Saint Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis Minnesota Ramsey County, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota
City of Saint Paul
Nearer to the camera, a park area with trees and grass. Behind that is a river which crosses the image. Across the river is a medium-sized downtown with mid- and high-rise building primarily gray and beige in color. The sky is clear with some cloud cover.
A reddish brown three-story stone mansion with several high chimneys, photographed from a low angle.
The wide, convex facade of a glassy sports arena and the sidewalk, lawn, and lampposts in front of it. The words "Xcel Energy Center" sit in red atop the stadium.
A one-story glass conservatory lit up yellow from the inside on a bluish night.
A towering gray stone cathedral with a round copper roof stands above autumn trees.
A wide white stone building photographed head on at night. It rises in the center to a hemispherical central rotunda.
Clockwise from the top: Downtown Saint Paul as seen from Harriet Island, the Xcel Energy Center, the Saint Paul Cathedral, the Minnesota State Capitol, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and the historic James J. Hill House
Official seal of Saint Paul, Minnesota
"the Capital City", "the Saintly City", "Pig's Eye", "STP", "Last City of the East"
The most livable city in America*
Location in Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota
Location in Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota
Saint Paul is located in Minnesota
Saint Paul
Saint Paul
Saint Paul is located in the United States
Saint Paul
Saint Paul
Saint Paul (the United States)
Coordinates: 44°56′39″N 93°5′37″W / 44.94417°N 93.09361°W / 44.94417; -93.09361Coordinates: 44°56′39″N 93°5′37″W / 44.94417°N 93.09361°W / 44.94417; -93.09361
Country United States
State Minnesota
IncorporatedMarch 4, 1854
Named forSt. Paul the Apostle
 • MayorMelvin Carter (DFL)
 • BodySaint Paul City Council
 • City56.20 sq mi (145.55 km2)
 • Land51.98 sq mi (134.62 km2)
 • Water4.22 sq mi (10.93 km2)
795 ft (214 m)
 • City285,068
 • Estimate 
 • RankCity: 63rd MN: 2nd
 • Density5,927.43/sq mi (2,288.60/km2)
 • Metro
3,629,190 (US: 16th)
 • Demonym
Saint Paulite
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
55101-8, 55116-7, 55119
FIPS code27-58000
Major airportMinneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport
InterstatesI-94 (MN).svg I-35 (MN).svg I-35E (MN).svg
U.S. RoutesUS 52.svg US 12.svg US 61.svg US 10.svg
Public transportationMetro Transit
* Current as of July 30, 2008.[4]

Saint Paul (abbreviated St. Paul) is the capital of the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is the county seat of Ramsey County, the state's smallest and most densely populated county.[5] As of 2019, its estimated population was 308,096, making it the 63rd-largest city in the United States and the 11th-most populous in the Midwest.[3] Most of the city lies east of the Mississippi River at the confluence with the Minnesota River. Minneapolis, the state's largest city, is across the river to the west. Together they are known as the "Twin Cities". They are the core of Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, home to over 3.6 million and the third-largest in the Midwest.[6]

The Legislative Assembly of the Minnesota Territory established the Town of St. Paul as its capital near existing Dakota Sioux settlements in November 1849. It remained a town until 1854. The Dakota name for where Saint Paul is situated is "Imnizaska" for the "white rock" bluffs along the river. The city is known for the Xcel Energy Center, home to the Minnesota Wild.[7] Regionally, it is known for the Science Museum of Minnesota[8] and its new soccer stadium, Allianz Field. As a business hub of the Upper Midwest, it is the headquarters of companies such as Ecolab.[9] Saint Paul and Minneapolis are also known for their high literacy rate.[10]

The first structure built in what became St. Paul was constructed in 1838 at the entrance to Fountain Cave overlooking the Mississippi. It was a tavern built by Pigs Eye Parrant near where Randolph Avenue today meets the river bluff. Parrant's tavern was well known and the surrounding area came to be known as Pigs Eye. That lasted until the Catholic missionary Lucien Galtier arrived in 1840. He did not care for Parrant, his tavern, or the use of his name. Galtier's arrival coincided with Parrant's eviction from his establishment and the building of a log chapel near where steamboats had an easy landing. Galtier named the chapel St. Paul's, making it known that the settlement was then to be called by that name, as "Saint Paul as applied to a town or city was well appropriated, this monosyllable is short, sounds good, it is understood by all Christian denominations".[11] While "Pigs Eye" was no longer the settlement's name, it came to refer to wetlands and two islands south of the city's center. The original town was laid out on two plats covering 240 acres. The first was filed in the Territory of Wisconsin, the second in the Territory of Minnesota. The boundaries were Elm Street, 7th Street, Wacouta Street, and the river. Between 1849 and 1887 the boundaries were expanded 14 times to their present extent. As the region grew the city became the seat of an archdiocese that built St. Paul's Cathedral, overlooking the downtown.


