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Welcome to Dayton's Bluff

Dayton's Bluff is named for Lyman Dayton, a wealthy man, who owned the land while he was alive and built a home there in the 1850s. The area is on a bluff, of course, and at its most southern tip is Indian Mounds Park, which has six large Native American mounds. The neighborhood has always been an unusual mix of the wealthy and the middle-class, with the latter mostly on the eastern side of the area. Many of the houses that were built back in the early years of the neighborhood have survived for over a hundred years.

The area has many famous landmarks, including the Wakefield House (also known as the William Wakefield House), which was built in 1860. It's on Wakefield  Avenue,  so named in 1892. It's been restored, and it's currently the belle of the ball with all sorts of high society parties.

Dayton's Bluff was designated a Historic District in 1992, and they have taken great pains to preserve their rich culture and traditions. It has a diverse culture, and it prides itself on its mix of ethnicities. They have eateries with all kinds of different foods, including Thai, Salvadoran, Hmong, and so much more. The people are very involved in the community, and they have the common goal of improving their neighborhood while simultaneously keeping the traditions that make them unique.

The diversity extends to other demographics as well. There's a mix of economic classes and ages as well. Dayton's Bluff is one of the lesser-known neighborhoods in St. Paul, but it's one worth exploring.

Then and Now

Dayton's Bluff was established with the intention of it being a high society neighborhood that would attract the wealthiest inhabitants of St. Paul to move there. There were several wealthy people who did build on the land there, but it never rose to the heights to which it aspired. Instead, it became a rich blend of people from many different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and they celebrate everyone's culture.

The suburban nature of Dayton's Bluff was established in the 1840s, and it was part of what local historians called 'the walking city'. That meant the streets were constructed in such a way that they were easily accessible, and many of them were parallel to the Mississippi River.

Before the 1860s, the neighborhood man known for it's lumber, feed, and flour mills. After the railroad was built in the late 1860s, more manufacturing giants, such as Hamm's Brewery, started production in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood is known for its high-quality architecture, and many of the houses have proudly stood tall for over a hundred years. The limestone houses are no longer there, but the bricks ones have endured. There are also brownstones and Queen Anne Victorians, so it's a great place to walk around and soak in all the sights.

It's been a haven for immigrants since it first was established, starting with the German Americans. Now, there is a diverse mix of Asians, Latinos, and people with varying backgrounds. There is a strong sense of community and pride in said community, which makes it a wonderful place to live.

Boundaries

Phalen Boulevard to the north, Highway 10/Johnson Parkway to the east, Mississippi River to the south, and Highway 52/Lafayette Bridge to the west.

Bordering Neighborhoods

Lowertown, Payne-Phalen, West St. Paul, Maplewood.

Crime Stats

Here are some crime statistics for Dayton's Bluff.

Trulia Crime Map

Parks

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary (265 Commercial St., 651-266-6400) is a refuge for those who thrive in a natural setting. Limestone and sandstone  bluffs that are millions of years old, spring-fed wetlands, plenty of birds flying around, and a tradition of Native American history. There is an outdoor classroom, an apiary, and other instructional information. There is also a hiking trail if you are the athletic kind and benches if you are of the more meditative bent.

Eastside Heritage Park (735 Phalen Blvd., 651-266-6400) has 9 acres of open spaces perfect for children to play in. There is a picnic shelter and a fire pit as well, which makes it a great place for a get-together or for some family fun. There are biking trails for the sportier people and benches if you need a quiet moment or two. The park connects to the Bruce Vento Regional Trail.

Indian Mounds Regional Park (10 Mounds Blvd., 651-266-6400) is located high in the air on limestone and sandstone bluffs that have been around for millions of years. It is known for its six Native American burial mounds, and it overlooks the Mississippi River. It has a biking trail, a hiking trail, and a picnic area, BBQ grills, and benches. It also has a playground for the kids, and public art.

Margaret Park (1109 Margaret St., 651-266-6400) is a 3.5-acre park filled with many amenities that encourage people to get moving. A lighted soccer field that can double as a football field, two softball fields, a place to play Ultimate Frisbee, and a volleyball court. It also has a playground plus a lot of greenery.

