St. Paul, MN
St. Paul is located in east-central Minnesota. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 56.2 square miles. The Mississippi River runs through the city and forms a municipal boundary on the city's west, southwest, and southeast sides. The city's largest lakes are Pig's Eye Lake, Lake Phalen, and Lake Como.
About 2000 years ago, the Hopewell culture Native Americans lived in the vicinity, burying their dead in mounds, now located in Indian Mounds Park. The Dakota Indians later used the same site to bury their dead. From about 1600 to 1837, the Dakota Indians lived near the site of the Mounds. In the early 1800s, a disparate group of fur traders, explorers, and missionaries came to the area for the protection that Fort Snelling offered. Many of these people had come south from Canada and were of French descent; others had come from the east after treaties with Native Americans officially opened the area.
Taste of Minnesota Celebration
In the early years, the settlers lived close to the fort along the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, but as a whiskey trade started to flourish, the military officers in Fort Snelling banned them from the lands the fort controlled, with one retired fur trader turned bootlegger, Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant particularly irritating the officials. By the early 1820s, the area had become important as a trading center, a destination for settlers heading west, and was known as Pig's Eye Landing. In 1837, a treaty between Henry Schoolcraft and about 200 Dakota Indians displaced the natives from the site. In 1841, Father Galtier established the St. Paul Catholic Church, and the name of the settlement was formally changed to St. Paul in honor of the newly constructed church and Father Galtier's favorite saint.
The next ten years saw continued growth in the area. In response, when the Minnesota Territory was formalized in 1849, St. Paul was named the capital. In 1850, the city narrowly survived a proposed law to move the capital to St. Peter when territorial legislator, Joe Rolette disappeared with the approved bill. In 1854, St. Paul incorporated as a city and, in 1858 Minnesota was admitted to the union with St. Paul becoming the thirty-second state capital.
Natural geography played a role in the settlement and development of St. Paul as a trade and transportation center. The Mississippi River valley in this area is defined by a series of stone bluffs that line both sides of the river. St. Paul grew up around Lambert's Landing, the last place to unload boats coming upriver at an easily accessible point, some seven miles downstream from St. Anthony Falls, the geographic feature that defined the location of Minneapolis and its prominence as the Mill City. This made St. Paul a gateway to the Upper Midwest for westbound settlers heading for the Minnesota frontier or the Dakota Territory. A cart and wagon road to the Red River valley was the first manifestation, followed by the establishment of numerous railroads that were headquartered in St. Paul, such as the Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railway, which are today part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. For well over a hundred years, St. Paul was a frontier town and a railroad town.
Today, St. Paul is a city with both a distinguished past and a promising future. The City of St. Paul is a gem on the river, alive with excitement and opportunity. St. Paul is the second most populous city of the state of Minnesota and is the seat of City, County, and State government, making St. Paul the center of political influence in Minnesota.
St. Paul has grown into an ethnically diverse city, boasting large groups of German, African American, Irish, Hmong, Norwegian, Mexican, and Swedish people in the area, weaving a culturally rich fabric within the city. Every year there are numerous ethnic festivals including one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the state of Minnesota, the African American Rondo Days, the Hmong Sports Festival, and the Asian Dragon Festival.
St. Paul is also known as the state’s art and cultural center. The city has numerous museums, such as the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Children’s Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Historical Society; historical locations including the Minnesota State Capitol, the St. Paul Cathedral, and Historic Fort Snelling; and performing arts venues, such as Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, History Theatre, and Park Square Theatre.
For entertainment, St. Paul is home to several sports teams: NHL’s Minnesota Wild, NLL’s Minnesota Swarm, MLB’s Saint Paul Saints, and the USL’s Minnesota Thunder. The Xcel Energy Center serves as home to the Minnesota Wild and the Swarm and also serves as a multi-purpose entertainment venue, hosting over 160 events annually. St. Paul also is home to numerous festivals, such as the Taste of Minnesota, and conventions, such as the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Downtown St. Paul is a business capital and home to many corporate headquarters including Lawson Software, Securian Financial Group, Ecolab, Minnesota Public Radio, and Gander Mountain. Healthcare represents the number one employment sector and the future’s highest growth sector in St. Paul. St. Paul also ranks third in the nation for higher education institutions per capita, positioning St. Paul as a college town.
Rice Park and Skating Rink
Paddleboats on the Mississippi River
St. Paul Skyline
Rice Park and Landmark Center
Minnesota Capital Building