A burial mound at Indian Mounds Park

Burial mounds in present-day Indian Mounds Park suggest the area was inhabited by the Hopewell Native Americans about 2,000 years ago.[12][13] From the early 17th century to 1837, the Mdewakanton Dakota, a tribe of the Sioux, lived near the mounds after being displaced from their ancestral grounds by Mille Lacs Lake from advancing Ojibwe.[12][14] The Dakota called the area Imniza-Ska ("white cliffs") for its exposed white sandstone cliffs on the river's eastern side.[15][16] The Imniza-Ska were full of caves that were useful to the Dakota. The explorer Jonathan Carver documented the historic Wakan tipi in the bluff below the burial mounds in 1767. In the Menominee language St. Paul was called Sāēnepān-Menīkān, which means "ribbon, silk or satin village", suggesting its role in trade throughout the region after the introduction of European goods.[17]

Following the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike (U.S. Army) negotiated approximately 100,000 acres (40,000 ha; 160 sq mi) of land from the indigenous Dakota in 1805 to establish a fort. The land was on both banks of the Mississippi River, from Saint Anthony Falls in present-day Minneapolis to its confluence with the Saint Croix River.[18] Fort Snelling was built on the territory in 1819 at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, which formed a natural barrier to both Native American nations. The 1837 Treaty with the Sioux ceded all tribal land east of the Mississippi to the U.S. government.[19] Taoyateduta (Chief Little Crow V) moved his band at Kaposia across the river a few miles south onto Dakota land.[20][21] Fur traders, explorers, and missionaries came to the area for the fort's protection. Many of the settlers were French-Canadians who long predated American pioneers. But as a whiskey trade flourished, military officers banned settlers from the fort-controlled lands. Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, a former fur trader turned bootlegger who particularly irritated officials,[22] set up his tavern outside the military reservation, upriver from Lambert's Landing.[16] By the early 1840s, the community had become a trading center and destination for pioneers heading west. Locals called the area Pig's Eye (French: L'Œil du Cochon) or Pig's Eye Landing after Parrant's popular tavern.[22] In 1842 a raiding party of Ojibwe attacked the Kaposia encampment where a creek drained into wetlands two miles south of Wakan Tipi.[23] The creek was thereafter called Battle Creek and is today parkland. In the 1840s-70s the Métis brought their oxen and Red River Carts down Kellogg Street to Lambert's landing to ship buffalo hides to market from the Red River of the North. St. Paul was the southernmost stop on the Red River Trails. In 1840 Pierre Bottineau became a resident of St. Paul with a claim in the center of the settlement.[24]

Joe Rolette was responsible for preventing the capital of Minnesota from moving to Saint Peter.

In 1841, Father Lucien Galtier was sent to minister to the Catholic French Canadians and established a chapel, named for his favorite saint, Paul the Apostle, on the bluffs above Lambert's Landing.[25][26] Galtier informed the settlement it was to adopt the name Saint Paul in honor of his new chapel and to give up use of "Pigs Eye".[22] In 1847, the New York educator Harriet Bishop moved to the area and opened the city's first school.[27] The Minnesota Territory was formalized in 1849 with Saint Paul as its capital. The U.S. Army made the territory's first improved road in 1849 from Point Douglas, Cottage Grove, Red Rock, St. Paul, St. Anthony to Fort Ripley.[28] In 1857, the territorial legislature voted to move the capital to Saint Peter, but Joe Rolette, a territorial legislator, stole the physical text of the approved bill and went into hiding, preventing the move.[29] On May 11, 1858, Minnesota was admitted to the union as the 32nd state, with Saint Paul still capital. Soon thereafter the country was torn by the Civil War. When the state learned that Governor Ramsey had volunteered a regiment to fight the South, communities across the state put together companies of volunteers for that regiment. St. Paul contributed A and C Companies to the formation of the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment.

Stereoscopic view of St. Paul
Red river ox cart and driver in St. Paul

The year 1858 saw more than 1,000 steamboats service Saint Paul,[27] making it a gateway for settlers to the Minnesota frontier or Dakota Territory. Natural geography was a primary reason the city became a landing. The area was the last accessible point to unload boats coming upriver due to the Mississippi River Valley's stone bluffs. During this period, Saint Paul was called "The Last City of the East."[30] Industrialist James J. Hill constructed his railroad empire into the Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railway, both headquartered in Saint Paul until merging into the Burlington Northern. Today they are part of the BNSF Railway.[30]

The Spanish–American War saw the trans-Atlantic ocean liner SS Saint Paul (1895) converted and commissioned into the United States Navy as an auxiliary cruiser. She was the first ship in the navy to bear the city's name. She was decommissioned and returned to her owners only to be conscripted for service again for WWI, after which she was again decommissioned and scrapped. When war broke out, volunteers were requested from the states. Minnesota quickly had enough to form four units, the 12th-15th Minnesota Infantry Regiments. Of these, only the 13th was deployed to the Philippines. Companies C, D, E & H were from St. Paul and saw heavy combat in Manila.[31]

