Thursday, February 23, 2012

March 1987 - South St Paul Centennial and Birthday's

March is a busy time for the city of South St Paul and continues to be to this day.  One hundred twenty five years ago on March 2nd, the city was incorporated with the SSP post office being established the following year.  Glewwe Grocery store opened their new store on March 4, 1910 at the corner of 5th and Marie Avenue.  I've written on the store before, see here.  The South St Paul Jaycees were first established on March 16, 1934 and the South St Paul Lions were founded on March 30, 1948.  For the Centennial the city hosted a birthday party at City Hall with cake and punch for all.  International flags representing 15 different countries making up the ethnic background of the citizens of SSP were presented to the city for display in the foyer.  This year's celebration is very much the same.  Cake will be available at City Hall and fireworks will be shot off near the Mississippi River the following weekend.

But there are plenty of other reasons for celebration:

My sister, Rae Marie and her husband, Mark, were both born on the 31st and also celebrate their wedding anniversary on this date. 

My grandparents, Omer & Hazel Brossoit would have celebrated their 81st anniversary on the 18th of March. 

With a shout-out to my other family members and their birthday's this month, Janice, Wesley, and a few more stragglers, I would like to try to mention a few long-gone relatives and their birthdays. Not promising anything but that will be the next month's posts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

See Glewwe Run - Run, Rollin, Run!

When Rollin Glewwe decided to throw his hat into the ring he put much thought into why now was the time.  He had received much encouragement from the Republican Party regulars who wanted him to run against the Senate Minority Leader, Paul Thuet.  Historically, this district was a stronghold for the DFL party.  But there was a general dissatisfaction with the current senator, partly because of his absenteeism from the senate chambers (which came into play in campaign literature), his lack of support for district issues, especially for Burnsville school aid, the slow growth of highway systems in northern Dakota County and conflict of interests.

Mr. Thuet  was the Senate Minority leader and considered a certain victor by the DFL party.  Because of this, Mr. Thuet was to spend most of his time campaigning for other party regulars across the state.  The best way to effect change then, was to keep him in his own district, working on his own campaign, a stragety considered crucial for getting the state to elect a conservative house and senate. 

Although Rollin Glewwe received no formal endorsement, it was felt that with a temendous and united effort, he could defeat the incumbent as an independent candidate.  His campaign committee consisted of active party office holders and interested citizens.  There was no paid staff, all efforts to be ran with volunteers.

The Volunteer Committee Chairman was Mr. I.T. Simley, the retired school superintentent and a former candidate for the State Senate in 1958 against Mr. Thuet.  His was a well-known name and highly respected throughout the county.  It was thought that his name on all campaign literature would be a boost to the campaign.

Rollin's Advisory Committee was made up current party officers holders and regulars, such as Art Gillen, J.C. Michelson,  John Mugford, Vance Grannis, Bob Stassen, Neil Black, Gordy Engfer and Dave Durenburger.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hook-Em Cows - SSP Style

What is it about the "Hook-Em-Cows"?  To understand the name, you have to know the history of South St. Paul.  A town just south of the capital city of St. Paul, it is an independent town who considers itself not a suburb but a wild child of Minnesota.  It was incorporated in 1887 with the St. Paul Union Stockyards ready for business and holding court down by the railroad tracks and the Mississippi River.  South St. Paul also became home to Swift & Company (1897) and Armour's (1919) meatpacking companies.  These operations at one time gave South St. Paul the recognition of being the "World's Largest Stockyards".  It was no wonder that to the rest of the Twin Cities we became known as "Cow Town".  As children we learned at an early to age to come back with the answer, when told our town "stinks" or "smell like manure" that "it is the smell of money."

The Hook-Em Cows was a booster club organized in 1916 to help revitalize the St. Paul Winter Carnival.  The St. Paul Winter Carnival, a city-wide festival featuring a week of parades, ice sculptures, sporting events, and other outdoor activities, was begun in 1885 as the St. Paul Ice Palace Winter Carnival Association. The first carnivals were held 1886-1888 and 1896. They were revived in 1916 and 1917. Beginning again in 1937, they continued through 1942, resuming on a permanent basis in 1946. (1) The carnival was made up of booster clubs from city businesses, and being such a large employer and colorful occupation, South St Paul rose to the challenge.  The Hook-Em Cows marched in parades, rode horses down the streets and into businesses, hosted rodeos and booyas, had a restaurant named for them as well as cigars and even had their name painted on the side of a B-24 bomber in WWII.  They went full force until WWII took many of them off the street and although there had been various attempts to bring back their heyday of fun and revelry, now they are but a memory of good days gone by.

