The History of St. Paul, Minnesota
Here is a brief history of St. Paul, one of the great cities in the state of Minnesota. Very rich in culture and diversity, St. Paul is a beautiful city just across the river from it’s Twin City of Minneapolis.
Before European settlement, the land that is known as Ramsey County was inhabited by the Native American tribes Sioux and Ojibwa. In 1680, a Franciscan missionary named Louis Hennepin first explored the site and the upper Mississippi river before being captured by the Sioux in April the same year. Even though France and Spain would dispute over the territory, the next explorer didn’t arrive until 1766 when Jonathon Carver traveled thought the Great Lakes and spent the winter with the Sioux tribe while exploring a cavern now known as Carvers Cave.
In 1787 the land became part of the Northwest Territory which England had been planning to use as a Native American reservation. However, once the Treaty of Paris of 1783 was signed, the land became U.S. territory. In 1805, United States send Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike to explore the upper Mississippi River. Once there he made a treaty with the Sioux tribe for possession of the land, a treaty that was never officially approved.
In 1819, Fort Snelling, formally Fort Saint Anthony, would be built on the land of the Sioux tribe. Fort Snelling would be the first major United States military presence in the upper Mississippi River. It was built at the river mouth of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to create American dominance of the fur trade industry. The Fort banned distillers from operating on the land once whiskey trade become popular in the area. In 1838, a fur trader turned bootlegger, Pierre “Pig-Eye” Parrant, was forced to move his operation five miles north into what is now downtown St. Paul. He called the land “L’Oeil de Cochon”, which is French for “Pig’s Eye”, this became the first land claim in Minnesota. French Canadians would soon move into the land and in 1837 a treaty with the Native Americans secured the land for settlement.
It was known as Pigs Eye Landing until in 1841 that the settlement was called Saint-Paul, in honor of Paul the Apostle by Father Lucien Galtier who built a log chapel dedicated to the apostle. St. Paul became known as a trading center and stop point for first generation Americans pioneers heading west.In 1847, Baptist school teacher, Harriet Bishop came from Vermont and opened the city’s first school in a cabin located at St. Peter Street and Kellogg Boulevard. In 1849 the Minnesota Territory was formalized and St. Paul was named its capital and Justus Ramsey moved to there to become the territory governor. However in 1850, the territory capital was almost moved to Saint Peter but legislator Joe Rolette mysteriously disappeared with the approved bill. Saint Paul officially become a city in 1854 and in 1858, Minnesota was admitted as the Union’s 32nd state with Saint Paul its official state capital.
A Booming City
With the industrial revolution and the invention of the steam engine, St. Paul becomes a powerhouse of trade and commerce. The first bridge to cross over the Mississippi River in Saint Paul was the wooden Wabasha Street bridge completed in 1859. Early population growth was due to at least one million French Canadians, Germans, and Irish immigrating from the Old World. With people came religion and the first German-Jewish synagogue in 1854. One Catholic parish had to divide into three different sections to accommodate French, German, and Irish languages. In 1856, the Diocese allowed the Germans to build their own parish which became known as Assumption Church. With German culture on the rise the German cultural society Leseverein built Athenaeum, a Deutsch House for theatrical productions. The College of Saint Paul was founded by a Presbytrain minister and later combined with Baldwin School to create Macalester College. And in 1860, Saint Paul received its first telegraph line.
St. Paul Today
Today Saint Paul, along with its twin city Minneapolis, prides as a industry, education, and health care center. Manufacturing products include automobiles, chemicals, computer products and software, tools, machinery, and medical equipment that help give Saint Paul its stable local economy. Saint Paul boasts the home for many higher education colleges such as College of St. Catherine, University of St. Thomas, Hamline University, Macalester College, Bethel University, Luther Seminary, and Concordia University. Culture Institutions are very popular in Saint Paul and some of the best are the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnesota Museum of American Art, the historical museum and Minnesota’s Children’s museum.