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All about St. Paul, MN
Saint Paul (abbreviated St. Paul) is the capital of the U.S. state of Minnesota and the county seat of Ramsey County. Situated on high bluffs overlooking a bend in the Mississippi River, Saint Paul is a regional business hub and the center of Minnesota’s government. The Minnesota State Capitol and the state government offices all sit on a hill close to the city’s downtown district. One of the oldest cities in Minnesota, Saint Paul has several historic neighborhoods and landmarks, such as the Summit Avenue Neighborhood, the James J. Hill House, and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Like the nearby and larger city of Minneapolis, Saint Paul is known for its cold, snowy winters and humid summers.
History of St. Paul, MN
In 1841, Catholic missionary Lucien Galtier was sent to minister to the French Canadians at Mendota. He had a chapel he named for St. Paul built on the bluff above the riverboat landing downriver from Fort Snelling. Galtier informed the settlers that they were to adopt the chapel’s name for the settlement and cease the use of “Pigs Eye”. In 1847, New York educator Harriet Bishop moved to the settlement and opened the city’s first school. The Minnesota Territory was created in 1849 with Saint Paul as the capital. The U.S. Army made the territory’s first improved road, Point Douglas Fort Ripley Military Road, in 1850. It passed through what became St. Paul neighborhoods. In 1857, the territorial legislature voted to move the capital to Saint Peter, but Joe Rolette, a territorial legislator, stole the text of the bill and went into hiding, preventing the move.
On August 20, 1904, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes damaged hundreds of downtown buildings, causing $1.78 million ($53.68 million today) in damages and ripping spans from the High Bridge. During the 1960s, in conjunction with urban renewal, Saint Paul razed neighborhoods west of downtown for the creation of the interstate freeway system. 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. The annual Rondo Days celebration commemorates the African American community.
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. 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. Saint Paul is the location of the Hmong Archives.
Geography and Demographics in St. Paul, MN
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 served the river valleys. 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.
As of the 2010 census, 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.
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