(1)  St Paul Winter Carnival Association, St Paul Winter Carnival Association Records & Manuscripts, MN Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 1987 - South St Paul Centennial & Booya!

Come March, one hundred twenty five years ago, the City of South Saint Paul, Minnesota was incorporated.  Twenty five years ago, the Centennial Commission held monthly events to commemorate this great event and also published a calendar with events that happened in town for the past 100 years.

The Centennial Special Event for February was to be a "Winterfest" at a local school with a two skating rinks and a great hill for sliding.  The Commission had also arranged for a horse-drawn sleigh for rides through the snow.  But back then, like this year too, the weather will not cooperate. (Not that I'm complaining!)  It has been too warm and there is no snow on the ground.  Not back then and not now.

But there was other notables for the month. 

1853  February 4 - Kaposia Post Office opens at the mission in Little Crow's village.

1911 February 27 - First Boy Scout Troop formed in SSP

But the one entry that caught my eye was 75 years ago:

1937 February 3 - Hook-Em Cows serve Booya for 10,000 at the Winter Carnival!

My grandmother told me that this bucket was one used by the "Hook-Em-Cows" when they served booya years ago.  And although I cannot verify it against other mementos, I like to think that it is true.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival just concluded this weekend and although there is no "Hook-Em-Cows" any more and they do not serve booya at the Winter Carnival, it does bring back a lot of memories of what was then and family stories.  But to understand is to know who are the "Hook-Em-Cows" and what is booya.

Booya, the soup/stew concoction, is a mainstay to the city of South St Paul.   The first Saturday of October for more than twenty-five years has been the date for the World Championship Booya Cook-Off and "On the Road Again" celebration.  Teams from around the Twin Cities participate in the contest with the winner chosen by a group of local judges. 

Back in 1989, the SSP Jaycees made their first batch to enter into the contest.  We told everyone that it was made from "Babe, the Blue Ox" of Paul Bunyan fame and we had the horns to prove it.  One newspaper article read that the booya called for 10 tons of Blue Ox tails, 14 semis of frozen rutabagas, five trailer loads of ice-blue onions, seven carloads of snow-capped mountain potatoes, and rock salt to taste. (Well, actually they were the horns from the city's centennial float and were no longer being used).

We had a large banner proclaiming "Babe's Blue Ox Booya" and made up buttons to wear so that people would know what it was they were eating.

And although we did not win the contest, we came in second and was determined to try again the next year.

The event organizer, Walt Books, had repeatedly told me that no woman has ever won and never will.  He said they didn't know how to cook booya properly and that was all it took.  The following year, we again entered and again did not win.  But the next year, in 1991, took home the top prize and trophy!  I no longer enter the contest but did judge for many years. 

But there is a comeback to this story.  My daughter, son-in-law and other extended family members are now members of the SSP Jaycees and they entered the now-famous booya cook-off a few years back.  Using the same recipe, they too walked off with the first place trophy, much to the chagrin of the other entrants.  They've entered every year since, tweaking the recipe, placing one year, taking home the top prize the following. 

But what is booya? 

Get yourself a pot, a really big pot.  Like an 80 gallon pot!  And the day before you plan on serving you gather up all the friends you can to cut vegetables, stew meat and keep the fires burning.  My version consists of chicken (like 50 lbs) and the same for oxtail.  No good booya is ever made without oxtail!  And any other meat that you would have on hand, more beef or pork or turkey.  Some even use turtle or venison.  Some just use what's in the freezer and no longer distinguishable.  Cook it, braise it, stew it, do what ever is necessary to get it to fall off the bone.

Cooking meat in this quantity is best done overnight.  But in Minnesota in October, that means jackets, hats, mittens, blankets and a huge bonfire just to keep warm.  In the morning you add in vegetables and cook them for another 5-6 hours.  Booya is not a pretty soup.  It's a mushy, stringy, but can't beat the flavor, warm the belly kind of soup.  Speaking of flavor.  That's a secret.  No one tells another what seasoning one puts into the booya. 

