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Jan. 2, 1913: Detective stakes out church, nabs thief

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History, Crime Updated: January 2, 2014 - 8:22 PM
 
Some mighty fine police work by a Minneapolis detective, as reported in the Tribune:
 

Detective Hides in Church
To Arrest Poor Box Thief

 
Woman Suspect Caught in St. Anthony of Padua after Three-day Vigil.
 
Tells Police Matron She Was Poor and Had Right to the Money.
 

For three days Detective Wilson of the East Side Police station lay on a church pew in the gallery of the church of St. Anthony of Padua, Eighth avenue and Main street southeast, peeking between two prayer books he had braced against a pew in front of him.

 
 
  St. Anthony of Padua Church in about 1900. The towers were removed during a renovation in the late 1940s. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)

Yesterday afternoon, after a score or more of worshipers in the church had left, a woman entered and went to the middle of the church. She lighted a candle, took off her shoes and tiptoed to the back of the church. Wilson and the sexton, who was keeping watch with the detective, said they saw her take a key from her pocketbook, unlock the box for contributions to the poor, take out the money and start back to get her shoes.

 

Wilson and the sexton hurried downstairs and arrested her as she was putting on her shoes. She had $1.44, which, they said, she had taken from the box. She gave her name as Alice Eastman. She lived in the University apartments, Fifteenth avenue and Fourth street southeast.

 
Said She Had Right to Money.
 

She told the police matron that she was poor and thought she had a right to the money in the box. This is the third time she has been arrested. Three years ago she was convicted of having broken into a desk in the First Baptist church. She was sent to the House of the Good Shepherd.

 

According to the police she was employed in the office of the board of education, marking examination papers of teachers. The rector of St. Anthony church reported to Captain Quealey that money had been missing from the poor box for several weeks.

 

Aug. 22, 1909: Eat pie for breakfast

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: January 1, 2014 - 3:35 PM
 
A capital ideal for the new year: Give those gastric glands a big job every morning! Eat pie! From the Minneapolis Tribune:
 

Pie for Breakfast Urged

 
Physicians Applaud Doctor Who Urges Giving Gastric Glands Big Job Early in the Day.
 
Chicago, Aug. 22. – (Special.) – Attention, dyspeptics! If you seek relief and long for the culinary propensities enjoyed by your epicure neighbors, eat large chunks of juicy pie for breakfast.
 
This cure was prescribed by Dr. Charles McCormick before the third annual convention of the Association of Independent Doctors. The suggestion was applauded by delegates.
 
Dr. McCormick attacked the teaching of the “regular” medical profession, scored the use of drugs, and thus led up to the subject of that pastry made famous by the New England housewife.
 
“Eat pie, eat all you want of it, and eat it for breakfast if you would have a good stomach,” he directed. “Let the gastric glands begin their day’s work with a good big job and you will feel the better for it. Throw away breakfast foods, for they kill more people in one year than does all the alcohol that was ever manufactured into whisky. Those who seek health must get the right food combination, and in pointing out the combination medical science is about 400 years behind the times. I say again eat plenty of pie! It will cure your dyspepsia!”
 

Dec. 30, 1910: Gifts sent to wrong house, and love blooms

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: December 28, 2013 - 6:25 PM
 
The reader-inspired Good Fellows program, which filled thousands of Christmas stockings in its first year, also resulted in at least one proposal of marriage. The Minneapolis Tribune explained:
 

Mistake of Good Fellows
Aids Romance of Cupid

 
Wrong Family on Flats Gets Christmas Gift and Courtship Begins.
 
Pretty Young Anna Peplosky Weds Janek Moravicz After Short Wooing.
 
Presents distributed by the Good Fellows [on] Christmas eve on the river flats were Cupid’s instruments in leading Janek Moravicz and Anna Peplosky to the marriage license clerk and later to the altar.
 
Confused by the darkness and the lack of house numbers, the Good Fellows’ agent delivered some Christmas packages at the Moravicz home, when they should have gone to the Peploskys’, across the street. The Peploskys were newcomers on the flats, having come to the United States only a few months ago and moved into the home on the flats but three days before. Not a soul there knew them, although they had been discussed among the old-time residents.
 
Hardly had the Good Fellows’ wagon gone, when Janek  noticed the card on the package bearing the name and address of the family for whom it was intended. “Peplosky,” he read. “Father,” he said, “it must be for the new family. I shall go over and see.”
 
When the door opened in answer to his knock, he was confronted by a dark-eyed, dark-haired girl of 20 years. Janek stammered, explained his errand, delivered the packages and started to turn away.
 
“Oh, thank you. But you can’t go without a cup of tea and a poppy-seed biscuit on Christmas eve,” said Anna. And she took Janek into the house, introduced him to her parents, and he stayed for more than one cup of tea.
 
Each evening thereafter found Janek at the Peplosky home. Anna liked his visits, and when he proposed the trip to the court house for the marriage license Anna consented. And her parents had no objection, for Janek was [the] driver of a brewery wagon and earning a good living.
 
