Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our house at 711 Parkway Drive. St. Paul MN

and then in 1944 HOME OWNERSHIP
and the move to 711 Parkway Drive, source: 1944 St. Paul City Directory


Emma Prigge and her boys

My best friend was Robin Prigge.  He lived directly across the street.  We spent much of our time together either playing at his house or mine.  There was a vacant lot near his house with a tree where we had a tree house.  It also had a dump where we often found old medicine bottles.  His father was William and he was a book-keeper at a printing business.  His mother was Emma, and he had a younger brother Roger, who didn't play with us, but made it into some of the photos.

Robin was about 10 months older and a better climber and a little faster.  One of the stories, I still enjoy telling, was the rare day I won a race from the front walk to the back door.  The only problem was that I  slammed so hard into the cement blocks next to the back door that I broke my arm.  I spent the next month, or so, in one of those big plaster casts with the cloth sling, that was either an emblem of courage or stupidity. 
One of my other memories of the house has to do with the day I got stuck up in a fork of the hugh pine that still graces that front yard.  It was either the Fire Department or the Power and Light Co. that was called to extricate me. 


Even after we moved out of  the neighborhood Robin and I would often get together on Saturdays. We took turns biking to one or the other's house and then spent the day roaming the neighborhood, often checking out Como Park, which was new to both of us.  The route we usually took was via a winding and hilly Wheelock Parkway, a little over 3 miles.  Sometimes I could make it up the Wheelock hill, sometimes I couldn't, but since we rode alone he never saw me walking. My bike was a black Monarch with saddle bags.  His, as I remember, was a Schwinn. 

Gradually we lost touch with each other as he made other friends and I made friends in my new neighborhood.

I always wondered where he ended up and what he ended up doing so spent some time searching his family on Ancestry,   I now have some family info and some of the where but not much of the how and the what.  He went to High School at Concordia Academy on Syndicate and then on to College at Augustana in Minneapolis.  He must have been quite the hockey player as he shows up on both those schools teams.  His parents have both passed on and are buried in Elmhurst Cemetery not far from the house that we moved to on Parkview Ave.  Checking on his grandparents, I found that both of his grandfathers were Lutheran ministers. 

 " The Photographs are like diaries and scapbooks I've kept since childhood. I'm trying with the camera to hold on and to understand my own feelings and experiences. But the photographs are also a way of looking outside myself to see how other people face the losses of everyday, ordinary life." Charles Hagen quoting photographer Margaret Sartor in the Fall 1996 issue of Doubletake. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

the courtship and marriage of Reynold & Bernice


gleaned from a letter Dad wrote to grand-daughter Jennifer:

Rice Street Car at Ivy St.
"Did you know I met her by monkey island in Como Park, and walked her home, three blocks east of Rice Street on Maryland Ave., about three miles".

the courting route Reynold and Bernice
 "Courting?  Having no car I rode the street cars from
Southwest of town almost to South St. Paul. "

Jackson Street car passing the Gt. Northern RR at Pennsylvania

"In those days Rice Street boys took a dim view of a 'foreigner' from going with their girls.  So I would take the Rice Street car out there and Jackson Street car home.  Saved a few bloody noses."

"In 1938 I was married to a Catholic girl.  Although neither of our families were happy about us marrying outside of our denominations, they did not interfere.  We were married in a Catholic parsonage [St. Bernards] instead of the church. "


In 1939, Reynold and Bernice are living at 65 Garfield St.  Reynold's occupation is listed as apprentice at American Hoist and Derrick. 

In 1941, Reynold and Bernice are  living at 1001 Matilda St.  Reynold's occupation is listed as machinist at American Hoist and Derrick. 

1001 Matilda St.

Thinking about the name Bernice which has no connection, as far as I know, to the family.  And what was the influence of popular culture on these young Austro-Hungarians moving off the farm to the city.  Were they reading the popular magazines?  Were they aware of  F. Scott who continued to mine his St. Paul up-bringing for his best selling short stories and novels.

