The summer months are filled with cause for celebration, from the warming sun’s rays to the sizzle of the season’s first barbecue. But summer is also a time of remembrance. While we recognize national independence in July, June symbolizes how freedom was delayed for many of our nation’s African American communities.
June 19th, known as Juneteenth, is a holiday celebrated in recognition of the day when federal troops reached Galveston, Texas to ensure all those enslaved were freed. This event took place two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by President Abraham Lincoln in September 1862, representing a much-delayed message of freedom.
Over the past three years, the Plymouth Historical Society has been undertaking an inventorying effort of its collection. As part of this process, we’ve identified areas where we lack representation and one such area is the history of African Americans in our community. We acknowledge this is only the beginning of a much-needed process, but we wish to share an example from our research and encourage others to share stories and resources that could help us continue in this effort.
Searching through historical census data and periodical clippings, we learned about the Carver family. The 1920 census shows record of the married couple Fred S. and Georgia A. Carver who lived in Plymouth with their family, including Alice F. Carver, Fred’s mother, and their son, Wesley.
Further newspaper searches reveal the Carvers were entrepreneurs. In 1913, Fred founded the Railroad Porters’ and Waiter’s South Side Club and co-founded the Colored Railroadmen’s Association. After moving to Plymouth in 1919, the family later began Carver’s Inn, a restaurant advertising cool breezes and fresh country air along with chicken, barbecue, sandwiches and beer.
The location of the Carver family home and inn can be seen in a section map from the 1930s, near the present-day location of the Waterford Park Building along Highway 169. While the physical traces of the Carver’s business may no longer be found, we hope to continue to uncover more of their legacy. We welcome any information community members may have about the Carver family or other histories they wish to share by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling at 763.509.5282.
Special thanks to Ted Hoshal for his research which brought this information to light.
Rebekah Coffman is the manager of the Plymouth Historical Society. Learn more about Plymouth’s history at plymouthmnhistoricalsociety.org.