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.
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:
|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.|
As Minneapolis health commissioner in the early 1900s, Dr. P.M. Hall preached the “gospel of cleanliness” and worked to make the city a healthier place to live. He was a nationally recognized expert on municipal waste disposal and served as an officer of the American Public Health Association. In 1912, he began writing the “Health and Happiness” column for the Minneapolis Tribune. Over the next seven years, he answered thousands of reader-submitted questions related to “hygiene, sanitation and the prevention of disease.”
Here he addresses “errors in dressing” that can lead to the common cold – and worse.
Cold Weather Diseases.
DAILY HEALTH SUGGESTION
|These four women, stranded at Cedar Avenue and Lake Street during a Minneapolis transit strike in January 1938, were perhaps ventilating their lower extremities a bit too much. (Minneapolis Tribune photo)|
One hundred and twenty-five years ago, the Minneapolis Tribune offered early proof that the children of our state are above average. Meet Leonora, Birdie, Willis, Tootie and dozens of other up-and-coming youngsters of the Flour City.
The Pride of Minneapolis Mothers
In a bustling, growing city like Minneapolis it is not often that the little people can make themselves heard outside of their own homes. The unjustice of this has influenced the Tribune to present to its readers this morning 50 of the wee young ladies and gentlemen of the city, who will be heard from in later years. This galaxy of childish beauty will interest young and old alike. The Tribune regrets that no more space in this issue can be devoted to the introduction of Minneapolis youngsters to the public, as there are many more on the list just as handsome and as jolly as any that are here presented. The only thing that can be promised is that another page in an early issue will have to be devoted to them. And now for a glance at the little people who make their first public bow today.
The Tribune described 5-year-old Belle Stearn of 417 Second Av. N. as "a talented little lady." Click here for a photo gallery of all 34 children profiled by the newspaper.
That section of young America which lives in Minneapolis resembles its father and mother in some respects and differs from them in others. It differs from them, in the majority of instance, because it was born in the Flour City – a thing which comparatively few persons who have arrived at the dignity of a parent can truthfully say.
The child, however, whose picture is published today, is a native of this city in the majority of instances. The Minneapolis “kid” resembles its parents in that it has their life and activity and enterprise. The boy or girl gets as a birth right, that which the parent gained only when he had come to man’s estate, in some active part of the country and had migrated to Minneapolis and caught the spirit of the city. The spirit which leads the men of Minneapolis to build the largest mills, the tallest building, and shout the loudest for his city, leads the Minneapolis boy to indulge in jackstones at a most tender age, and the Minneapolis girl to rocker her doll’s cradle before she is hardly out of her own. The climate of Minneapolis agrees with the children. Health statistics show this no less than the ruddy faces that one sees on the streets. The bracing atmosphere gives them good lungs and keeps the proper color in their cheeks. The little folks are a big part of the population. The school statistics show this and all that is needed for ocular proof is the announcement of a street parade headed by a brass band. The youngsters are alive with enthusiasm for their city. They are irrepressible, active, enterprising and wide awake.
Everybody, of course, thinks their own is the best. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be the proper class of citizens for Minneapolis or for respectable society anywhere. It’s all right. Here are some of the scions of the families who will be leaders in the city when its population is 1,000,000.
On a friendly wager, a Minneapolis man set a blistering pace in the vertical portion of an unusual duathlon: an 8-mile run followed by a 75-foot chimney climb. From the Tribune:
|A photo illustration accompanied the story.|
Albert Williams, 3805 Thirtieth avenue south, is just as good a long distance runner and high climber as he said he was. He proved it yesterday.
Williams and his friend, Lewis Otterman, Tenth avenue and Third street north, were discussing various feats of strength and endurance. Williams told him of some of the things he had done. Otterman was inclined to scoff.
“I'll tell you what I'll do,” said Williams, “if you want to risk any money, I'll bet you $50 I can run from the St. Paul courthouse to the Milwaukee shops at Twenty-second street and Minnehaha avenue, climb that 75-foot smokestack there, walk twice around the top of it, and then come down.”
He Takes the Bet.
“It can't be done,” said Otterman, “but I'll take that fifty away from you. It will be easy money.”
Williams went to St. Paul yesterday. With him he took a professional running suit. He started from the courthouse with plenty of witnesses and he dog-trotted to Minneapolis with friends in an automobile seeing that he didn't do any backsliding.
He was pretty tired and hot when he got to the Milwaukee shops, but he shinnied right up that chimney. Near the top of the chimney it was tremendously hot, Williams found out. He walked around the top twice, but his legs and arms were badly blistered.
He got only about half-way down the chimney on the last and final feat when he fell, dazed by the heat. No bones were broken, shop employes and Williams' friends found, and he said himself he wasn't hurt.
Collapsed in Stationhouse.
To get his blistered legs and arms treated, he walked to Dr. J.K. Moen's office, 2620 East Lake street. His burns were attended, and then the doctor took him to the Sixth precinct police station. Williams collapsed there, and he was taken to the City hospital.
He is said to be suffering from shock and heat. But he collected the money.
|The Milwaukee Road rail yard in south Minneapolis in February 1951. The shop smokestack is at left. (Minneapolis Tribune photo)|
Here a nameless Tribune reporter spins a ghost story worthy of any campfire. The scene is set near an abandoned graveyard in northeast Minneapolis, most likely Maple Hill Cemetery, the city’s first, established in 1857. Over the next 30 years, about 5,000 bodies were buried there.