"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, written in 1920 and first published in the Saturday Evening Post in May of that year. It appeared shortly thereafter in the collection Flappers and Philosophers.


next time: the move and home ownership at 711 Parkway Dr.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

getting to know the Schotls

The Schotls        

Franz “Frank” Schotl:  1887-1941

Rose Kunshier Schotl:   1891-1969

Martin J.:  1912-1980 

Lawrence J.:  1914-1932

Leonard J.:  1916-1984

Bernice M.:  1918-1985

Pearl M.:  1920-1997

Herbert J.:  1923-1997


My Mother, Bernice Margaret Schotl, was born in Forest Lake, Minnesota on Feb. 21, 1918.  She was the first girl, and the last of the children of Rose Kunshier Schotl and Francis "Frank” Schotl to be born there.  She was preceded by brothers, Martin, Lawrence, and Leonard who were also born in Forest Lake.
Poultry Pluckers
The family moved to 28 E. Maryland,  8th Ward of St. Paul, in 1920 where they were renters for many years.  The two young ones, Pearl and Herb, were born there.  Grandpa Frank's occupation was listed in some of the Saint Paul City Directories as a woodworker but he is usually listed as a cook.   We know that Grandma worked at a variety of jobs including in an iron foundry and as a poultry plucker or dresser.

 The family was active at St. Bernard's Catholic Church and some baptismal records are available.  We have not been able to establish that any of the children went to class at the parish school.  Every indication is that they attended the local public schools.  Both Smith and North End Schools were within walking distance.  Any high school education would have been at Washington High School, but the schooling for most, stopped at grade 8.  

Lawrence was a young son who was said to have a possible career in professional baseball. He was struck by an automobile and killed near the Rice and Lawson playground where he had been playing ball with his buddies.  It was left to Mom, who was in the area, to run home and give the news to Grandma Rose.  The year was 1932 and Lawrence, age 18, was buried in  Calvary Catholic Cemetery on Front Street

Frank Schotl

 No occupation is given for Grandpa Frank in the 1940 directory and my guess is that, because of illness, he could no longer work. He would die the next year, February 22. 1941, of heart disease according to his death certificate.  The funeral home serving the family was Dunstan located at 1061 Rice Street.  He was buried near his son Lawrence at Calvary Cemetery.   Rose and Frank had moved and were living, at the time of his death, at 1561 Jackson Street.   This is the little house where Grandma would stay almost to the end of her life.


The Rice Street area had become a destination for many in the Austro-Hungarian community who were moving off the farms and taking jobs in the city.  St. Bernard's Catholic Church, with it's unique double spires, was a focus for social, religious and educational activity.  Many of the original founders came from the Deutsch Ungarn, a German ethnic region in what is now western Hungary.  They called themselves "Rice-Streeters" and were proud of their working class neighborhood.  Many worked locally as shopkeepers or tradesmen while others took the street-car to jobs at the American Hoist and Derrick, the various breweries or in the various railroad yards. 

According to the 1940 Federal Census, the oldest son, Martin was living at  120 Woodbridge Street, Ward 8, St. Paul, Minnesota.  His occupation is given as baker.   Having married Anna Peck he is listed as son-in-law in the household of Mary Peck.  Anna and Martin's son Kenneth was born in 1939.  The house is still there though extensively remodeled and with a stucco exterior.

Also listed as members of the household at that time are Anna's brothers Joseph and Michael.  Joseph, at age 23, is a meter repairer for the Northern States Power and Light Co.  Michael, at age 21, is listed as a "new worker".

Leonard is listed as son-in-law to head of household who is Gustina Horwath. Gustina is a widow and is employed with the WPA Sewing Project as a power machine operator.  Their address is 137 W. Jessamine, St. Paul MN.   He is married to Appalonia Horwath and they have two daughters, Shirley and Janice (Janis) living with them.   According to the census he is an unemployed bartender while Apple works as a "pea sorter". 
Bernice married Reynold Glaeve in 1938 and set up house-keeping at 65 Garfield Street.  In  1940, Pearl was 19, and doing factory work in a can company (American Can). She was still living with her parents on East Maryland.  Herb at age 17, was also still living at home.  He is listed as "new worker" but remains unemployed. (more on their romances and the consequences  thereof in a later blog)

Remember the "Grumpy Old Men" movies.  In the second movie, Jake and Melanie visit a bakery to review the wedding cake that their fathers selected. Both are dismayed when they learn that it will have a fishing theme. This scene was filmed at Tschida's Bakery on Rice Street. Tschida's had been THE bakery in Saint Paul since the 1930s.  

