Today we're talking Saint Paul. I've got some favorite hot spots and famous people to talk about.
St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota and the second-largest city. It has a colorful history, complete with fur trading, mobsters, railroads, and streetcars - to name just a few interesting tidbits. The French, German, Irish, and Swedes were some of the early immigrants who settled in St. Paul. The original name of St. Paul was Pig's Eye (L'Oeil du Cochon in French) after Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, and while it would have been amusing to have the capital of Minnesota be Pig's Eye, the name was duly changed around 1841. When the Minnesota Territory was formalized in 1849, St. Paul was named the capital. Because of its location, St. Paul quickly became a trade and transportation center. In the olden days, that trade was mostly by steamboats on the rivers. Later, railroads became the main mode of shipping things across the country. These days, St. Paul still plays a heavy role in commerce and industry.
St. Paul has always placed importance on higher education, as evidence by the numerous colleges and universities it supports. A few of the prominent institutions of learning are: Hamline University (1854), Macalester College (1885), The University of St. Thomas (1885), Concordia University (1893), William Mitchell College of Law (1900), and St. Catherine University (St. Kates) (1905).
Some of the fameous people associated with Saint Paul include the cartoonist Charles Schultz, who grew up in Saint Paul, as well as James J Hill, who is well known for his railroads, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Charles Schultz is well-known for his Peanuts cartoon that he drew for 50 years. Although born in Minneapolis, he grew up in St Paul. He started by drawing a single panel cartoon called "Li'l Folks" that was published in our local paper, the Pioneer Press. A couple years later he started a 4 panel comic strip that he successfully published. At the peak, Peanuts was published in 2600 newspapers daily, and he drew over 17,000 Peanuts comic strips.
James J Hill was also known as the "Empire Builder." He bought a failing railroad, the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, and greatly expanded it. He connected Seattle to Saint Paul as one of the first expansions. Over time, he also took control of the Great Northern Railway, and Northen Pacific. These two companies ended up merging in the 1970's as Burlington Northern Railroad. His legacy today includes the James J Hill Reference Library, his Summit Avenue mansion which is now the James J Hill Museum, and funding for several of the colleges and universities in St. Paul, including Macalester, Hamline, and St. Thomas, among others.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in Saint Paul, even though he grew up mostly in New York. His family moved back to saint paul where he started writing at his school, the Saint Paul Academy. He lived in a row house on Summit avenue at 599 Summit Avenue, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark. He also has a theater in Saint Paul named after him, the Fitzgerald Theater at 10 East Exchange Street. He is named after Francis Scott Key, who wrote our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."
St Paul has 17 planning districts, which is 3 more than there are in the Hunger Games. Yes, i know. 13+3 doesn't equal 17. But in the Hunger Games, they don't count the Capitol as a separate district. And in Saint Paul they count Downtown as a district.
I'll briefly talk about each of the 17 districts starting on the east side.
Dayton's Bluff is one of the older sections of town with lots of good examples of victorian-era homes, just a short distance from downtown. Dayton's Bluff features the Hamm's Brewery, of which you may know "From the land of sky blue waters..." Also Swede Hollow was located here. Swede Hollow was a neighborhood that was demolished because the poor living conditions.
On the east side, you've got Sunray-Battlecreek-Highwood and Greater East Side. while on the north side you'll find Payne-Phalen, North End, and Como. Como is famous for the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as well as the recently added a water park nearby.
Highland Park is on the western edge of saint paul. It's got the Highland Park Theater and several shops right alongside the theater. There was a Ford assembly plant here that was recently torn down and is in the process of redevelopment.
Union Park is the combination of 3 historic neighborhoods, Merriam Park, Snelling-Hamline, and Lexington-Hamline. Merriam park was the first area to be settled because of the Canadian Pacific Railway's subdivision aptly called Merriam Park Subdivision. It was named after John L Merriam who wanted a neighborhood half-way between Downtown Minneapolis and Downtown St. Paul.
THe nickname for Macalester-Groveland is Mac Grove. A lot of residents in this neighborhood are related to Macalester University, University of St. Thomas, and several of the other local colleges and universities surrounding this area. There are a lot of faculty and students that live here.
Thomas-Dale, or as locals call it, Frogtown. It's nickname, Frogtown, comes from the many frogs that came from the original swamps in the area. The northern edge of this neighborhood is boardered by what was the St Paul and Pacific Railroad, now Burlington Northern, and is home to the ever popular Meekong Night Market.
West Side, not to be confused with the separate city of West Saint Paul, is south of downtown. It's called Westside since it's on the west side of the Mississippi. On a map, though it actaully looks more like it should be South Saint Paul. But there's a separate city called South Saint Paul. Confused? West St Paul has a number of trendy coffee shops and micro brews including Bootstrap Coffee, and Wabasha Brewing.
West Seventh is known to be the area of the first settlement in Saint Paul. It's the foundation of where the city started. In one of my other videos, i talk about how Pierre Pigs Eye Parrant was kicked out of Fort Snelling and moved further downriver to settle at Fountain Cave, which is in this neighborhood. This neighborhood is also where Schmidt Brewery produced 1200 barrels of beer annually.
Downtown, or as in the Hunger Games, the Capitol District.
Downtown Saint Paul is situated on the Mississippi River bluffs and features the Minnesota State Capitol and several other attractions, such as the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the Science Museum, the Children's museum, the Minnesota History Center, the XCel Energy Center, and the Union Depot. There is a skyway system that connects various buildings within downtown.
One unique feature of downtown Saint Paul is the Distric Energy heating system. This energy supplier heat and cools buildings via hot and chilled water. A good portion of the energy is derived from sustainable sources, raising the sustainability of the buildings connected to it.
