What about booming a town in Ramsey?
OPINION | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2011 4:47 PM BY ABC NEWSPAPERS
by Bob Kirchner
The Center of Ramsey (COR), formerly known as the Ramsey Town Center, was not the first attempt to boom a town in Ramsey. The city’s namesake, Alexander Ramsey, tried it in the early 1850s.
His chosen site was less than two miles west of the present day COR project. A historical marker in Weigh Station Park tells the story of Ramsey’s would-be boomtown.
In Ramsey’s vision, this site was to become the capital of Minnesota Territory and ultimately the capital of the state.
Ramsey was in a position to make things happen. He had connections in Washington, D.C. He served as a congressman from Pennsylvania from 1843 to 1847. Later he was appointed the first territorial governor of Minnesota from June 1, 1849 to May 15, 1853.
Ramsey and other land speculators did not leave this boom town project to chance.
During this time the Territorial Legislature authorized taxpayer funded contracts and granted licenses that would directly benefit this location. These included road construction, steamboat operations and ferry operations. James Beatty won the ferry contract.
However, the quintessential political maneuver was an attempt to move the temporary territorial capital to this site.
On Sept. 26, 1849 a bill was introduced in the Legislature declaring that the temporary capital should be located at “a point on the east side of the Mississippi River between Rum and Elk Rivers, within 5 miles of a point opposite the mouth of the Crow River.”
It failed by only one vote. But this fueled land speculation and town booming fever took hold. Land claims were made.
In 1852 a site conforming to the legislative language was platted by Ramsey, Beatty and others. It was located on the east bank of the Mississippi River opposite the mouth of the Crow River.
These town boomers were assisted by the renowned town planter Thomas A. Holmes. The primary land owners were Ramsey (375 acres) and Beatty (216 acres). A hotel was built.
Ramsey christened this place “Itasca,” misappropriating this identity from Lake Itasca which had been discovered in 1832 and named earlier as the source of the Mississippi River.
They even labeled a small nearby lake “Itasca Lake.” It was a double steal.
That's about half of the ABC Newspaper's publication, again, this link.
For those interested, the Alexander Ramsey House is a St. Paul historical landmark, with a Minnesota Historical Society touring schedule for those interested.
More recent historical retrospectives by the same author, here.