“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Maplewood in Ramsey County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

A History of Change

A History of Change marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, July 31, 2019
1. A History of Change marker
Inscription.  Looking at this preserve it is hard to imagine the shrill sounds, bustling Shops, and iron horses built and maintained here well over 100 years ago.

Native Americans traveled through and used this landscape for thousands of years before Euro-Americans settled New Canada Township in the late 1850s. The street behind you is named for J.W.S. Frost who bought land in 1865 and began farming. This area attracted dairy and truck farming as well as Lake Phalen leisure use.

Over the following decades railroads began crisscrossing the countryside. Two lines had a junction and depots just blocks northeast of here. Capitalizing on this, William Dawson platted Gladstone on August 27, 1886, hoping his new town would soon rival St. Paul. The next year the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad chose Gladstone for its new maintenance yard. The turn of the 20th century saw a vibrant community with some local businesses still bearing the Gladstone name today.

Decline and Open Space Preservation
Gladstone and the Shops never achieved the prosperity their founders had hoped. By 1915 the Shops had been relocated and the land was leased
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to a series of companies including Seeger Refrigeration (later named Whirlpool). By 1979 all remaining buildings were demolished.

Maplewood residents passed a referendum in 1993 to acquire and preserve open space. Gladstone Savanna was one of the first sites purchased. William Dawson, Founder The first Irish-born mayor of St. Paul, William Dawson, Sr. had a keen eye for profits and progress. Enterprising business owner and banker, he purchased and platted 574 acres for the Gladstone Land Company in 1886 and was instrumental in securing a depot and railroad Shops. Mr. Dawson named the town after William Gladstone, well-known 19th century British statesman, Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Of Plow Works and Poor Farm
The Gladstone Shops were not the only community employer. A mile east down Frost Avenue is the Ramsey County Poor Farm built in 1885. A decade later this self-sufficient dairy farm served 74 paupers and employed over a dozen men and women.

The St. Paul Plow Works, which relocated to the nearby railroad junction in 1887, made various farm implements.

Working in Gladstone
Many who worked at the Gladstone Shops and Plow Works lived in Gladstone. In 1895 Gladstone's population was primarily Minnesota and U.S. born residents as well as German, Swedish, Norwegian and Irish immigrants.

Marker at the north central entrance to Gladstone Savanna image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, July 31, 2019
2. Marker at the north central entrance to Gladstone Savanna
The Shops depended heavily on raw materials shipped hundreds of miles. Maryland and Ohio provided the coal. Iron was smelted and shipped from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.
Erected by City of Maplewood.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is August 27, 1886.
Location. 44° 59.942′ N, 93° 2.895′ W. Marker is in Maplewood, Minnesota, in Ramsey County. Marker is at the intersection of Frost Avenue and Atlantic Street, on the right when traveling east on Frost Avenue. Marker is at the north entrance to the Gladstone Savanna preserve. There is street parking along Frost Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Paul MN 55109, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water: A Well Needed Resource (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); History in Depth (about 400 feet away); Building the "Skally" (about 500 feet away); The Shops at Gladstone (about 600 feet away); Gladstone Savanna's Natural History (about 700 feet away); Destination Lake Phalen (approx. 0.6 miles away); Frost Avenue (approx. 0.7 miles away); Phalen Regional Park Waterfall (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Maplewood.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 10, 2019. It was originally submitted on August 9, 2019, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 290 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 9, 2019, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 7, 2023