In 1900 an Irishman, John O'Connor, became chief of the St. Paul police and was known on the street as "the Big Fellow".[32] That year he instituted the "O'Connor Layover Agreement" and made an effort to inform criminals of its existence.[32] St. Paul police would ignore any transgressions of the law that took place outside their jurisdiction as long as criminals "checked in" when they arrived in town. There were three conditions to the agreement: check in with the police; pay a "donation" to the chief; and commit no crimes in St. Paul.[32] Check-in was at the Savoy Hotel downtown. A great deal of "business" was taken care of at the "Green Lantern" speakeasy near the train station in Lowertown. It was also known for illegal gaming. More got done in the caves across the river from downtown. In 1930 the local mob even arranged that St. Paul's new police chief would be Tom Brown. The "Agreement" lasted through the prohibition until 1935.[32] In that time St. Paul welcomed John Dillinger, Billie Frechette, Ma Barker, Baby Face Nelson, Alvin Karpis, Machine Gun Kelly, Kid Cann and many of their Irish associates.[32] Barker's gang resided a block south of the city line on Robert Street. Karpis said, “There was probably never before as complete a gathering of criminals in one room in the United States, as there was in the Green Lantern on New Year’s Eve in 1931. There were escapees from every U.S. Penitentiary. I was dazzled.”[33] Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde are also known to have called on the city. According to crime historian Paul Maccabee, the only criminal there is no record of visiting St. Paul during this period is Pretty Boy Floyd.[34] Events in 1935 changed the St. Paul police department and closed St. Paul's open doors.[32]

On August 20, 1904, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes damaged hundreds of downtown buildings, causing $1.78 million ($50.65 million today) in damages and ripping spans from the High Bridge.[35]

WWII On the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Ward was manned by naval reservists.[36] It had a crew of 115, of whom at least 85 were from St. Paul. Duty that morning was patrolling the entrance of Pearl Harbor, T.H. The watch caught sight of a periscope trailing a freighter into the harbor and the Ward took action against the unknown intruder. The crew became the first Americans to fire their weapons in WWII. A 4"/50 gun from the ship can be seen on the state capitol grounds. WWII brought into being the second USS St. Paul. This time the city had a Baltimore-class cruiser bearing its name. That ship's bell is on display in Saint Paul's city hall.

During the 1960s, in conjunction with urban renewal, Saint Paul razed neighborhoods west of downtown for the creation of the interstate freeway system.[37] From 1959 to 1961, the Rondo Neighborhood was demolished for the construction of Interstate 94. The loss of that African American enclave brought attention to racial segregation and unequal housing in northern cities.[38] The annual Rondo Days celebration commemorates the African American community.[39]

Downtown St. Paul had skyscraper-building booms beginning in the 1970s. Because the city center is directly beneath the flight path into the airport across the river there is a height restriction for all construction. The tallest buildings, such as Galtier Plaza (Jackson and Sibley Towers), The Pointe of Saint Paul condominiums, and the city's tallest building, Wells Fargo Place (formerly Minnesota World Trade Center), were constructed in the late 1980s.[40] In the 1990s and 2000s, the tradition of bringing new immigrant groups to the city continued. As of 2004, nearly 10% of the city's population were recent Hmong immigrants from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar.[41] Saint Paul is the location of the Hmong Archives.[42]


The Meeker Island Lock and Dam was the first lock and dam on the Mississippi River in 1902.

Saint Paul's history and growth as a landing port are tied to water. The city's defining physical characteristic, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, was carved into the region during the last ice age, as were the steep river bluffs and dramatic palisades on which the city is built. Receding glaciers and Lake Agassiz forced torrents of water from a glacial river that undercut the river valleys.[43] The city is situated in east-central Minnesota.

The Mississippi River forms a municipal boundary on part of the city's west, southwest, and southeast sides. Minneapolis, the state's largest city, lies to the west. Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Roseville, and Maplewood are north, with Maplewood lying to the east. The cities of West Saint Paul and South Saint Paul are to the south, as are Lilydale, Mendota, and Mendota Heights, across the river from the city. The city's largest lakes are Pig's Eye Lake, which is part of the Mississippi, Lake Phalen, and Lake Como. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 56.18 square miles (145.51 km2), of which 51.98 square miles (134.63 km2) is land and 4.20 square miles (10.88 km2) is water.[44]

The Parks and Recreation department is responsible for 160 parks and 41 recreation centers.[45] The city ranked #2 in park access and quality, after only Minneapolis, in the 2018 ParkScore ranking of the top 100 park systems across the United States according to the nonprofit Trust for Public Land.[46]


Saint Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development divides Saint Paul into seventeen Planning Districts, created in 1979 to allow neighborhoods to participate in governance and use Community Development Block Grants. With a funding agreement directly from the city, the councils share a pool of funds.[47] The councils have significant land-use control, a voice in guiding development, and they organize residents.[48] The boundaries are adjusted depending on population changes; as such, they sometimes overlap established neighborhoods.[49] Though these neighborhoods changed over time, preservationists have saved many of their historically significant structures.