The cemetery fell into disrepair in the 1880s. Plots were cheap—just $8 or $9 according to an 1889 Tribune story—and recordkeeping was shoddy at best. Some remains were buried no more than two feet deep. Neighbors feared that the poorly maintained burial ground was a health threat and began a campaign to have the remains moved and the cemetery closed. By the time the story below was published in 1899, the removals had already begun and burials ceased. But with no source of funding, most of the remains and markers remained there untended for years. The grounds were “loaded with rubbish and so neglected that many of the caskets are exposed to view,” the Tribune reported.
In April 1907, the Tribune reported that Maple Hill Cemetery was in "deplorable condition." Rain had washed away sand at the western edge of the cemetery, exposing caskets to view. And children playing baseball had broken grave markers to pieces for use as bases.
The city’s Park Board took possession of the land in 1908 with the idea of restoring a portion of the cemetery and reserving 10 acres for a children’s park. A playground was established there in the summer of 1916, but the adjoining cemetery was still largely a mess. By that fall, the neighbors had had enough of the eyesore: under cover of darkness, about thirty men hitched up three teams of horses and cleared the land of debris and headstones, dumping the markers in a ravine on the west side of the property. Eight men were implicated in the “Maple Hill Raid,” but only two faced vandalism charges and they won acquittal at trial.
Soon after the raid, the Park Board removed most of the remaining markers, and Maple Hill became firmly established as a park. A skating rink, a warming house, horseshoe pits and other amenities were added. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts gathered there for activities. The park’s hockey teams enjoyed success in citywide competition. In 1948, it was renamed Beltrami Park, after the Italian-American explorer of the 19th century. But signs of the park’s past are still visible to this day. At least two small gravestones can be found amid the grass and trees on the park’s northwest side, not far from a monument to 46 Civil War veterans who were buried there.
Weird Adventure of a Young Woman While Walking Near a Cemetery in Northeast Minneapolis.
"Help! Help! The ghost will get me!" shrieked Ida Olson, last evening, as she rushed up to a pedestrian who was walking in Central avenue, near the abandoned cemetery in Northeast Minneapolis.
The girl, who is a domestic, was frightened so badly that it was impossible for her to talk in a coherent manner, and for time it was feared she had been driven insane by fright. She declared that while walking past the old cemetery with Ole Johnson, her sweetheart, a white object had arisen from one of the neglected graves, and, with an unearthly yell, had pursued them.
|Reminders of Beltrami Park’s past as a cemetery remain to this day.|
Ole, she said, had deserted her at the first sign of danger, and had left her to her fate. She was sure the object she had seen was a ghost, and she declared with equal firmness that it was the ghost of a man with horns, for she had seen the horns on his head, and had noted further that he wore a long white beard. Several times while telling her story she became hysterical, and it was with difficulty that she could be induced to continue.
John Adams, employed in the Columbia Heights mills, was the man whom she accosted on the street, and he at once took the girl into a drug store, where her story was related. At first it was thought Ida had been drinking, but there was not the slightest smell of liquor on her breath, and she was evidently badly frightened. While she was talking her sweetheart entered the place, and cried with joy at seeing the girl safe and sound.
Johnson, who is a laboring man, and a fairly intelligent appearing young fellow, told a story quite similar to that related by the girl, except that he said he had, instead of running away from the ghost, run towards it, in an endeavor to find out what it was.
Searching Party Formed.
Several persons were in the drug store at the time, and they at once formed a party and paid a visit to the old cemetery. As the abiding place of the dead was approached the courage of John disappeared, and he lagged behind. The girl, on the contrary, was fairly brave, now that there were other persons near by, and she led the party to the place where she said the ghost had appeared.
The spot from which the figure had arisen proved to be a slight depression on a mound, and the crushed down leaves and dead grass showed that a body of some sort had lain there. The adventure was becoming serious, and two or three members of the party did not venture as far away from their companions as they had done before the depression was found.
An extended search of the locality was made, but not trace of a ghost or anything looking like one could be found. Just as the party was about to give up and return to Central avenue a gasp of horror burst from the lips of Johnson, and he sank to the ground in a heap. A short distance away, only just visible in the dim light, was a white figure, with horns and a long white beard, just as Miss Olson had said.
Strange Sounds Heard.
As the little party looked a sound that cannot be described came from the object, followed by a silence that was painful in its intensity. For a moment no one moved or spoke; then one of the more adventuresome members of the party started in the direction of the ghost, carrying a revolver in his hand.
“Speak or I’ll shoot,” he called, as he scared the object.
There was no response, and again he repeated his command. This time the object moved a trifle and seemed to advance toward the party. As the man with the gun was about to fire there broke upon the silent night a plaintive:
Then a large white goat, with a beautiful pair of horns and a magnificent bunch of gray whiskers, walked up to the men and began nosing around as if expecting to be fed. The reaction was too much for the party, and the various persons laughed until they cried. Meantime Johnson had disappeared, and Miss Olson was sent to her home in University avenue northeast.
The goat, it was learned later, has been pastured in the old cemetery and the surrounding locality during the last summer, and he has been in the habit of sleeping around in any old place, and of going up to passers-by and asking in his dumb way for something to eat. Who the owner of the goat is could not be learned.