I ALMOST CAN’T BELIEVE what I am reading:
The first “real” settlement, with housekeeping and women, in Olmsted County was made in 1853 by Philo S. Curtis in the village of Pleasant Grove, then known as Curtis. The following year Mr. Curtis opened the Pleasant Grove House, a three-story log hotel at the junction of the Pioneeer (Fort Atkinson) Trail and the Territorial Road (St. Paul-Dubuque Road)…
Reread those first words: The first “real” settlement, with housekeeping and women…
What exactly does that mean? The words are posted on a sign erected in 1966 (or maybe it was 1986 at the Pleasant Grove Town Hall; I can’t decipher the decade) by the Olmsted County Historical Society.
Pleasant Grove, as I understand the historical marker, was the first settlement in this southeastern Minnesota County where women lived. And those women were tasked with housekeeping. (Maybe more?) Now there’s nothing wrong with either sex assuming household duties. But I’m bothered by the wording; as a woman, it just strikes me as wrong. This is, after all, 2017, not the mid 1800s. A woman ran for President. Women ran for office everywhere, even in Olmsted County. We can vote. We can march. Perhaps this could be written in a more positive way to honor the early pioneer women who settled here.
And why were so many towns named after men? Did you catch that? Philo Curtis established the village, originally called Curtis. Thank goodness someone had the good sense to change the name to the much more pleasing Pleasant Grove.
Now, if only someone would replace the weathered, nearly unreadable historical marker with something more pleasant.
TELL ME: What are your thoughts on the wording of this sign? Should it be changed? If so, what would you write? Or is it OK given the historical context?
FYI: Please check back as I bring you more discoveries from my stop in Pleasant Grove several months ago, well before winter arrived.
© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling