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Twin Cities Rivalry   thus far, we have seen how the early development of Macalester College grew out of a number of contexts: efforts to missionize the frontier, a belief in Christianity as the foundation for knowledge and democracy, and the desire to transplant the institutions of the East Coast in the newly developing transMississippiMidwest .BythetimeNeillandtheMacalestertrusteeshadamassed sufficient capital to seriously embark on creating their college, they faced yet anothersetof contingentcircumstancesthatwouldsignificantlyinfluencetheir next steps, that is, the growth of St. Paul and its developing rivalry with its twin city, Minneapolis. During the 1880s, as the trustees struggled to develop capital and buy property, these contexts significantly shaped the institution. By 1880, St. Paul was a much different place than the rugged village on the Mississippi River that had greeted Neill on his arrival thirty-one years earlier. Now capital of the state of Minnesota, St. Paul boasted a population of nearly 41,500. Transportation had been St. Paul’s early strength, and on that basis, the city had grown rapidly, becoming home to a diverse citizenry. In the 1850s, steamboats brought native-born Americans from New England and the MidAtlanticregionsaswellasothersmigratingfromthemidwesternstatesof Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. These and subsequent years also brought German immigrants—Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish—many of whom went inland to farm, while others moved into trade, manufacturing, and commercial enterprises in the city. Irish immigrants also stepped off the steamboats, some first-generationimmigrantsbutmanysecond-andthird-generationIrishAmericans .Ambitiousandupwardlymobile,theIrishfoundimportantopportunities in St. Paul and soon dominated the political and legal professions. Yet no ethnic Twin Cities Rivalry |  politicalmachineruledSt.Paul,forthelongtimepresenceof French-Canadians, Germans, and Yankees made for a highly pluralistic society. By the late 1860s, thenewrailroadswerebringingScandinavianimmigrants,andwithinadecade, easternEuropeanswouldalsobeginarriving.If notexactlyembraced,thisethnic diversitywasacceptedasafactof lifeinSt.Paul.Religionandpoliticswerehighly pluralistic, with no clearly dominant group. Catholics and Democrats occupied just as respectable political and professional positions as did Protestants and Republicans, including participation in the highest social circles in St. Paul.1 As bright as St. Paul’s future may have looked in 1880, something of a cloud wasgrowingonthehorizon,or,morespecifically,tenmilesupriver.Minneapolis, the upstart town that had not even existed when Neill had arrived in 1849, now outstripped St. Paul in population by over five thousand people. Moreover, the two cities were developing distinct characters, which were frequently at odds with one another. Rivalry and increasingly bitter competition between the two were growing. Whereas St. Paul had established itself as a transportation hub and financial center, Minneapolis entrepreneurs took advantage of the Falls of St.Anthony,theonlywaterfallontheMississippiRiver,toestablishasuccessful milling industry in the 1860s. In 1865 alone, that city produced some sixty-two millionboardfeetof lumber.Bythe1870s,withtimberresourcesdwindling,the shift was made to agriculture and grain milling, aided significantly by efforts to attract immigrant farmers to the fertile prairies of the state. Soon “King Wheat” wouldpropelMinneapolisintoaworld-renownedflourproducer,shippingsome 1.65 million barrels of flour annually during the 1880s.2 Even though St. Paul entrepreneurs, including James J. Hill and others, would significantly expand that city’s transportation network through the development of railroads, Minneapolis ’s growing industrial base soon resulted in its eclipsing St. Paul as the leading economic power in the region. Differencesbetweenthetwocitiesweresocialandpolitical,aswell.St.Paul’s ethnically diverse population worked together, despite having a variety of religious and political affiliations. City government and the professions reflected this diversity, and although the Democratic Party held something of a stronger position, Republicans were by no means shut out of elections. Minneapolis, on the other hand, was home to a more exclusivist Old Stock Yankee elite, solidly Protestant and Republican, which maintained hegemonic control over wealth, politics,andprofessionallifeinthecity.Notsurprisingly,thesedifferenceswould set the stage for decades of rivalry between the two cities. By the 1880s, the race  | nature & revelation was on, and many felt that the advancement of one city could only occur at the expenseof theother.3 In thearea of institutionbuilding,thisrivalrywouldhave significant consequences for the development of Macalester College. Thusitwasthatthe1880sbroughtnotonlynewleadershiptotheMacalester College enterprise, with Neill’s stepping down from the presidency and the adoption of the college by the Synod of Minnesota, but also significantly new urban contexts—demographic, economic, political, and geographical—which would have a great deal of influence on the organizers of the new college and its role in the region. In these changing contexts, the idea of Macalester College would come to fruition. New Partners, New Interests: The Presbyterian Synod of Minnesota Edward Neill, as we have seen, spent nearly thirty years, from 1850 to 1880, attempting to establish his particular vision of Christian education on what, for many of those years, had been essentially...


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MARC Record
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