                                                                                                                                                 Location: Tschida's Bakery,

                                                                                                                                                            1116 Rice Street,
                                                                                                                                                             Saint Paul, MN
Unfortunately Tshida's sold their last pastry on Saturday, May 19, 2012.  It was the  final day for the family-owned bakery on St. Paul's North End. The doughnuts and bismarcks were long gone before it closed at 3 p.m., its bakery cases were empty.
reading the Patrica Hampl memoir, The Florist's Daughter, not only am I struck by the similarities in our St. Paul families in virtually the same time frame but I find so many of her observations to be truer than true.
"Better to Stay with the photograph of the scene before the earthlings mess everything up" ...Patricia Hampl 

And so true for Rice Street. It is no longer the vibrant and alive neighborhood that it was for my Mother's family. It is now a street of vacancies and run-downs. The new renovations all seem to be covering something over, bricking in or boarding up. All seem a distraction from how that once pride-of-ownership showed on every block.   It was a punch in the gut during our last trip, and even more so, as I watched a 7 minute virtual tour from Rice and Mississippi to the juncture with Larpenteur Avenue.

next time: somehow they meet

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fred and Ella Move to Carver Beach

It was either while Dad was in the CCC’s or shortly after his return in 1935 that Marie found a place for Grandpa and Grandma close to where she was working.  Grandpa had been hit by an automobile and spent quite some time in the hospital.  His deafness may have been a  contributing factor.  The accident, probably happened during the time he was working for the Collis Company.   After the accident he was no longer needed at Collis or able to hold a steady job. 

Marie was a nurse at the Glen Lake TB Sanitorium and was living in the nurses residence on the grounds. 

Glen Lake Sanatorium, a tuberculosis treatment center serving Hennepin County in Minnesota, opened on January 4, 1916, with a capacity of 50 patients. In 1909, the Minnesota State Legislature had passed a bill authorizing the appointment of county sanatorium boards and appropriating money for the construction of county sanatoriums. Glen Lake Sanatorium was the fifth of fourteen county sanatoria that opened in Minnesota between 1912 and 1918. The sanatorium had its own post office.  The mailing address was Glen Lake Sanatorium, Oak Terrace, Minnesota, until the surrounding area was incorporated into the City of Minnetonka.

"At the height of the TB epidemic in the 1930s, 715 people lived in the multi-building complex and received the best medicine available, plenty of sunshine, rest and good food. The Minnesota Department of Public Welfare (now Human Services) assumed operation from Hennepin County in 1962 and guided the transition from tuberculosis sanatorium to Oak Terrace Nursing Home."

 The buildings were demolished in 1993 and a 9-hole executive length course was created on the site and grounds. Hennepin County selected Hennepin Parks to operate the Glen Lake Golf and Practice Center as a self-supporting facility.

Friday, March 1, 2013

St. Paul gangsta history and the Glaeves

"A corrupt St. Paul police department led by Police Chief John O’Connor provided a safe haven to gangsters in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The O'Connor System, as it was known, allowed criminals to live in St. Paul as long as they kept out of trouble and obeyed the law during their stay. Because of this, notorious gangsters like Public Enemy #1 John Dillinger, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, the Barker Gang, Machine Gun Kelly, and Baby Face Nelson lived in Saint Paul. The system fell apart when crimes began to be committed in St. Paul like the high profile Hamm and Bremer kidnappings."
John Dillinger
info from the Ramsey County Historical Society. You can conduct your own walking tour of the area at their site

"This parade of public enemies is well documented by local crime historian Paul Maccabee in John Dillinger Slept Here.
"As much as anyone, Maccabee deserves credit for resurrecting the history of the period. Beginning more than 25 years ago, when he was a journalist with the Twin Cities Reader, Maccabee began researching Twin Cities crime and corruption during Prohibition and into the Depression. Hundreds of interviews, and 100,000 pages of FBI files later, Maccabee published Dillinger, which remains the bible of St. Paul gangster studies."

Another interesting article and from which some of the following info is excerpted is by 
Tim Brady in the Minnesota Monthly
April 2007

 So you are saying that's interesting, but what does it have to do with the Glaeves and the West Side of St.Paul.  Well indulge me.  In 1932; the Glaeves, Fred, Ella, Martin and Dad, were living at 497 Andrew St.  

