Thursday, June 7, 2012

Foreign Lands: Not The Guy From Ulysses

We've been hanging near home lately, so let's take a little trip to the east.  Let's go back to St. Paul, in the very same alley we visited before.  But this sign is going to be a little less iconic than Norwest bank.

This one says "John E. Blomquist Inc.," who apparently did "management" and were "realtors."  It's yet another local Scandinavian name, so I'm not too confident we'll find anything about Mr. Blomquist or his company, but at least this one has a slightly abnormal spelling.

Apparently there is a John E. Bloomquist (note, two Os) from Montana, who shows up in court filings from time to time.  But as there is clearly only one O in our sign, that can't be our guy.  Let's see what else we can find.

Ah hah! This looks to be our guy.  JEBCO Group, Inc., previously known as John E. Blomquist Company, was founded in 1923 in St. Paul by a gentleman of that name.  To this day, they seem to do mortgages and property management, after starting out as a full service real estate firm.  Presumably it was that old guy who commissioned the painting of this sign.  The company was able to avoid a very small award of punitive damages in 1977, when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that punitive damages weren't available for contract disputes.  It's actually kind of hard to believe that a dispute over $500 could be cost-effective to appeal to the state Supreme Court, but then again, the company's law firm has since folded, so maybe that was typical for them.

It seems that in 2009, someone with the same name, probably not Senior unless he was very old, was the CEO of BancMidwest, which entered into an agreement with the Federal Reserve in connection with its restructuring.  My guess is that this Blomquist is the son or other descendant of our founding Blomquist.

Update:  Shortly after writing this, I began reading Steig Larsson's novels (probably the last to get around to it), and realized I probably should have gone with a reference to his works instead of the strained Joyce reference in the title.  Granted, had the thought occurred to me, I probably would have been tempted to add yet another level of obscurity and gone from Steig to The Stig and Top Gear (or The Stig and Top Gear).

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