3 thoughts on “Who Are We?

  1. Divided.

    Mary, in retrospect, your historic article “East Versus West” sums it up. If it were still 1913, I’d be voting for secession!

    If I may use a few quoted statements from “East Versus West”:
    “The scuttlebutt among kids was that west siders were not as good as east siders.”…”people say that there’s nothing on the west side, indicating that the west side does not contribute economically toward Little Falls”…”While people generally don’t like to pay taxes, they get particularly annoyed when they feel their taxes aren’t being spent fairly.”…”the east side was referred to as the “rich” side.”

    Those sentiments are what still exists today, as it did when I was going to school in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Many of my childhood friends’ parents moved from the west side to the east side in order to rid themselves of the stigma of being a “westsider”. When I had to go to public schools on the east side, my former friends didn’t bother to socialize with me. Most of my west side friends, many who have passed on, were the ones I socialized with back then. There were the conflicts/arguments/fights, to the point of “gang” mentality, between the east side and west side teens during the late 60’s and early 70’s.

    Little Falls has always been divided and will always be, not just from the mindset, but the physical barriers. The Mississippi River…although beautiful to some, and the constant railroad trains passing through town, are physical reminders of the constant divide between the east and west. When there were fewer trains, parades used to start on the west side, from what is now Lindbergh Drive South, and continue over the bridge to the east side. These were about the only times, that I can recall, that the city shared a common connection. Until there is a solution to the train problem, Little Falls will never regain any common connections.


    • Perhaps we need to return to the very beginnings of Little Falls. When the two sides were platted, they were platted separately and the east side was called Little Falls, while the west side was called Little Falls West. Create two distinct cities instead of one.


  2. Aging, quiet, with a can’t-do attitude, marked by stasis.

    When you look at census data for Little Falls, 20.6% of the population is over 65, as compared to 12.9% in the rest of the state. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/27/2737556.html From the information I’ve seen, much of rural Minnesota is aging and trying to figure out what to do to attract young people to return. There are some people in Little Falls that say they want to attract young families, but there isn’t much active movement on this front. Decent jobs need to be available for this to happen. We also need to quit saying what a nuisance young people are. (I return to the fact that a technical college planned to move to the city but was turned away because the city didn’t want them causing trouble. I’m astounded at this attitude.)

    As for our can’t-do attitude, any creative ideas that are put forth are summarily dismissed by people imagining the worst possible outcomes. I’ve seen some of this in the comments already. It’s so much easier to shoot down an idea than it is to figure out how to overcome potential problems in order to get it to work. This can’t-do attitude leads to stasis. We’re just standing in place, not accomplishing much of anything.

    In thinking about this over the past couple of weeks, I came to a startling realization. Maybe Little Falls is the way it is because that’s the way most people want it. They like it static and quiet, with nothing (like those pesky young people) bothering them.

    If this is the case, perhaps we need to follow one of my sister-in-law’s Sunday sermons. She addressed her aging church that didn’t want to change by telling them that it was okay to stay the same. However, they had to realize that if nothing changed, if they didn’t do anything to welcome young people, the church would die. It was inevitable. And it was okay. They could choose to have their church die with dignity. But die it would.

    While this may seem melodramatic … I don’t believe LF is close to death or on life support … larger cities than LF are dealing with collapse. Detroit comes to mind. View the show “Forgotten Planet” to see more examples of places that are now in ruins. http://press.discovery.com/us/3n/programs/forgotten-planet/

    So, what’s it going to be? Are we going to choose to die with dignity or reinvigorate the city?


Comments are closed.