History of Saint Paul
Before becoming an actual city, the area of the present-day Saint Paul was inhabited by Native Americans who gathered and hunted at the banks of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The first settlement was established near the present-day Lambert’s Landing. In 1841, father Lucien Galtier, who was the first catholic pastor in the region, founded the Log Chapel of Saint Paul and convinced the residents to name the settlement after this saint. When the Minnesota Territory was established in 1847, Saint Paul became its capital. It was incorporated as a city in 1854 and became the state capital when Minnesota was admitted to the Union in 1858.
The city grew fast because of its advantageous position on the Mississippi River. It was a landing spot for many boats, whether they were carrying and unloading cargo or carrying settlers on their way to Dakota Territory and Minnesota Frontier. An additional boost to the city’s growth and development was the expansion of railroads. Both Northern Pacific Railway and the Great Northern Railway had their headquarters in Saint Paul.
Although it is smaller and less-known than its twin, Minneapolis, Saint Paul remained an important city in Minnesota, with almost all of the state government and other important institutions located there, and it still remains an important trade and transportation hub.
Geography of Saint Paul
Saint Paul’s geography is dominated by water and this fact had a large influence on the city’s history, tradition, growth and development. The area on which the city was founded was largely defined by the confluence of two large rivers – Mississippi and Minnesota. The Mississippi marks a boundary between Saint Paul and Minneapolis, with Saint Paul on the eastern and Minneapolis on the western bank.
The largest lake in Saint Paul is Pig’s Eye Lake, followed by Lake Como and Lake Phalen.
The city has 17 planning districts which can also be considered neighborhoods (although sometimes there are smaller neighborhoods located in the actual districts).
Saint Paul has typical Upper Midwestern climate, which basically means continental climate with cold and snowy winters and hot and humid summers.
Saint Paul Population :
Just like the rest of Minnesota, Saint Paul had a large influx of immigrants from Scandinavian countries, especially from Sweden. Some of them were on their way to fertile farmlands, but many stayed and settled in the neighborhood that is still today known as Swede Hollow, even though it is now populated by Poles, Mexicans and Italians as well. The Irish emigration was also notable and their presence is still very strong in the city, especially during Irish festivities. After the Vietnamese war, many members of the Hmong people came to the United States, settling all across the nation, but the largest urban contingent is believed to be the one in Saint Paul. In addition to these large groups, Saint Paul is also home to a large community of people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry.
Saint Paul Economy
As for the economy, Saint Paul is home to several large corporations, most notably Ecolab, Gander Mountain and Securian Financial Group. Other important companies and large employers in the city and its urban area include the 3M Company and St. Jude Medical. Until recently, the Ford Motor Company Twin Cities Assembly Plant was located in Saint Paul and its closure was a significant impact on the city’s economy and employment rates.
Culture, Education and Sports in Saint Paul
Saint Paul is famous for its Winter Carnival, a tradition that started in 1886. Some 350,000 visitors gather in the city each year to admire ice sculptures, participate in treasure hunting and enjoy typical local winter food. The city also gets a lot of visitors during the Minnesota State Fair, which is actually held in nearby Falcon Heights.
The city is home to the Minnesota Science Museum, one of the best museums in the state, as well as the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Minnesota History Center and the Alexander Ramsey House. The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts hosts theatrical and opera productions.
One of the most famous jazz clubs in the USA, the Artists’ Quarter, was moved from Minneapolis to Saint Paul in 1995 and it continues to host famous and up-and-coming musicians on regular basis. Together with Minneapolis, Saint Paul is an important center of the Minnesota music scene which gave rise to some of the most famous musicians and bands such as Prince, Bob Dylan, Husker Du, The Replacements, Atmosphere, Soul Asylum and many more.
One of the most famous residents of Saint Paul was Charles M. Schultz, a cartoonist most famous for his comic “Peanuts.” Today, the sculptures of various “Peanuts” characters, such as Snoopy and Charlie Brown, can be found throughout Saint Paul.
Some of the best institutions of higher education in Saint Paul include Saint Catherine University, Concordia University, Metropolitan State University, Hamline University School of Law and University of St. Thomas.
Saint Paul is the home of the hockey team Minnesota Wild. Founded in 2000, it is the first NHL franchise in the state since the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas. The team plays in the Xcel Energy Center, which is a multi-purpose arena located in the downtown Saint Paul, near the RiverCentre convention center and Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.