Skidmore Park (1045 4th St. E, 651-266-6400) is a local park known for its community gardens. This means it has plots of land on which people in the community can plant and grow things, and it's a great way to get to know your neighbors and learn about sustainability. There's also a playground on which kids can happily play.

Swede Hollow Park (603 North St., 651-266-6400) was a place where immigrants gathered until the 1950s. Currently, it's enjoying a revitalization that has made it a respite for the busy lives of people living and working in St. Paul. It has a biking trail, a hiking trail, and benches. Take a minute out of your day and experience peace while soaking in nature at this park.

Restaurants

Dari-ette Drive-In (1440 Minnehaha Ave. E, 651-776-3470) is a retro-flavored restaurant with a strong nostalgic feel to it. It's seasonal, family-owned, and a fun place to go for your Italian fix. They have homemade sauces that they sell, along with meatballs and sausage. And, of course, your meal wouldn't be complete without some ice cream.

La Cabaña Restaurant (Los Mejores Mariscos) (863 E 7th St., 651-774-7547) is a casual Mexican restaurant with friendly and fast service. They have all your favorites including tacos, burritos, and fajitas. If you're feeling more adventurous, try the Mexican oysters, the mojarra, or the bistek el diablo. They also have karaoke.

Leo's Chow Mein (1059 Hudson Rd., 651-771-0305) is a warm and casual Chinese restaurant that has simple decor and a friendly staff. As indicated by their name, they have several chow meins, including chicken, mushroom, and shrimp. They have other dishes as well, such as chop suey, subgum, and kung pao chicken.

Manana Restaurant (828 7th St. E,651-793-8482) is a bright and colorful restaurant with live music and a friendly staff. They serve authentic Salvadorian and Mexican food, ranging from tapas to their crowd-pleasing tacos. They also have tamales, pupusas, and horchatas, among other delicious fare. It is a family-owned business, and they are eager to make your family welcomed in their restaurant. They also have takeout so you can eat their tasty food in the comfort of your own home.

Swede Hollow Cafe (725 E 7th St., 651-776-8810) opened in 1997 and is named after the Swede Hallow Park, which is rich in history. It has rustic decor that gives it a cozy atmosphere, and it feels as if time has passed it by. The staff is very friendly as they serve up the hearty fare. They are known for their caramel rolls, but the rest of their dishes are just as tasty. Feast your eyes on their croissant sandwiches, quiches, and roast beef provolone sandwiches. Sip on an espresso as you enjoy a scone or pumpkin cake cookie. They also cater, and all their dishes are made in-house.

Taqueria Los Paisanos (825 E 7th St., 651-778-8062) is a counter-serve Mexican restaurant that is plain in its decor, but serves all the favorites. They have tacos, burritos, and tortas. They also have quesadillas, chiles rellenos, tamales, and sopes. It's quick; it's easy; it's tasty.

The Goat Coffeehouse (699 E 7th St., 651-200-4370) is a cozy coffeehouse with a cheerful atmosphere that is welcoming as are the staff members. They believe in fair trade and sustainable farming. They have traditional espressos as well as blended drinks and iced drinks. They also have plenty of teas on their drink menu. On the food side, they have sandwiches, including pulled pork, beef & pepper jack, and turkey craisin pesto.

Shopping

Dragonflies and Cards (1152 E McLean Ave., 651-363-9463) is an online store that sells exquisite and eye-catching handmade greeting cards. The Kirigami Greeting Cards are 3D and a delight to view from any angle, while the Bamboo cards are colorful and whimsical in nature. The Quilling Art Form cards are playful and fun, and anybody would be thrilled to receive any one of these cards.

Tattoos From Grease (839 E 4th St., 651-776-2913) is a no-frills tattoo shop with a friendly, professional tattoo artist. He works with customers to ensure that they have the tattoo of their dreams, and he holds himself to the highest of standards.

Nightlife

Mounds Park Sports Bar (1067 Hudson Rd., 651-340-0319) has only been open for a relatively short time (2014), but it has a storied lineage as it used to be Mounds Park Lounge and was closed in 2012. It's a casual and fun place to hang out and lift a pint with friends. The staff is friendly, too.

