Looking for Daisy in the Archives of the Saint Paul Public Schools

Lafayette School, 1915. (Photo:  St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press/Minnesota Historical Society)

I wanted a class photo, your name on a staff list.
From old city directories I have pieced together
a list of the schools where you taught—
Cleveland, Lafayette, Edison, Ericsson, Drew—
not a one of them standing in the next century.
Old photos at the History Center show their stern facades.
And what of the faces looking at you every morning?

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O’Shea Irish Dance

FLYING LESSONS! (Photo: O’Shea Irish Dance)

O’Shea Irish Dance is my Irish dance school. It is part of the Celtic Junction building. O’Shea teaches Irish dance for kindergarteners to adults. The dance company moved to the Celtic Junction two years ago. It has three studios. O’Shea participates in the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Landmark Center, the Irish Fair at Harriet Island in August, and Minnesota feishes (dance contests). They also go to the championships.

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Meridel LeSueur Recalls Swede Hollow Before Prohibition

Keg delivery wagon, Hamm’s Brewery (Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society)

Patrick Coleman writes: "LeSueur was perhaps Minnesota’s most famous proletarian writer, so it is not surprising that she wrote about the humble people of Saint Paul’s Swede Hollow. The following selection was written during Prohibition, ushered in by passage of the Volstead Act in 1919." Extract from Meridel LeSueur, “Beer Town,” Life in the United States: A Collection of Narratives of Contemporary American Life from First-Hand Experience or Observation (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933); pages 31–33, 40.

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A Man’s Epiphany at O’Gara’s

On the corner of Selby and Snelling Avenues in St. Paul, O'Garas expanded decades ago into the space once occupied by the Family Barber Shop, owned by Carl Schulz, father of Charles M. Schulz. (History and photo courtesy of Jim Ellwanger/Flickr Creative Commons)

It isn’t as far from Saint Paul to Nepal as you might think it is. This was all brought home to me several years ago, in the men’s room of O’Gara’s Bar and Grill on Snelling Avenue in Saint Paul, where I experienced an epiphany while gazing up at its fourteen-foot-high walls, and saw there evidenced a feat of heroic proportions—surely on a par, for ordinary men, that is, with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in their conquest of Mount Everest.

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Not Your Typical Irish Dancer

Deb dancing with Rince na Chroi (Photo courtesy Deb Pleasants)

Grabbing the ballet barre to support myself, I attempted to stretch out my right leg. My thigh felt like a vise was twisting it tighter and tighter. The pain was so intense, I was afraid to breathe. I hobbled out of the dance room and nearly collapsed on the hallway floor. Massaging my cramped leg, I watched those energetic adults and wondered how I, a forty-seven-year-old Black woman with no dance experience, ended up in an Irish dance class.

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The Club: O'Gara's Bar & Grill

(Photo: Patricia Bour-Schilla)

Saint Paul, Minnesota: Everyone’s heard the tale of how it was built by drunken Irishmen who are responsible for the nonsensical layout of winding streets. Congruently, everyone who lives or has ever lived in Saint Paul knows that the one thing this city will never be without is its abundance of Irish pubs.

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Mar 1st, 2010 Lowertown Reading Jam: Saint Paul Poet Laureate Carol Connolly presents a Quintet of Irish Poets

quintet-of-irish-poets

In anticipation of St. Patrick's Day, five local Irish-American writers will be reading in a popular monthly event sponsored by The Saint Paul Almanac and curated this month by Saint Paul Poet Laureate, Carol Connolly. Presented Monday, March 1, 2010 at the Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar in Lowertown, Connolly brings together a quintet of acclaimed Irish Poets to read from new and selected works. Joining Carol for the reading will be Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ethna McKiernan, Tim Nolan, and Mary Kay Rummel.

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Looking for my Grandmother

My Grandmother

My grandmother grew up in Saint Paul, poor and Irish. A McDermott, she was the youngest of the six children, and the only girl. Some say that she was spoiled. I have tried over the years to learn more about her, but she is a hard one to pin down.

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W. A. Frost

Tommy at W.A. Frost

Whether you are a native Saint Paulite or a transplant, chances are you have a favorite bartender. Saint Paul is arguably short on some things, but people: when it comes to bars, you can take your pick. From the highest order, with oak and marble features, to scratch-off parlors in old working-class neighborhoods, there is a crowd and atmosphere to suit your taste.

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