The city's 17 Planning Districts are:


The city skyline from the southwest in West Side neighborhood in the winter

Saint Paul has a continental climate typical of the Upper Midwestern United States. Winters are frigid and snowy, while summers are warm to hot and humid. On the Köppen climate classification, Saint Paul falls in the hot summer humid continental climate zone (Dfa). The city experiences a full range of precipitation and related weather events, including snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and fog.[50]

Due to its northerly location and lack of large bodies of water to moderate the air, Saint Paul is sometimes subjected to cold Arctic air masses, especially during late December, January, and February. The average annual temperature of 47.05 °F (8.36 °C) gives the Minneapolis−Saint Paul metropolitan area the coldest annual mean temperature of any major metropolitan area in the continental U.S.[51]

Climate data for Saint Paul, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 57
Average high °F (°C) 26
Daily mean °F (°C) 16.5
Average low °F (°C) 7
Record low °F (°C) −29
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.79
Source 1: U.S. climate data[52]
Source 2: The Weather Channel[53]


Demographic profile 2010[55] 2000[56] 1990[57] 1970[57]
White 60.1% 67.0% 82.3% 95.4%
 —Non-Hispanic 55.9% 64.0% 80.4% 93.6%[58]
Black or African American 15.7% 11.7% 7.4% 3.5%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 9.6% 7.9% 4.2% 2.1%[58]
Asian 15.0% 12.4% 7.1% 0.2%

The earliest known inhabitants from about 400 A.D. were members of the Hopewell tradition who buried their dead in mounds (now Indian Mounds Park) on the river bluffs. The next known inhabitants were the Mdewakanton Dakota in the 17th century who fled their ancestral home of Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota in response to westward expansion of the Ojibwe nation.[14] The Ojibwe later occupied the north (east) bank of the Mississippi River.

By 1800, French-Canadian explorers came through the region and attracted fur traders to the area. Fort Snelling and Pig's Eye Tavern also brought the first Yankees from New England and English, Irish, and Scottish immigrants who had enlisted in the army and settled nearby after discharge. These early settlers and entrepreneurs built houses on the heights north of the river. The first wave of immigration came with the Irish, who settled at Connemara Patch along the Mississippi, named for their home, Connemara, Ireland. The Irish became prolific in politics, city governance, and public safety, much to the chagrin of the Germans and French who had grown into the majority. In 1850, the first of many groups of Swedish immigrants passed through Saint Paul on their way to farming communities in northern and western regions of the territory. A large group settled in Swede Hollow, which later became home to Poles, Italians, and Mexicans. The last Swedish presence moved up Saint Paul's East Side along Payne Avenue in the 1950s.[59]

Of people who specified European ancestry in the 2005–07 American Community Survey of St. Paul, 26.4% were German, 13.8% Irish, 8.4% Norwegian, 7.0% Swedish, and 6.2% English. There is also a visible community of people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, representing 4.2% of the population. By the 1980s, the Thomas-Dale area, once an Austro-Hungarian enclave known as Frogtown (German: Froschburg), became home to Vietnamese people who had left their war-torn country. A settlement program for the Hmong diaspora came soon after, and by 2000, the Saint Paul Hmong were the largest urban contingent in the United States.[60][61][62] Mexican immigrants have settled in Saint Paul's West Side since the 1930s, and have grown enough that Mexico opened a foreign consulate in 2005.[63][64]

The majority of residents claiming religious affiliation are Christian, split between the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations. The Roman Catholic presence comes from Irish, German, Scottish, and French Canadian settlers, who in time were bolstered by Hispanic immigrants. There are Jewish synagogues such as Mount Zion Temple and relatively small populations of Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.[65] The city has been dubbed "paganistan" due to its large Wiccan population.[66]

As of the 2005–07 American Community Survey, White Americans made up 66.5% of Saint Paul's population, of whom 62.1% were non-Hispanic whites, down from 93.6% in 1970.[57] Blacks or African Americans made up 13.9% of the population, of whom 13.5% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.8%, of whom 0.6% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 12.3%, of whom 12.2% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1%. People of other races made up 3.4%, of whom 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 3.1%, of whom 2.6% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 8.7%.

As of the 2000 U.S. Census,[67] there were 287,151 people, 112,109 households, and 60,999 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 67.0% White, 11.7% African American, 1.1% Native American, 12.4% Asian (mostly Hmong), 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.8% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 7.9% of the population.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census[2], there were 285,068 people, 111,001 households, and 59,689 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,484.2 inhabitants per square mile (2,117.5/km2). There were 120,795 housing units at an average density of 2,323.9 per square mile (897.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 60.1% white, 15.7% African American, 1.1% Native American, 15.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 9.6% of the population.

There were 111,001 households, of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.2% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.33.