Obb's Sports Bar & Grill (1347 Burns Ave., 651-776-7010) was opened in 1932 and has been a family-owned business for over fifty years. It has a pub-like atmosphere with a full menu. The service is friendly, and they have a full menu. They are known for their broasted chicken, which you can order as takeout as well, and they also have sirloin steaks, baby back ribs, and walleye. They also have nineteen HD flat-screen TVs on which sports are playing, so it's a great place to watch a game with a group of friends. They have special seating accommodations for big groups of sports fans.

St. Paul Saloon (1045 Hudson Rd., 651-387-1984) is a causal and comfortable bar and grill that has a great staff. They serve fried chicken, burgers, and Coney dogs--along with beer and other alcoholic drinks, of course. It's a neighborhood bar in which everybody knows your name.

Community Arts & Recreation

Dayton's Bluff Recreation Center (800 Conway St., 651-793-3885) has many things to offer people of all ages. They have after-school programs, educational classes, family events, sports, and more. The activities/classes include Mobile Jazz Project, Exploring Cultural Dance, and International Desserts. They participate in Summer Blast, Rec Check, and Free Summer Meals.

Harding Arena (1496 6th St. E, 651-772-6161) is an ice rink that was opened in 1975 and is directly behind Harding High School. It is a Ramsey County arena, and it hosts the Harding youth hockey programs. It has three hundred seats for spectators, and it's used for everything from local hockey games to 'beer league' contests.

Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center (766 E 7th St., 612-440-5690) opened in May of 2017 as a celebration of Indigenous culture. They performed dance and other arts in appreciation of their culture and traditions. They are passionate about social justice, and they feel that arts can be an integral part of social change. They also have wellness classes that teach about traditional medicinal practices/plants.

Midwest Karate Association St. Paul (762 E 7th St., 651-771-7901) is a dojo in the Shotokan Karate tradition. It is a well-respected dojo in Minnesota, along with it's sister-dojo, Midwest Karate Association of Minneapolis. It focuses on balance, coordination, and core strength, among other positive traits. It's a place to learn discipline, competition, and to meet other martial arts enthusiasts. They have beginning and intermediate yoga classes as well.

The Historic Mounds Theatre (1029 Hudson Rd., 651-772-2253) offers many forms of entertainment, including plays, comedy stand-up routines, haunted tours, and live pro wrestling. Anything goes at this theater, and you'll never know what you'll see here--including Klingons.

Young Artists Initiative (463 Maria Ave., 651-222-5437) is passionate about the arts and want to impart the same passion into kids and young people who may not have the opportunities to explore their own creative sides. They accept the young artists as they are, and they nurture the young artists in order for the latter to fulfill their potential. They believe in community and in professional connections, and they foster both for their young artists.

Events

Dinner With Santa (Dayton's Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St., 651-226-6400) is an annual fun event for the family sponsored by Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. As the name suggests, it's dinner (pasta) and a chance to have your child's picture taken with Santa. There are also arts and crafts, and other family-oriented activities, so make sure to take your little ones to this festive family activity!

Love My Hood (Dayton's Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St.) is the Dayton's Bluff annual Block Party where community members can gather and have a good time. It's sponsored by WEQY 104.7FM, which is a beloved radio station in the neighborhood. There's hip hop, face-painting, giveaways and more. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy themselves.

Make It Happen Night Out on E 7th St. (E 7th St. Corridor, 1200 3rd St. E, 651-772-2075) is Dayton's Bluff's National Night Out, and it's a much-anticipated event for the members of the community. It's a chance to get to know each other and the businesses of the neighborhood better, plus enjoy food, music, and other local favorites. It's a way to connect and to commit to bettering the community.

Transportation

You can get around Dayton's Bluff using Metro Transit, including route 63. You can find the schedules at Metro Transit.

There is a Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route being planned for the neighborhood as well.

Schools

American Indian Magnet School (1075 3rd St. E, 651-778-3100) is rooted in American Indian traditions, history, and culture and teaches students in grades Pre-K through 8. They also provide assistance to their students after they leave AIM and enter Harding High School. Teachers speak Objibwe and Lakota languages while teaching, and they bring in cultural aspects to the curriculum as well. They seamlessly integrate American Indian studies into the rest of the education, and they welcome any student who is eager to learn about American Indian culture.

Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary (262 Bates Ave., 651-767-8100) is a diverse school that serves students in grades Pre-K through 5. It is located next to the Dayton's Bluff Recreation Center, and the staff firmly believes that the school should be an integral part of the community--and vice-versa. The school has many partnerships within the community, which means there are an abundance of resources for their students including mental health services, after-school mentoring, and dental service. Being an achievement plus school means focusing on raising student achievement.

Harding Senior High School (1540 E 6th St., 651-793-4700) is one of the largest high schools in St. Paul, and it serves students in grades 9-12. A vast majority of their students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and they also provide dinner. They have plenty of programs that accommodate students, no matter where they are in their learning process. They are part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, NJROTC, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), and American Indian Studies Program. They also have a program in place, Ninth Grade Academy, that helps eighth graders make the transition to high school. They do everything they can to encourage their students to succeed.

Hazel Park Preparatory Academy (1140 White Bear Ave., 651-293-8970) believes that their students, grades Pre-K through 5, are part of a global community. They are part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) World School Primary Years Programme (PYP) and are candidate Middle Years Programme (MYP). They believe in the core components of education plus experiential learning, and they allow their students plenty of room for exploration. They also have free lunch for students in low-income families.

HOPE Community Academy (Elementary School) (720 Payne Ave., 651-796-4500) is a public charter school that has a focus on Hmong language and culture. They serve students in grades K-8, and they hold their students to the highest academic standards. In the elementary school (K-5), they offer core classes such as math, social studies, and science. They also have art, reading, and, of course, Hmong language and culture. In addition, they have partnerships with several agencies in their community, such as the East Side Learning Center (they provide on-site, one-on-one mentoring for HOPE Academy primary students).

HOPE Community Academy (Middle School) (720 Payne Ave., 651-796-4500) is a public charter school that has a focus on Hmong language and culture. They serve students in grades K-8, and they hold their students to the highest academic standards. In the middle school (6-8), they offer core classes such as English Language Arts, science, and social studies in addition to computer technology, Hmong language, and physical education. The middle school students also  participate in many activities such as the yearbook club, Student Council, and the school newsletter.

Parkway Montessori Middle School (1363 Bush Ave., 651-744-1000) opened in 2013 and is one of very few Montessori middle schools. It serves students in grades 6-8, and the staff believes in hands-on experiential learning. They also believe in allowing students to discover their own strengths through interdisciplinary education. They have mixed-grade classes, and their curriculum includes Japanese, visual arts, and computer-aided design in addition to core subjects.

STEP Academy (Elementary School) (835 5th St. E, 651-289-6120) is a charter school that serves students K-12 with the elementary school consisting of students in grades K-5. Their slogan is PRIDE, which stands for: Personal Responsibility, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Excellence. In the elementary school, they adhere to the Core Knowledge Curriculum (K-5). The elementary school also invests heavily in science while also teaching more unusual subjects such as Arabic (2-6).

Step Academy (Middle School) (835 5th St. E, 651-289-6120) is a charter school that serves students K-12 with the middle school consisting of students in grades 6-8. Their slogan is PRIDE, which stands for: Personal Responsibility, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Excellence. In middle school, they teach the Minnesota History Northern Lights Curriculum in the 6th grade. They are passionate about a STEM education, but they also have classes that are diverse, such as Arabic (2-6).

Step Academy (High School) (835 5th St. E, 651-289-6120) is a charter school that serves students K-12 with the high school consisting of students in grades 9-12. Their slogan is PRIDE, which stands for: Personal Responsibility, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Excellence. In the high school, they are focused on prepping their students for college with programs such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). They can take college classes while at STEP through PSEO. There is a heavy emphasis on STEM subjects.

University

Metropolitan State University (700 E 7th St., 651-793-1300) opened in 1971 and is committed to delivering a quality education to their students. They have many nontraditional students as well as students from diverse backgrounds, and they are committed to nurturing all their students to achieve their fullest potential. The university has many partnerships with organizations and agencies in their community, which gives their students the opportunity to have hands-on learning experiences. They have a strong commitment to embrace and absorb the richness of the diversity surrounding them.

© Copyright 2019 - Steven Hong - All Rights Reserved
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