One of the iconic landmarks is the Landmark Center. It was originally completed in 1902 and served as the Post Office, Courthouse, and Custom House for Minnesota. It's also on the National Register of Historic Places. The current courthouse and city hall is just a couple blocks away on Kellogg Boulevard.
There are a number of areas and destinations Saint Paul is known for. Let's explore some of them.
Grand Avenue is the mecca of restaurants and shopping in Saint Paul. There are so many various types of shops along this 5 mile stretch, but most if it is concentrated around Victoria and Lexington. And once you're done shopping, there's plenty to eat. You'll find locals such as Bread and Chocolate, Cafe Latte, The Lexington, or if dessert is more your thing, Just Truffles, Grand Ole Creamery, Treats, and more!
Summit Avenue: Right next to Grand Avenue, you'll find Summit Avenue, a street that overlooks downtown. This spot on the bluffs made it popular with the wealthy people of the day, that many built mansions along this street. Some of the notable homes on Summit include: The James J Hill House (240 summit), the F. Scott Fitzgerald House (599 summit), and the Minnesota govenor's mansion (1006 Summit).
Grand Avenue is in the Summit Hill neighborhood, while Summit Avenue is the dividing line between Summit Hill and Summit-University.
If it's not obvious, the boundaries of Summit-University lies between Summit Avenue and University avenue. What a coincidence! Located in this neighborhood is both the F. Scott Fitzgerald home, as well as the Saint Paul Cathedral. This Cathedral was built in 1906 and features a copper dome.
Keg and Case: This building was part of the Schmidt Brewing facility. In 2014, this building was purchased with the idea of converting it to a destination food hall. They called it "Keg and Case" because Schmidt Brewery stored their beers here before loading them on trains to be delivered. Now it's a great place to meet with friends.
James J Hill House (Museum): This home was built for James J Hill, the railroad tycoon often called the Empire Builder. It's a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion with about 36,000 sqft of space. It was unusual for houses to be lit with electricity, but Hill had electric lamps. The house also had it's own electrical generation plant. Because sanitation was very important in the victorian era, this home featured dual sewer systems to guard against contamination into the kitchen. Other notable features includeded filtered air that came in through tunnels, hot steam in the downspouts to help with ice dams, and a pipe organ? How many houses have a pipe organ? And how long does it take to clean 13 bathrooms?
Gangsters: John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson are among the notorious gangsters that spent time in St. Paul. This was most likely because the Police Chief John O'Connor had an agreement with criminals at the time. As long as they bribed the police, they could stay in St. Paul. Be sure to check out the Gangster Tour that starts at Wabasha Caves.
By now you should have a better understanding of Saint Paul, and you should be thinking, "I should subscribe." I would be happy if you subscribed, and click the notification bell as well so that you'll be notified of other videos like this. And if you are planning a move to the Twin Cities, reach out to me and we can get started!
An overview of Saint Paul MN and the various districts as well as some attractions.
00:24 Saint Paul Overview and History
00:42 Saint Paul name
01:17 Higher Education
01:50 Charles Schultz, "Peanuts"
02:17 James J Hill, "Empire Builder"
02:54 F. Scott Fitzgerald
03:22 Saint Paul 17 districts
03:41 Dayton's Bluff / Swede Hollow
04:02 Sunray-Battle Creek / Greater East Side / Payne-Phalen / Como
04:19 Highland Park
04:31 Union Park
05:10 Thomas Dale (Frogtown)
05:54 West Seventh
06:44 District Energy
06:59 Landmark Center
07:18 Grand Avenue
07:43 Summit Avenue
08:07 Keg & Case
08:26 James J Hill House Museum
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Maps are Google Maps
Other Twin Cities Videos:
St. Thomas: https://www.stthomas.edu/
Mitchell Hamline College of Law: https://mitchellhamline.edu/
St Kates: https://www.stkate.edu/
Charles Schultz: https://schulzmuseum.org/about-schulz/schulz-biography/
James J Hill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_J._Hill
F. Scott Fitzgerald: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Scott_Fitzgerald
St Paul 17 Districts: https://www.stpaul.gov/residents/live-saint-paul/neighborhoods/district-councils/district-council-directory
Hunger Games 13 Districts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictional_world_of_The_Hunger_Games
Grand Ave: https://www.visitsaintpaul.com/directory/grand-avenue/
Summit Ave: https://www.visitsaintpaul.com/blog/summit-avenue-history-the-story-of-saint-pauls-famous-street/
Keg and Case: https://www.kegandcase.com/
James J Hill House (museum): https://www.mnhs.org/hillhouse/learn/james-j-hill
Wabasha Street Caves: http://www.wabashastreetcaves.com/gangster.html
Charles Schulz photo credit:
Higgins, Roger, photographer. Charles Schulz, half-length portrait, facing front, seated at drawing table with drawing of Charlie Brown / World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins. , 1956. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2001697048/.
F. Scott Fitzgerald photo credit:
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, [LC-USZ62-88500]
Van Vechten, Carl, photographer. Portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald. , 1932. June 4. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2004662883/.
James J Hill photo credit:
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-DIG-ggbain-21191]
Bain News Service, Publisher. J.J. Hill. , ca. 1915. [Between and Ca. 1920] Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2014701129/.
Francis Scott Key photo credit:
Public Domain, Francis Scott Key by Joseph Wood c1825.jpg
St Paul Neighborhood Map:
Eóin, CC BY-SA 4.0 [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
All other photos and videos are shot by myself, and copyright by Steven Hong.