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the "Hook-Em Cows"!

This October, 2012 will be the 30th Anniversary of the "World Championship Booya Cook-Off".  I'll be there.  Will you?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Last Minute Decision

     Just over 45 years ago, Rollin Glewwe, took the advice of his family, friends and co-workers and filed for the office of State Senator from District 12, Northern Dakota County.  In a 40-page report written by Donn Waage, an election intern, it stated about the candidate:
     "Mr. Glewwe is of Welsh descent and attends the Baptist church.  He is soft-spoken, but frank, sincere and considerate man.  When he speaks, people listen because they know he has something to say.  He goes out of his way for people and is always willing to listen to others.  He's genuinely concerned with the problems of Dakota County and is deeply interested in seeing his district, as well as the State as a whole, grow and prosper.  When he speaks publicly, he speaks aggressively and with confidence.  When speaking informally, he speaks mildly, but with that same confidence.  And finally, he has a good sense of humor.  He recognizes the lighter side of politics which I think is an important part, for it makes the pressure and disappointments bearable."

Waage continues on the next page How One Becomes a Candidate.
     "Rollin Glewwe has been an active party worker for most of his life.  However, his candidacy for Senate this election was a last minute decision.  Harold LeVander, the newly elected Governor, asked Mr. Glewwe's employer, Elmer Stassen, to talk Rollin into running.  During the morning of the last filing date, Mr. Stassen spoke to Mr. Glewwe about it.  For the rest of the day, Rollie discussed this with his wife, his parents, and her parents.  He felt that his entry into the political spectrum would involve all of these people and wanted their approval.  Fifteen minutes before deadline, he filed.
     The candidate decided to run for office because he wanted to affect some changes and accomplish some things which could not be accomplished at his present level of involvement.  He became disturbed with present representation of this district and the administration as a whole.  He had some ideas for solving problems of Minnesota, and was confident that he could provide more effective leadership in state government than his opponent.  And he was assured of tremendous support which he received."

Glewwe for Senate Headquarters Opens

   The September 28, 1966 issue of the South St Paul Reporter ran an inside page article on the opening of Rollin Glewwe's hedquarters for the State Senate campaign.

Glewwe for Senate Headquarters Opens
     Glewwe for Senate Headquarters opened this week with a meeting of Glewwe volunteers throughout northern Dakota County.  The headquarters is located on Southview Boulevard in South St. Paul between 7th and 8th Avenues.
     Glewwe campaign chairman I.T. Simley of South St. Paul and campaign secretary Peggy Grossman of Burnsville reported to the volunteer leaders on the success of the primary campaign and plans for the campaign to the general election.
     Finance chairman J.C. Michelson and treasurer Gorden Engfer reported that the volunteer committee had already received many $1 to $5 individual contributions to the Glewwe campaign from people in both political parties and independents.
     Senate candidate Rollin Glewwe spoke to the committee and expressed his gratitude for their efforts.  He indicated his appreciation to the voters for their support in the primary and his special pleasure with the many people who are helping with their donations to fiance the campaign.
     "Our campaign is with and for the people of our district," Glewwe said, "and these one and two dollar contributions mean solid support from hundreds of people.  It's a much greater assurance of support and eventual success than a campaign financed by a political party or by an endorsing organization."
     In the area of voter contact, chairman Jim Lennon of West St. Paul reported Glewwe for Senate organizations being set up at the ward and precinct level in every community in the district.  "We're having no trouble getting people to work on this campaign," Lennon reported, "because Glewwe's record of community service in northern Dakota County has sold everyone on his ability to do a real job for them in the Minnesota Senate."
     The Glewwe volunteer headquarters on Southview Boulevard will be open daily to coordinate all volunteers who want to work on the campaign, need lawn signs or other assistance.  Headquarters telephone number is 455-7889.

The color of this bumper sticker is flourescent orange aginst a blue background.  The scan does not do justice to the vibrancy of this sticker, still looking good after all these years.  He also used for campaign literature a table-top card that folded in half to be set upon tables and the like. 

When opened up the inside read:

The back side of this campaign piece had another slogan, the usual information of who was the campaign chairman, treasurer and most importantly the union label.