BY PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL
I am writing this on the day that President Trump unveiled his proposed budget, the farthest thing from a “peace budget” that I can remember. It proposes a 10% boost in military spending, even though the U.S. spends more than the next 8 countries combined, and has been involved in more wars since World War II. (And let us ask ourselves as a people, why is every country that we have invaded since WW II been much smaller and poorer than ourselves.) It drastically cuts those things that make for peace: the arts, climate science, foreign aid—even Meals on Wheels. It seems we are regressing further and further away from real peace.
But I am also writing this while listening to Mahalia Jackson. She sings to me: “It is well; it is well with my soul.” It’s not a call of resignation, but a call of faith and hope in the midst of struggle. And we so need that today. Peace is not just the absence of war or violence, but the creation of a society where all enjoy the fruits of the earth; where all have adequate food, water, culture, shelter, security, health care and respect. In Hebrew, the word is Shalom; in Arabic, Salaam. But it means the same thing: a healed world that provides wholeness.
Peace is also walking in that vision of wholeness. I admit it has been challenging for me to maintain a peaceful heart since the past election season. Such hostility—towards immigrants, the poor, refugees, women, LGBT people, Latinos, and so many more. Rhetoric, from all sides, that doesn’t even pretend to care about reconciliation. And now, concrete actions that threaten the fabric of Phillips, our nation and our planet.
By LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK
American media and the press developed a habit of looking at the first 100 days of a new president’s administration. It is a curious habit because most presidents, whether they serve one or two terms, have one or possibly two great successes, the exceptions being Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and arguably one or two others. This rarity of greatness is partly attributable to a slow and inconsistent growth of the country’s development of policies and laws.
The administrative head of the country is expected to be a level-headed person having good diplomatic skills and an ability to keep the country out of hot wars while steering a steady course of economic growth and keeping the courts and Congress in check. Since Franklin Roosevelt, the country has come to expect more in services from its federal government, a new line from which there has been no retreat. Conservatives want less, liberals want more, but there has been no overall retreat from Social Security, the construction and maintenance of interstate highways, and now a creep toward national health care with the inclusion of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.
There has always been a social arc, bending the country more toward guarantees of education, health, and welfare along with a governmental tug toward “freedoms” that limit controls on individual lives. A big one of these is private gun ownership. The Second Amendment was once understood to be a Constitutional right of states to have militias for common protection, but it has been reinterpreted to mean an individual’s right to “bear arms.” The result has been an uncommonly large number of Americans who are shot or murdered every year.
April 6th (Thursday) 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Phillips West Monthly Community Meeting– Please join the Phillips West Board and Community Members for pizza and updates about what is going on in the Community. Ward 6 City Council & Minneapolis Police will be present to give update. We will also have guests from Public Works to talk about bike lane construction on 26th & 28th. Meeting is located in the Center for Changing Lives Building (2400 Park Avenue, 1st floor Centrum Room). Free parking adjacent to the building is available. For questions please call Phillips West Staff (Crystal) at 612-879-5383 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pioneer and Soldiers Cemetery Fence Update: Bills on Capitol docket: Call Representative and Senator
BY SUE HUNTER WEIR
Representative Karen Clark has introduced bonding bill (HR 1073) to secure the funds necessary to complete work on the Pioneer and Soldiers Cemetery fence along Cedar Ave and Lake Street. The money would cover the cost of disassembling the limestone pillars, reassembling them using the correct adhesive, and capping them with a protective cover that will prevent erosion by keeping water from seeping into the limestone. The funds will also cover the cost of replacing a section of “historic” chain link along the 21st Avenue side of the cemetery with a section of decorative fencing.
Senator Jeff Hayden has introduced an identical bill in the State Senate (SF 1355). Please consider contacting your Representative and Senator to encourage them to support these bills. If you are represented by one of the bill’s sponsors, please send an email or phone call thanking them for helping us finish this project.
David Buel Knickerbacker, 1833-1894 1871: Cottage Hospital began near Mills David started it! “Goliaths” own it now!
By Sue Hunter Weir
Before health care was big business and before it became a political hot button, it was a charity. The first hospital in Minneapolis, the Cottage Hospital, opened its doors in March 1871. Eight of the hospital’s beds and most of its furnishings were donated by such diverse groups as the Masons, workers in the machine shop at the Milwaukee Railroad, St. Mark’s Parish, the Ladies’ Aid and the Brotherhood of Gethsemane Church.