The median age in the city was 30.9 years. 25.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 13.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.6% were from 25 to 44; 22.6% were from 45 to 64; and 9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.


The Minneapolis–Saint Paul–Bloomington area employs 1,570,700 people in the private sector as of July 2008, 82.43% of whom work in private service providing-related jobs.[68]

Major corporations headquartered in Saint Paul include Ecolab, a chemical and cleaning product company[69] that the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named in 2008 as the eighth-best place to work in the Twin Cites for companies with 1,000 full-time Minnesota employees,[70] and Securian Financial Group Inc.[71]

The 3M Company moved to St. Paul in 1910. It built a art deco headquarters at 900 Bush that still stands. Headquarters operations moved to the Maplewood campus in 1964. 3M manufacturing continued for a couple more decades until all St. Paul operations ceased.

The city was home to the Ford Motor Company's Twin Cities Assembly Plant, which opened in 1924 and closed at the end of 2011. The plant was in Highland Park on the Mississippi River, adjacent to Lock and Dam No. 1, Mississippi River, which generates hydroelectric power.[72] The site is now being cleared of buildings and tested for contamination to prepare for redevelopment.[73] The lead developer, the Ryan Company, has released a proposed set of zoning changes that will shape how the land will be used.[74]

Saint Paul has financed city development with tax increment financing (TIF). In 2018, it had 55 TIF districts. Projects that have benefited from TIF funding include the St. Paul Saints stadium, and the affordable housing along the Twin Cities Metro Green Line.[75]


Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a free public greenhouse and urban zoo open year-round.

Every January, Saint Paul hosts the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, a tradition that began in 1886 when a New York reporter called Saint Paul "another Siberia". The organizers had a model in the Montreal Winter Carnival the year before. The event has now been held 135 times with an attendance of 350,000. It includes an ice sculpting competition, a snow sculpting competition, a medallion treasure hunt, food, activities, and an ice palace when it can be arranged.[76] The Como Zoo and Conservatory and adjoining Japanese Garden are popular year-round. The historic Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul hosts cultural and arts organizations. The city's recreation sites include Indian Mounds Park, Battle Creek Regional Park, Harriet Island Regional Park, Highland Park, the Wabasha Street Caves, Lake Como, Lake Phalen, and Rice Park, as well as several areas abutting the Mississippi River. The Irish Fair of Minnesota is held annually at the Harriet Island Pavilion area. The country's largest Hmong American sports festival, the Freedom Festival, is held the first weekend of July at McMurray Field near Como Park.

The city is associated with the Minnesota State Fair in neighboring Falcon Heights just west of Como Park. The fair dates to before statehood. With the competing interests of Minneapolis and St. Paul, it was held on "neutral ground" between both. That area refused to become part of St. Paul or Roseville and became Falcon Heights in the 1950s. The University of Minnesota Saint Paul Campus is actually in Falcon Heights.

Fort Snelling is often identified as being in St. Paul but is actually its own unorganized territory. The eastern part of Fort Snelling Unorganized Territory (MSP included) has a St. Paul mailing address. The western side has a Minneapolis ZIP code.

The Minnesota Centennial Showboat was anchored in the Mississippi River along Harriet Island.

Saint Paul is the birthplace of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, who lived in Merriam Park from infancy until 1960.[77] Schulz's Peanuts inspired giant, decorated sculptures around the city, a Chamber of Commerce promotion in the late 1990s.[78] Other notable residents include writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and playwright August Wilson, who premiered many of the ten plays in his Pittsburgh Cycle at the local Penumbra Theater.[79]

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts hosts theater productions and the Minnesota Opera is a founding tenant.[80] RiverCentre, attached to Xcel Energy Center, serves as the city's convention center. The city has contributed to the music of Minnesota and the Twin Cities music scene through various venues. Great jazz musicians have passed through the influential Artists' Quarter, first established in the 1970s in Whittier, Minneapolis, and moved to downtown Saint Paul in 1994.[81] Artists' Quarter also hosts the Soapboxing Poetry Slam, home of the 2009 National Poetry Slam Champions. At The Black Dog, in Lowertown, many French or European jazz musicians (Evan Parker, Tony Hymas, Benoît Delbecq, François Corneloup) have met Twin Cities musicians and started new groups touring in Europe. Groups and performers such as Fantastic Merlins, Dean Magraw/Davu Seru, Merciless Ghosts, and Willie Murphy are regulars. The Turf Club in Midway has been a music scene landmark since the 1940s.[82] Saint Paul is also the home base of the internationally acclaimed Rose Ensemble.[83] As an Irish stronghold, the city boasts popular Irish pubs with live music, such as Shamrocks, The Dubliner, and O'Gara's. The internationally acclaimed Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is the nation's only full-time professional chamber orchestra.[84] The Minnesota Centennial Showboat on the Mississippi River began in 1958 with Minnesota's first centennial celebration.[85]

Saint Paul hosts a number of museums, including the University of Minnesota's Goldstein Museum of Design,[86] the Minnesota Children's Museum,[87] the Schubert Club Museum of Musical Instruments,[88][89] the Minnesota Museum of American Art,[90][91] the Traces Center for History and Culture,[92] the Minnesota History Center, the Alexander Ramsey House, the James J. Hill House, the Minnesota Transportation Museum, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Twin City Model Railroad Museum.


