For the Twin Citizens in the audience curious about local history (how’s that for scaring away most of my audience?), the Pioneer Press has a lengthy story this morning about the history of Armour and the meat-packing industry in South St. Paul. It’s not clear what prompted the story (Anniversary? Slow news weekend?), but it does include some interesting nuggets:
For many years, [author and local historian Lois] Glewwe said, “Every sixth-grade class in South St. Paul was forced to tour the slaughterhouse. The little girls would be throwing up, screaming.”
I sense the beginnings of a new city slogan.
The hard-working, tough-as-nails demeanor described in the article is still part of the ethos in South St. Paul (though perhaps not reflected in the font choices of the community newsletter). The article doesn’t spend much time on it, but the city has been trying for years to fill the void left by the meat-packing industry. The city’s woes may be best exemplified in this MPR story, focusing on how Governor Tim Pawlenty’s budget cuts will adversely affect his hometown, a city heavily relient on state aid. If that doesn’t sound depressing enough, the city’s own mayor is unemployed (apparently the mayoral position isn’t a fulltime gig).
Remnants of the meat-packing industry can still be found, including the Armour gates and the stockyard exchange building (now a restaurant). The South St. Paul Riverfront Trail gives a good view of the river and the site of the former stockyard and the Makings of a City mural by Robert Zins gives an impressive visual overview of South St. Paul.
Perhaps my favorite icon in South St. Paul is the stone plaque for a missing sculpture. The sculpture is called “Legacy.”