Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Historical Essay Vault: Lost Potential

St. Vincent main street looking east, 1918The excerpt below is from a historical essay written by a Humboldt-St. Vincent student, and originally copied off of the Red River Valley website. Currently, most of that website is offline, but we're trying to piece it back together again at its new location on Rootsweb where Ancestry.com has kindly given us free space to host it. Until it's back up, here's a bit of the history that the site preserves from the students who documented it through the Historical Essay program, the Red River Valley's answer to the Foxfire books...

It looked like St. Vincent was blessed with everything a good town needs: easy transportation, jobs, and good soil, and water. But somewhere they lost whatever it was they had had. For St. Vincent is no longer a little town with a lot of growing to do-- but now St. Vincent has little to look forward to except a slow death. In 1909 these words were written:
"Today we have abundant evidence that we are standing at the threshold of a new dominion that is to arise on this plateau of North America...With unshackled hands, free thought and liberty of conscience, the people of the valley of the Upper Mississippi and Red River of the North may add much to the luster of the Great Republic, born on the 4th of July, 1776. Let us pursue no narrow policy. Let us welcome the Dane, the Swede, the Norwegian, the Russian, the German, and all newcomers..."
Somewhere along the line we forgot how to use this potential, and now we are paying for it. We will probably never regain our way of life and the promises it showed, but this area will always be rich with the memories of the bright past.

St. Vincent main street looking west, 1918