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Saint Paul

Saint Paul, city (1990 pop. 272,235), state capital and seat of Ramsey co., E Minn., on bluffs along the Mississippi River, contiguous with Minneapolis, forming the Twin Cities metropolitan area; inc. 1854. A port of entry at a great bend in the Mississippi and a railroad hub, St. Paul is also an industrial, commercial, and financial center. It shares an international airport with Minneapolis. Among the city's diverse manufactures are electrical, construction, and medical equipment; sheet metal; paper and plastic products; storage tanks; food; motor vehicles; and consumer goods. Other industries include oil refining and printing and publishing.

Landmarks and Institutions

Like many of the upper Mississippi River towns, St. Paul's oldest streets are narrow and crooked, conforming to the hills and to the river frontage. Many modern downtown buildings are interconnected by enclosed skywalks. Several fine parks (the largest of which are Como and Phalen) and many lakes (over 900 in the general metropolitan area), public beaches, and nearby ski areas provide recreational facilities. A Native American mounds park is there. An annual Winter Carnival is held in the city, and the state fairgrounds are in the Midway district, between St. Paul and Minneapolis. The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild plays in St. Paul.

The capitol, completed in 1904 and designed by Cass Gilbert, was modeled after St. Peter's in Rome. Near the capitol are the Cathedral of St. Paul; the state historical society building, containing a museum and library; and the St. Paul Arts and Science Center. In the concourse of the city hall and county courthouse (1932) is a notable peace monument. Other points of interest in the area are Fort Snelling State Park and the Sibley House Museum (1835), home of the first territorial governor.

St. Paul has a notable chamber orchestra and opera company (both at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts), a conservatory, and several musical theaters. The city's many educational institutions include Bethel Univ., the College of St. Catherine, Concordia Univ., Hamline Univ., Macalester College, the Univ. of St. Thomas, the William Mitchell College of Law, several theological seminaries, and a branch of the Univ. of Minnesota.


A fur-trading post was established (early 1800s) at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers in what is now the historic village of Mendota (6 mi/9.7 km SW of St. Paul), and Fort Snelling was built there. Traders, missionaries, and explorers were the first inhabitants; settlers came from the east after treaties with the Native Americans officially opened the area to farming and lumbering. By 1823 the landing at the head of navigation on the Mississippi was an important debarkation point and trading port. In 1841, Father Galtier established St. Paul Church, from which the city (platted along the river in 1846) took its name. St. Paul became territorial capital in 1849 and state capital when Minnesota was admitted to the Union in 1858. It was a booming river port and transportation center, especially after the arrival of the railroad in 1862. Later it became the center of the railroad empire of James J. Hill.


See V. B. Kunz, St. Paul (1986); R. T. Smith, Minneapolis–St. Paul (1988).

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