"He was our quarterback."
"He was our quarterback."
Discovering the Fascinating Past of 1421 5th St. NE
A few years ago I lived down the block from a house with one odd architectural feature: above the doorway was a large piece of stone with “MRS A H WALSTEN - AD 1900” carved into it. I’d always wondered who exactly Mrs. A. H. Walsten was — the sort of person who carves their name into stone usually seems like the sort of person with a good story behind them. I decided to do a little digging this summer.
My first step was to look at the old building permit card for the house (formerly 1427 5th St. NE, now 1421 5th St. NE). It referenced a “Hannah Walsten” which gave me more of a name to go off of. Next I took a look at the digitized city directories to see if I could find any listings by that name. I found a reference to an “August Walsten” living there in 1900 and a “Mrs. Hannah M Walsten, midwife” living there in 1901 but not much else by that specific name. Next I decided to try a slightly different resource: the digitized issues of the Minneapolis Journal from the early 1900s. Maybe I could find a reference to their marriage? Or a real estate transaction for the house?
I ended up coming across much more than I anticipated! It turns out Mrs. Hannah Walsten had gone by five different names and been married to four different men (including August H. Walsten on two separate occasions). This came to light when she was arrested for performing a “criminal operation” (an abortion). She had been running what was referred to at the time as a “baby farm” (essentially an unlicensed orphanage) out of her home.
The old Minneapolis Journal had multiple stories detailing her trial and the various dramatic scenes which unfolded in court. She was ultimately found guilty — one story said she was the first woman to be successfully convicted of performing an abortion in Hennepin County — and sentenced to 28 months in Stillwater Prison.
This post was researched and written by Special Collections volunteer Nick Steffel. Photos of the house were taken by Nick.
his life was totally in danger.
True story; this officer (John Pike) got a settlement of $38,000 because he said he got depressed after pepper spraying these kids. Oh, the depression wasn’t for feeling remorseful for pepper spraying a bunch of college kids peacefully protesting. He got depressed because he said since the media kept playing the video of him pepper spraying peaceful kids without cause, he got threats and didn’t feel safe. He didn’t feel safe. I’m not making that up. This motherfucker collected nearly 40 grand on worker’s comp after assaulting a bunch of college kids.
I weep for humanity