The Xcel Energy Center hosts hockey and other professional sports in addition to concerts and other events.

The Saint Paul division of Parks and Recreation runs over 1,500 organized sports teams.[93]

Saint Paul hosts a number of professional, semi-professional, and amateur sports teams. The Minnesota Wild[7] play their home games in downtown Saint Paul's Xcel Energy Center, which opened in 2000. The Wild brought the NHL back to Minnesota for the first time since 1993, when the Minnesota North Stars left the state for Dallas, Texas.[7] (The World Hockey Association's Minnesota Fighting Saints played in Saint Paul from 1972 to 1977.) Citing the history of hockey in the Twin Cities and teams at all levels, Sports Illustrated called Saint Paul the new Hockeytown U.S.A. in 2007.[94]

The Xcel Energy Center, a multipurpose entertainment and sports venue, can host concerts and accommodate nearly all sporting events. It occupies the site of the demolished Saint Paul Civic Center. The Xcel Energy Center hosts the Minnesota high school boys hockey tournament, the Minnesota high school girls' volleyball tournament, and concerts throughout the year. In 2004, it was named the best overall sports venue in the US by ESPN.[95]

Two Circus Juventas students on silks

The St. Paul Saints is the city's independent league baseball team. There have been several different teams called the Saints over the years. Founded in 1884, they were shut down in 1961 after the Minnesota Twins moved to Bloomington. The Saints were brought back in 1993 as an independent baseball team in the Northern League, moving to the American Association in 2006. Their home games are played at the open-air CHS Field in downtown's Lowertown Historic District.[96] Four noted Major League All-Star baseball players are natives of Saint Paul: Hall of Fame outfielder Dave Winfield, Hall of Fame infielder Paul Molitor, Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris, and first baseman Joe Mauer. The all-black St. Paul Colored Gophers played four seasons in Saint Paul from 1907 to 1911.[97]

The St. Paul Twin Stars of the National Premier Soccer League play their home games at Macalester Stadium.[98] St. Paul's first curling club was founded in 1888. The current club, the St. Paul Curling Club, was founded in 1912 and is the largest curling club in the United States.[99] The Minnesota RollerGirls are a flat-track roller derby league based in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Minnesota's oldest athletic organization, the Minnesota Boat Club, resides in the Mississippi River on Raspberry Island.[100] Saint Paul is also home to Circus Juventas, the largest circus arts school in North America.[101]

On March 25, 2015, Major League Soccer announced that it had awarded its 23rd MLS franchise to Minnesota United FC, a team from the lower-level North American Soccer League. Bill McGuire and his ownership group, which includes Jim Pohlad of the Minnesota Twins, Glen Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves, former Minnesota Wild investor Glen Nelson, and his daughter Wendy Carlson Nelson of the Carlson hospitality company, had intended to build a privately financed soccer-specific stadium in Downtown Minneapolis near the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. But their plan was met with heavy opposition from former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who said her city was suffering from "stadium fatigue" after building three stadiums, for the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, within a six-year span.[102] On July 1, 2015, after failing to reach an agreement with the city of Minneapolis, McGuire and his partners turned their focus to Saint Paul.[103]

On October 23, 2015, Bill McGuire of Minnesota United FC and former Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced that a privately financed soccer-specific stadium would be built on the vacant Metro Transit bus barn site in Saint Paul's Midway neighborhood near the intersection of Snelling Avenue and University Avenue. It is midway between downtown Saint Paul and downtown Minneapolis. The stadium, Allianz Field, opened in April 2019 and seats 19,400.[104] The team began playing in the MLS in 2017.[105]

On May 15, 2018, the Minnesota Whitecaps joined the National Women's Hockey League as their fifth franchise.[106] Founded in 2004, the team originally played in the Western Women's Hockey League before going independent in 2010 when that league folded. The Whitecaps play their home games at TRIA Rink, a 1,200-seat hockey arena and practice facility in downtown Saint Paul.[107] The team began playing in the NWHL in 2018.[108]

The Timberwolves, Twins, Vikings, and Lynx all play in Minneapolis.[109]

Professional sports in Saint Paul
Club Sport League Venue (capacity) Championships
Minnesota Wild Ice hockey National Hockey League Xcel Energy Center (17,954)
Minnesota Whitecaps Ice hockey National Women's Hockey League TRIA Rink (1,200) Clarkson Cup: 2010

Isobel Cup: 2019

Minnesota United FC Soccer Major League Soccer Allianz Field (19,400) NASL: 2011[110] and 2014[111]
Minnesota Wind Chill Ultimate American Ultimate Disc League Sea Foam Stadium (3,500)
St. Paul Saints Baseball American Association CHS Field (7,210) NL: 1993, 1995, 1996, and 2004

