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Learn more about Saint Paul, MN
Saint Paul (abbreviated St. Paul) is the capital of the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is the county seat of Ramsey County, the state’s smallest and most densely populated county. As of 2019, its estimated population was 308,096, making it the 63rd-largest city in the United States and the 11th-most populous in the Midwest. Most of the city lies east of the Mississippi River at the confluence with the Minnesota River. Minneapolis, the state’s largest city, is across the river to the west. Together they are known as the “Twin Cities”. They are the core of Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, home to over 3.6 million and the third-largest in the Midwest.
The Legislative Assembly of the Minnesota Territory established the Town of St. Paul as its capital near existing Dakota Sioux settlements in November 1849. It remained a town until 1854. The Dakota name for where Saint Paul is situated is “Imnizaska” for the “white rock” bluffs along the river. The city is known for the Xcel Energy Center, home to the Minnesota Wild. Regionally, it is known for the Science Museum of Minnesota and its new soccer stadium, Allianz Field. As a business hub of the Upper Midwest, it is the headquarters of companies such as Ecolab. Saint Paul and Minneapolis are also known for their high literacy rate.
The first structure built in what became St. Paul was constructed in 1838 at the entrance to Fountain Cave overlooking the Mississippi. It was a tavern built by Pigs Eye Parrant near where Randolph Avenue today meets the river bluff. Parrant’s tavern was well known and the surrounding area came to be known as Pigs Eye. That lasted until the Catholic missionary Lucien Galtier arrived in 1840. He did not care for Parrant, his tavern, or the use of his name. Galtier’s arrival coincided with Parrant’s eviction from his establishment and the building of a log chapel near where steamboats had an easy landing. Galtier named the chapel St. Paul’s, making it known that the settlement was then to be called by that name, as “Saint Paul as applied to a town or city was well appropriated, this monosyllable is short, sounds good, it is understood by all Christian denominations”. While “Pigs Eye” was no longer the settlement’s name, it came to refer to wetlands and two islands south of the city’s center. The original town was laid out on two plats covering 240 acres.
The first plat was filed in the Territory of Wisconsin, the second in the Territory of Minnesota. The boundaries were Elm Street, 7th Street, Wacouta Street, and the river. Between 1849 and 1887 the boundaries were expanded 14 times to their present extent. As the region grew the city became the seat of an archdiocese that built St. Paul’s Cathedral, overlooking the downtown.
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