 
Bohemian Flats, a flood-prone neighborhood on the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis, in 1894. (Hennepin County Library)

Dec. 21, 1981: Met Stadium's violent goodbye

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History, Crime, Sports Updated: December 27, 2013 - 1:43 PM
 
In a column given prominent play on the front page of the Minneapolis Tribune, Joe Soucheray captured the hooliganism that took hold after the Vikings' final game at Met Stadium on Dec. 20, 1981. What inspired the madness that afternoon? A few days before the game, Minneapolis Star columnist Jim Klobuchar interviewed the team's ticket manager, Harry Randolph, about crowd control for Sunday’s game. This quote attributed to Randolph suggested the Vikings were taking a hands-off approach to souvenir hunters:

“All we want to do is to hold down the self-inflicted injuries to minor concussions and treatable fractures. If they are going to carry off their seats, we prefer handsaws to the standard Black & Decker ripsaws in the commercials. If they are going after the goal posts, we suggest they come wearing helmets and hard-toe boots.”

Klobuchar’s column drew complaints from the team, which disputed the quote and said it had to hire extra security for the game. By Tuesday, the Star acknowledged the humorous quote was a fabrication and Klobuchar was suspended for two weeks without pay. But the damage, whatever the proximate cause, was done. Here was Soucheray’s take on Met Stadium's messy final act:
 

Destructive fans bid violent adieu to Metropolitan Stadium

 
Metropolitan Stadium officially expired at 3:10 p.m. Sunday. By then, hooligans had scaled the northern wall of the big red and blue scoreboard, yanking so many wires and popping so many bulbs that the clock stopped dead in its track. It was frozen at 3:10 and will be forever.
 
A great deal of Metropolitan Stadium was destroyed yesterday by thousands of people who never displayed any similar enthusiasm for the games that were played there. And the racket made by those souls who ripped out their own memories of the ball park that has been condemned was louder than any cheer issued for the Vikings yesterday.
 
 
  The trouble begins: Fans in the center-field bleachers hauled down the American flag in the fourth quarter. (Star Tribune photo)
The Vikings went out losers, 10-6 to the Kansas City Chiefs, failing to achieve the milestone of a 10th victory in the only home they have ever known, a home that began to fall down around them in the game's final seconds. And afterward a terrible rending took place, the stomping of thousands of boot heels on chairs, the cracking of wood, pounding and tearing and pulling.
 
The Vikings had promised an increased security force for yesterday's game, but you knew there was a hole in this plan when a man in an extremely obvious gorilla suit waltzed by the enforcers and onto the field with five minutes still to play. It was about then that seats began to disappear from their moorings in the right-field bleachers, whole sections of plank were lifted out and passed down the row.
 
And at the final gun thousands of people stormed the field. The goal posts came down first, on both ends of the field. Set upon and devoured, components of the goal posts were then paraded around the turf as the thieves wondered what in the world to do with such bounty. Or what to do with the iron railings that were worked on by gangs who bent them this way and that until they broke? Or what to do with toilet seats or trash barrels?
 
The field itself was attacked, but it is virtually impossible for even the foulest perpetrator to tear frozen sod from the earth. No one was bold enough to bring a jackhammer into the stadium. Smaller instruments of destruction included wrenches and industrial strength wire cutters.
 
Vikings authorities who witnessed the Met's last act were reluctant to place a dollar value on removed seats. But it became clear that what perhaps began as an act of sentiment turned into random acts of destruction. The scoreboard, for example, was scaled by a hundred or so fools for no apparent purpose other than to destroy the thing. Scoreboard lightbulbs were popped. Lettering was ripped out and thrown to the ground. Speakers atop the scoreboard were yanked out and dropped to the ground.
 
“There is certain sentiment in trying to take a seat home,” the ticket manager of the Vikings, Harry Randolph, said yesterday as he watched the destruction from the press box. “But people climbing the scoreboard are sick. They endanger themselves.”
 
“There must be more destruction than you anticipated,” somebody said.
 
“Our main concern was that people didn't hurt each other,” Randolph said.
 
It did not seem possible that long-standing season ticket holders led yesterday's chase to ruin. Over the past couple of seasons, the Viking crowds have become as dull as the Vikings, and yesterday's game might have been the dullest ever played at the old ball park. Randolph said nearly 4,000 tickets are sold for each game on an individual basis, tickets that might attract a “transient” crowd. And other customers could have sold their season tickets to yesterday's game, perhaps anticipating cold weather. But Randolph did not dare venture a demographical profile of those customers who went slightly mad for about an hour after the conclusion of yesterday's game.
 
As usual, the entertainment proceeded at its own crawling pace, with only scarce clues as to what would follow. Patrons in center field bleachers did haul down the American flag and cut loose its halyards in the fourth quarter. And the St. Louis Park Parkettes wisely vacated the premises earlier than they ever have, to preserve their 21-year virtue, not to mention hide and hair.
 
But no one could really have anticipated the mob reaction that followed. By comparison, the crowd after the last Twins game at the Met conducted itself as though on a tour of the Louvre.
 