AA:[112] 2019

Government and politics

Saint Paul has a variant of the strong mayor–council form of government.[113] The mayor is the chief executive and chief administrative officer of the city and the seven-member city council is its legislative body.[114][115] The mayor is elected by the entire city, while members of the city council are elected from seven different geographic wards of approximately equal population.[116][117] Both the mayor and council members serve four-year terms.[118] The current mayor is Melvin Carter (DFL), Saint Paul's first African-American mayor. Aside from Norm Coleman, who became a Republican during his second term, Saint Paul has not elected a Republican mayor since 1952.[119]

The city is also the county seat of Ramsey County, named for Alexander Ramsey, the state's first governor. The county once spanned much of the present-day metropolitan area and was originally to be named Saint Paul County after the city. Today it is geographically the smallest county and the most densely populated.[5] Ramsey is the only home rule county in Minnesota; the seven-member Board of Commissioners appoints a county manager whose office is in the combination city hall/county courthouse along with the Minnesota Second Judicial Courts.[120][121] The nearby Law Enforcement Center houses the Ramsey County Sheriff's office.

State and federal

Saint Paul is the capital of Minnesota. The city hosts the capitol building, designed by Saint Paul resident Cass Gilbert, and the House and Senate office buildings. The Minnesota Governor's Residence, which is used for some state functions, is on Summit Avenue. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (affiliated with the Democratic Party) is headquartered in Saint Paul. Numerous state departments and services are also headquartered in Saint Paul, such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The city is split into four Minnesota Senate districts (64, 65, 66 and 67) and eight Minnesota House of Representatives districts (64A, 64B, 65A, 65B, 66A, 66B, 67A and 67B), all of which are held by Democrats.[122][123]

Saint Paul is the heart of Minnesota's 4th congressional district, represented by Democrat Betty McCollum. The district has been in DFL hands without interruption since 1949. Minnesota is represented in the US Senate by Democrat Amy Klobuchar, a former Hennepin County Attorney, and Democrat Tina Smith, former Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota.

Minnesota House and Senate districts
Senate House
Name First elected Party Name First elected Party
64 Dick Cohen 1986 DFL 64A Kaohly Her 2018 DFL
64B Dave Pinto 2014 DFL
65 Sandy Pappas 1990 DFL 65A Rena Moran 2010 DFL
65B Carlos Mariani 1990 DFL
66 John Marty* 1992 DFL 66A John Lesch 2002 DFL
66B Alice Hausman* 1989 DFL
67 Foung Hawj 2012 DFL 67A Tim Mahoney 1998 DFL
67B Jay Xiong 2018 DFL

*District also includes Falcon Heights, Lauderdale and Roseville.


1930s-era students at Hamline University taking finals

Saint Paul is second in the United States in the number of higher education institutions per capita, behind Boston.[124] Higher education institutions that call Saint Paul home include three public and eight private colleges and universities and five post-secondary institutions. Well-known colleges and universities include the Saint Catherine University, Concordia University, Hamline University, Macalester College, and the University of St. Thomas. Metropolitan State University and Saint Paul College, which focus on non-traditional students, are based in Saint Paul, as well as a law school, Mitchell Hamline School of Law.[125]

The Saint Paul Public Schools district is the state's largest school district and serves approximately 39,000 students. The district is extremely diverse with students from families speaking 90 different languages, although only five languages are used for most school communication: English, Spanish, Hmong, Karen, and Somali. The district runs 82 different schools, including 52 elementary schools, twelve middle schools, seven high schools, ten alternative schools, and one special education school, employing over 6,500 teachers and staff. The school district also oversees community education programs for pre-K and adult learners, including Early Childhood Family Education, GED Diploma, language programs, and various learning opportunities for community members of all ages. In 2006, Saint Paul Public Schools celebrated its 150th anniversary.[126] Some students attend public schools in other school districts chosen by their families under Minnesota's open enrollment statute.[127]

A variety of K-12 private, parochial, and public charter schools are also represented in the city. In 1992, Saint Paul became the first city in the US to sponsor and open a charter school, now found in most states across the nation.[128] Saint Paul is currently home to 21 charter schools as well as 38 private schools.[129] The Saint Paul Public Library system includes a central library and twelve branch locations.[130]