The Engelmanns, friends of the family and where Dad would later live as a boarder, were living at 566 South Robert Street.  The Barker gang and Alvin Karpis were hiding, in plain sight, at a house at 1031 just a few blocks up busy South Robert Street across Annapolis, not too far from the Emanuel Lutheran Cemetery where Martha Glaeve was buried.  The house still exists today as a nail and hair salon.  
Now Ma Barker, though some dispute this, was never the brains behind the gang. I will go with Alvin Karpis who sets the record straight  in The Alvin Karpis Story penned after his time in the pen

He says though “Ma” Barker was generally depicted in those days as a criminal mastermind who spawned and directed a gang of killers, according to Karpis, “She couldn’t organize breakfast. She knew where we were getting the money, she knew what we did, but whenever we sat down to plan a job, we sent her out to the movies."


She did, however provide good cover behind her apron strings.  A little old lady who walked her bulldog up South Robert and who religiously sent her sons to their violin lessons.

It would seem that the vicious criminal persona attached to Ma Barker may have been a creation  of the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover to cover the fact that they gunned down a 62 year old mother.

Kate "Ma" Barker with boyfriend Arthur Dunlop

Now add to the neighborhood Tommy Carroll.  According to a 1934 wanted poster and info in Maccabee, he was 5 ft. 10 and a trim 166 pounds. "The chestnut haired, blue-eyed Chicagoan looked roughly handsome...despite what police described as a furrowed upper lip, scars on this jaw and neck, and a mouth that twisted distinctly to the right. Carroll, one of the few married men in Dillinger's gang, was known for juggling women friends and aliases..." Carroll had done time in Leavenworth for auto theft and upon his release had engineered a series of postal burglaries in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. When Carroll married his girlfriend Viola in 1925, they had "pledged their marital devotion using aliases... The couple had moved to St. Paul in 1932 after an attempt at running a restaurant in Mankato didn't pan out.

Tommy Carroll in 1932-33, now part of the Dillinger Gang, had abandoned his wife and was living with his current squeeze, Sally Bennett, a popular nightclub entertainer, at 35 West Isabel Street, on St. Paul's West side. "For six months during the spring and summer of 1932, Bennett and Carroll lived in the second-floor apartment. Their landlords were Pete and Mary Vogel, a foundry worker and a schoolteacher." The information comes from interviews that Maccabee conducted with the Vogel sons' John and Jim in 1993. Members of the gang met regulary at the apartment to smoke cigarettes and plan bank robberies. According to the Vogel's aunt they were respectful and emptied the ash trays.

The address is a stone's throw from where Fred and Ella Glaeve lived with their two sons, Martin and Reynold, at 497 Andrew Street. According to the census records, Fred was working as a laborer in a pickle factory. This was probably the Gedney plant off South Wabasha Street, not far from home.

Carroll often ate with the Vogels and always "tipped generously". He would take Sally to the movies and the Green Lantern and on occasion to gangster parties at a cottage on Lake Owasso. "He had two close calls with police in Minnesota. In May of 1933, he was arrested for possesion of burglary tools but was released in June. In September, after an accident at Wheelock Parkway and Rice Street, he was arrested when police discovered a loaded .45 caliber pistol in his car. He was released, despite the fact that he was out on bond for a Wisconsin post office robbery."



 More Highlights:
 On June 15, 1933, the Barker-Karpis Gang  kidnapped William A. Hamm Jr., a wealthy St. Paul beer brewer, and held him for a $100,000 ransom.

On January 17, 1934, they kidnapped the president of the Commercial State Bank of St. Paul, Edward George Bremer. They were able to ransom $200,000, but the fingerprints of “Doc” Barker were found on a gas can left at the scene of the ransom exchange. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was soon on the gang’s trail.

On March 31, 1934,   John Dillinger and Homer Van Meter shot their way out of the Lincoln Court Apartments where John had lived with his girlfriend Evelyn Frechette.   Their apartment, #303,  was a block off Grand and overlooked Lexington Parkway.   The FBI and St. Paul Police, acting on a tip from the landlady had politely knocked on the door, but had failed to secure the rear exit and an escape route to the waiting get-away-car.  After an exchange of gun-fire, Dillinger, in the car driven by Frechette, was gone. 

And then on May 9-10 of 1934, a black cloud, 10,000 feet high, rose out of the Plains and moved east.  Gale-force winds with a cool front caused a dust storm across Minnesota. "At times, the dust was so thick that it was impossible to see across Lake Calhoun or Lake Harriet in Minneapolis."  The swirl of soil from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and Texas would later blanket most of the East coast and cover ships 200 miles out in the Atlantic.

Marie moves Fred and Ella to Carver Beach; Reynold returns and looks for work