By dusk yesterday, the Met was empty of all creatures. The field remained uncovered in the sleet that began to fall. In the failing light, some merciful electrician pulled the plug on the scoreboard. Those bulbs not destroyed flickered and went out.
 
The Met is closed.
 
 
Minnesota nice: One Vikings fan brought a sign to show his displeasure with the stadium's demise. (Star Tribune photo)
 
The oh-so-frozen tundra: The sun set on Metropolitan Stadium and its snow-covered parking lot in 1981. (Star Tribune photo)

Dec. 6, 1910: Good Fellows fill thousands of Christmas stockings

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: December 20, 2013 - 1:42 PM
 
It was a wonderful suggestion from a big-hearted reader, and the newspaper jumped on it with enthusiasm: Find impoverished children in need of Christmas cheer and match them with generous citizens who want to play Santa Claus. One element of the program, however, will seem irresponsible to modern readers. The Tribune provided each “Good Fellow” a list of the names, ages and addresses of children needing help. The Good Fellows then delivered gifts to those mostly-fatherless households. Call me cynical, but I’m not sure all the Good Fellows would have cleared a criminal background check. Still, the program appears to have worked splendidly, showering thousands of needy children with presents over the next five years. Then, in 1915, the Good Fellows program was gone, with no explanation given.

Here is the reader letter that started it all:

To the “Good Fellows” of Minneapolis
 
Last Christmas and New Year’s eve you and I went out for a good time and spent from $10 to $200. Last Christmas morning over 1,000 children awoke to an empty stocking, the bitter pain of disappointment that Santa Claus had forgotten them. Perhaps it wasn’t our fault. We had provided for our own; we had also reflected in a passing way on those less fortunate than our own, but they seemed far off and we didn’t know where to find them. Perhaps in the hundred and one things we had to do some of us didn’t think of that heart sorrow of the child over the empty stocking.
 
Now, old man, here is a chance. I have tried it for several years and ask you to consider it. Just send your name and address to The Tribune – address Santa Claus – state about how many children you are willing to protect against grief over that empty stocking, inclose a two-cent stamp and you will be furnished with the names, addresses, sex, and age of that many children. It is then up to you, you do the rest. Select your own presents, spend 50 cents or $50, and send or take your gifts to those children on Christmas eve. You pay not a cent more than you want to pay – every cent goes just were you want it to go. You gain neither notoriety nor advertising; you deal with no organization; no record will be kept; your letter will be returned to you with its answer. The whole plan is just as anonymous as old Santa Claus himself.
 
This is not a newspaper scheme. The Tribune was asked to aid in reaching the good fellows by publishing this suggestion and to receive your communication in order that you may be assured of good faith and to preserve the anonymous character of this work. The identity of the writer of this appeal will not be disclosed. He assumes the responsibility of finding the children and sending you their names and guarantees that whatever you bestow will be deserved.
 
Neither you nor I get anything out of this, except the feeling that you have saved some child from sorrow on Christmas morning. If that is not enough for you then you have wasted time in reading this – it is not intended for you, but for the good fellows of Minneapolis.
 
Perhaps a twenty-five cent doll or a ten cent tin toy wouldn’t mean much to the children you know, but to the child who would find them in the otherwise empty stocking they mean much – the difference between utter disappointment and the joy that Santa Claus did not forget them. Here is where you and I get in. The charitable organization attends to the bread and meat; the clothes; the necessaries; you and the rest of the good fellow furnish the toys, the nuts, the candies; the child’s real Christmas.
 
- A Good Fellow
 
The Tribune has investigated the “good fellow” who wrote the above, has looked him in the eye and put its O.K. on the plan. The reporter who saw him wrote: “He made me feel, personally, that it would be really worthwhile in satisfaction to carry a little happiness to some children who otherwise wouldn’t get any on Christmas eve.” The writer is not a professional philanthropist. He has taken care of from fifteen to twenty children a year in Minneapolis. He said that last Christmas day he wished he had curtailed his holiday joy-making with the good fellows even more than he did, so that he might have had more money to gladden childish hearts.
 
The Worthy Grand Master of the lodge of Good Fellows has laid his plans for securing names through school teachers, investigators of various organizations who work in poverty stricken districts and others who come in contact with those whom we always have with us. Lists of worthy cases will be welcomed from such organizations as the Visiting Nurses’ association, the Associated Charities, Humane society, and churches of all denominations. These lists should be verified and certified to by the officers of the organizations submitting them and should be arranged by wards and divisions of the city.
 
This is how you can join the lodge of Good Fellows. Write a letter to “Santa Claus,” care of The Tribune, something like this:
 
I live at N. ----- street. I will be Santa Claus to six children. – John Jones.
 
The letter will go to Santa Claus. He will indorse on your letter the names and addresses of six children. This letter will be remailed to you. Then you get busy. That’s all. Come in, good fellows.
 
God bless us, every one: On Dec. 24, 1910, this marvelous illustration appeared on the Minneapolis Tribune's editorial page, celebrating the success of the first Good Fellows program. More than 2,500 needy children received gifts distributed by 554 generous souls.

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