Minnesota Public Radio headquarters in downtown Saint Paul

Residents of Saint Paul can receive 10 broadcast television stations, five of which broadcast from within Saint Paul. One daily newspaper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, two weekly neighborhood newspapers, the East Side Review and City Pages (owned by The Star Tribune Company), and several monthly or semimonthly neighborhood papers serve the city. It was the only city in the United States with a population of 250,000 or more to see an increase in circulation of Sunday newspapers in 2007.[131] Several media outlets based in neighboring Minneapolis also serve the Saint Paul community, including the Star Tribune. Saint Paul is home to Minnesota Public Radio, a three-format system that broadcasts on nearly 40 stations[132] around the Midwest. MPR locally delivers news and information, classical, and The Current (which plays a wide variety of music). The station has 110,000 regional members and more than 800,000 listeners each week throughout the Upper Midwest, the largest audience of any regional public radio network.[133] Also operating as part of American Public Media, MPR's programming reaches five million listeners, most notably through Live from Here, hosted by Chris Thile (previously known as A Prairie Home Companion, hosted by Garrison Keillor, who also lives in the city).[133] The Fitzgerald Theater, renamed in 1994 for Saint Paul native and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, is home to the show.[134]


Interstate and roadways

I-94 as it enters downtown Saint Paul from the west

Residents use Interstate 35E running north–south and Interstate 94 running east–west. Trunk highways include U.S. Highway 52, Minnesota State Highway 280, and Minnesota State Highway 5. Saint Paul has several unique roads such as Ayd Mill Road, Phalen Boulevard and Shepard Road/Warner Road, which diagonally follow particular geographic features in the city. Biking is also gaining popularity, due to the creation of more paved bike lanes that connect to other bike routes throughout the metropolitan area[135] and the creation of Nice Ride Minnesota, a seasonally operated nonprofit bicycle sharing and rental system that has over 1,550 bicycles and 170 stations in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul.[136] Downtown Saint Paul has a five-mile (8 km) enclosed skyway system over twenty-five city blocks.[137] The 563-mile (906 km) Avenue of the Saints connects Saint Paul with Saint Louis, Missouri.

The layout of city streets and roads has often drawn complaints. While he was Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman,[138] and remarked that the streets were designed by "drunken Irishmen".[139] He later apologized, though people had been complaining about the fractured grid system for more than a century by that point.[139] Some of the city's road design is the result of the curve of the Mississippi River, hilly topography, conflicts between developers of different neighborhoods in the early city, and grand plans only half-realized. Outside of downtown, the roads are less confusing, but most roads are named, rather than numbered, increasing the difficulty for non-natives to navigate.[140]

Mass transit

Metro Transit provides bus service and light rail in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. The METRO Green Line is an 11-mile (18 km) light rail line that connects downtown Saint Paul to downtown Minneapolis with 14 stations in Saint Paul. The Green Line runs west along University Avenue, through the University of Minnesota campus, until it links up and then shares stations with the METRO Blue Line in downtown Minneapolis. Construction began in November 2010 and the line began service on June 14, 2014.[141] Roughly 45,000 people rode on the first day; an average 28,000 riders are expected per day.[142]

Metro Transit opened the METRO A Line, Minneapolis–Saint Paul's first arterial bus rapid transit line, along Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway. The A Line connects the METRO Blue Line at 46th Street station to Rosedale Center with a connection at the Green Line Snelling Avenue station. The A Line is the first in a series of planned arterial bus rapid transit lines and is set to open in early 2016.[143]


Amtrak's Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle stops twice daily in each direction at the newly renovated Saint Paul Union Depot.[144] Ridership on the train increased about 6% from 2005 to over 505,000 in fiscal year 2007.[145] A Minnesota Department of Transportation study found that increased daily service to Chicago should be economically viable, especially if it originates in Saint Paul and does not experience delays from the rest of the western route of the Empire Builder.[146] Saint Paul is the site of the Pig's Eye Yard, a major freight classification yard for Canadian Pacific Railway.[147] As of 2003, the yard handled over 1,000 freight cars per day.[147] Both Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe run trains through the yard, though they are not classified at Pig's Eye.[147] Burlington Northern Santa Fe operates the large Northtown Yard in Minneapolis, which handles about 600 cars per day.[148] There are several other small yards located around the city.

Saint Paul Downtown Airport (Holman Field)


Holman Airfield is across the river from downtown St. Paul. Lamprey Lake was there until the Army Corps of Engineers filled it with dredgings starting in the early 1920s. Northwest Airlines began initial operations from Holman in 1926. During WWII Northwest had a contract to install upgraded radar systems in B-24s, employing 5,000 at the airfield. After WWII, Holman Airfield competed with the Speedway Field for the Twin Cities' growing aviation industry and lost out in the end. Today Holman is a reliever airport run by the Metropolitan Airports Commission. It is home to Minnesota's Air National Guard and a flight training school and is tailored to local corporate aviation. There are three runways, with the Holman Field Administration Building and Riverside Hangar on the National Register of Historic Places.[149] The historical importance of the original Northwest Airlines building was realized only after demolition commenced.

For the most part Saint Paul's aviation needs are served by the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), which sits on 2,930 acres (11.9 km2) in the Fort Snelling Unorganized Territory bordering the city to the southwest. MSP serves three international, 12 domestic, seven charter, and four regional carriers[150] and is the hub of Delta Air Lines, Mesaba Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.[151]

Sister cities

Saint Paul has eight sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:[152][153][154]

Notable people

See also


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