The hospital was only one of many charitable causes that can be attributed to the Reverend David Buel Knickerbacker, the rector of Gethsemane Church, who saw a need to build the “Cottage Hospital and Home for the Sick and Friendless.” The population of Minneapolis was 13,000 when the hospital opened but many of the town’s people were single immigrant men who worked for the railroads and the mills in jobs that were extremely dangerous. The hospital was located downtown close to the mills for precisely that reason—to be near to the places were accidents were most likely to occur. The Cottage Hospital offered horse-drawn ambulance service.
The Brotherhood of Gethsemane raised money for the hospital by offering lectures and concerts, holding festivals, and by appealing to the public for food, money and supplies through the local newspapers. The public responded and each month a list of the donors and their gifts was printed in the paper. For the most part, they were modest gifts: jars of jam, bandages, reading materials, home grown vegetables, eggs, milk and poultry. They also included brooms, blankets, and an occasional gift of medicinal whiskey. Mill owners donated all of the flour that the hospital needed and the railroad shipped carloads of firewood to the hospital at no cost.
It may sound idyllic but it wasn’t. While the citizens responded to the needs of the poor and helpless, those problems only increased as the city’s population grew and outpaced the hospital’s ability to take care of those who needed help. In the annual report for 1880, the hospital’s superintendent noted that the hospital’s “…capacity has at times been taxed to the utmost, and the city has outgrown the limit of our accommodations. The number of railroads entering here, and the amount of machinery in constant operation makes accidents of [sic] occurrence rendering it necessary to have larger and better accommodation whilst the requirements of the city’s poor demand more room than we have.”
The hospital accepted private patients who could pay for their own care but the majority of patients were charity cases who fell into one of two groups. The $6.00 a week cost of caring for residents of Hennepin County was paid for by the county; the costs of those who were not residents of Hennepin County were paid for by private charitable donations. The hospital’s policy never changed: “Our doors have been thrown open wide for the reception of all colors, nationalities and creeds.”
BY BOB ROSCOE
In 1916 the cornerstone was laid for the Messiah Lutheran Church at the intersection of East 25th Street and Columbus Avenue South in South Minneapolis, designed by Harry Wild Jones, a leading Minneapolis architect.
Today, the two story red brick Gothic Revival structure, rests comfortably within this mildly compact urban environment, and still serving its original religious purpose, no longer for a Lutheran congregation which began as serving a Northern European immigrant community, but now for Mennonite and Latino immigrant congregations.
Messiah Lutheran’s interior presents Jones’s lavish use of wood, with pointed arches emblematic of the English Gothic Style, carved wood paneling, and an intricate stained glass window above and behind the altar lend the interior a graceful ambience. Perhaps the most splendid interior architectural feature is the system of wood hammer beam trusses, each characterized by series of sizeable vertical members with lathe-turned bases.
Harry Wild Jones became known as a church architect during his prolific career, totally 21 churches in Minneapolis. Nonetheless, Jones is better known in the architectural community as one of the most imaginative early twentieth century designers of public buildings, such as what is known today as Butler Square, the long ago razed Nicollet Baseball Park, Lake Minnehaha Yacht Clubhouse, Washburn Water Tower and many prominent residences. Seven of his buildings are locally listed historic landmarks.
At this time, three of his churches remain in their original design; eight have been significantly altered beyond their Jones architectural identity; and the others have been demolished. Messiah Lutheran Church is thus an important edifice in the historic testament of Minneapolis.
BY LINDSEY FENNER
One block from the elaborate American Swedish Institute mansion is a more modest landmark of the Swedish immigrants who made their homes in the Phillips neighborhood. The Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2501 Columbus Avenue South, was once a social center for the Swedish-Minnesotan community. But over the course of a hundred years, the block has dramatically changed. A building that used to be nestled among single-family and duplex homes is now shadowed by a parking ramp.
In an effort to recognize and honor the church’s social importance, as well as the craft used in the design and construction, the church building is currently being considered for local preservation status. Sue Hunter Weir, a Phillips historian who serves on the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, nominated the building for consideration.
Built in 1916, the building was designed by important local architect Harry Wild Jones. His more well-known works include the Lakewood Cemetery Chapel and Butler Square in the Minneapolis Warehouse District. But Jones also took pride in designing affordable, well-crafted churches, according to Hunter Weir. Messiah is one of the few intact examples of Jones’ churches.