while trying to make the case to minority voters that Democrats have abandoned them.
Former President Bill Clinton says he's proud of people who have donated to the Clinton Foundation and the work the organization has done, as he waded into a dispute that Republicans are hoping will damage his wife's presidential campaign.
“It was something I really thought about and ultimately I just decided against it,” running back Adrian Peterson said after Thursday’s practice, putting to rest any speculation he might see preseason action for the first time since 2013.