Poetry from Bessie Hess Ingersoll

TWIngersoll.png Silhouette of Truman Ward Ingersoll found in “Rhymes and Jingles : written between 1892-1937” by Bessie Hess Ingersoll, MNHS

T.W. Ingersoll

You’ve a roof o’er your head
and one soon to be
tho’ your purse may be flat
you’ve home, one, two, three,

Tho’ cash may be scarce
and business not fine
you’ve land and you’ve sons
with friends you can dine.

You’ve much to give thanks for

may this be your boast
you thank the Good Lord

your hostess and host.

About 1909-1910

Continue reading “Poetry from Bessie Hess Ingersoll”

Natural Beauty

Snowpocalypse 2007

“Carlton,” of the Boston Journal, who accompanied the party who examined the route of the Northern Pacific Railroad in July, 1869, speaks thus of a portion of the same section of country:

“On our second day’s march we came to a section of country that might with propriety be called the park region of Minnesota. It lies amid the highlands of the divide. It is more beautiful than even the country around White Bear Lake and in the vicinity of Glenwood. Throughout the day we ride amid such rural scenery as can only be found amid the most lovely spots of England.

“So wonderfully has nature adorned this section, that it seems as if we were riding through a country that has been long under cultivation, and that behind yonder hillocks we shall find an old castle, or at least a farm house, as we find them in Great Britain.”

“I do not forget that I am seeing Minnesota at its best season, that it is midsummer, that the winters are as long as in New England; but I can say without reservation that nowhere in the wide world, not even in England, the most finished of all lands; not in la belle France, or in sunny Italy, or in the valley of the Ganges, or the Yanktze, or on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, have I beheld anything approaching this region in natural beauty.”

“How it would look in winter I cannot say; but the members of our party are unanimous in their praises of this park region of Minnesota. The land is unsurveyed, and the nearest pioneer is forty miles distant, but land so inviting will soon be snapped up by settlers.”

T. W. Ingersoll retired to Dellwood, on the edge of White Bear Lake around 1915. I wanted to note this earlier description as contrast to the snowpocalypse outside right now. I’m about 30 miles from White Bear Lake, but the contrast between seasons is bigger than the contrast in geography.



MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The University of Minnesota is canceling all classes and evening activities effective at 2:30 p.m. today, Provost Thomas Sullivan announced today.

“In light of current conditions and the forecast for severely worsening weather, this is an appropriate measure at this time,” said Sullivan. “The mid-afternoon closing of metro area schools, colleges and universities and other institutions made it even clearer that this is the right thing to do.”

This has never happened since I’ve been here.

Shooting Craps — Darkies Playing the Game

American Picturesque (c. 1895-1905)

The address printed on this stereograph (56 E. Sixth) does not appear in the Minnesota Photographer’s database as a business address for T.W. Ingersoll. However, the 52 E. Sixth address would only be a couple of doors down. I think it’s likely that Ingersoll occupied up to half of the block. According to an interview with his son from the sixties, Ingersoll employed up to sixty people at his studio in its heyday. This location, slightly off the main street in downtown St. Paul, would have been slightly after that time I suspect. The craftsmanship is quite crappy. Those splotches of color are intentional, and probably dashed on in assembly-line fashion.

There’s a bigger version here, and a photograph of 54 E. Sixth (present day) here.

Whitney’s Gallery

Third Street and Cedar
Charles D. Elfelt’s store and Whitney’s Gallery, Third and Cedar, St. Paul. (1852) MHS

I become increasingly fascinated by the concept of the photographer’s studio as an outpost of culture on the American frontier. Saint Paul was known as “Pig’s Eye Landing” after a popular tavern until 1841. It was incorporated in 1849. The first business directory of St. Paul from 1850 didn’t list any photographers, but there numbers grew exponentially after Minnesota was labeled as a territory in 1852. Early studios were typically labeled as “galleries” and I’m sure that they provided a site for the exchange of news and views.

Whitney’s gallery, on yet another corner of Third and Cedar in Downtown St. Paul was across the street diagonally from the site of Ingersoll’s studio 1885-1890, and would have literally been next door (if it still existed—it didn’t) to the next incarnation of Ingersoll’s studio from 1891-1894 at 27 E. Third Street.

This corner, since 1966 at least, has housed the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Billed as “the place to meet,” I suspect that this intersection might have claimed that distinction since at least 1852.

Continue reading “Whitney’s Gallery”