Saint Paul, Minnesota

For an overview of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, see Minneapolis–Saint Paul.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
State capital
City of Saint Paul

Clockwise from the top: Downtown Saint Paul as seen from Harriet Island, the Xcel Energy Center, the Saint Paul Cathedral, the Minnesota State Capitol, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and the historic James J. Hill House


Nickname(s): "the Capital City", "the Saintly City", "Pig's Eye", "STP", "Last City of the East"
Motto: The most livable city in America.1

Location in Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota
Coordinates: 44°56′39″N 93°5′37″W / 44.94417°N 93.09361°W / 44.94417; -93.09361Coordinates: 44°56′39″N 93°5′37″W / 44.94417°N 93.09361°W / 44.94417; -93.09361
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Ramsey
Incorporated March 4, 1854
Named for St. Paul the Apostle
  Mayor Chris Coleman (DFL)
  City 56.18 sq mi (145.51 km2)
  Land 51.98 sq mi (134.63 km2)
  Water 4.20 sq mi (10.88 km2)
Elevation 702 ft (214 m)
Population (2010)[2]
  City 285,068
  Estimate (2015)[3] 300,851
  Rank City: 64th MN: 2nd
  Density 5,726/sq mi (2,210/km2)
  Metro 3,524,583 (US: 16th)
  Demonym Saint Paulite
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 55101–55175
Area code(s) 651
1 Current as of July 30, 2008.[4]

Saint Paul (/ˌsnt ˈpɔːl/; abbreviated St. Paul) is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2015, the city's estimated population was 300,851.[3] Saint Paul is the county seat of Ramsey County, the smallest and most densely populated county in Minnesota.[5] The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city. Known as the "Twin Cities", the two form the core of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.52 million residents.[6]

Founded near historic Native American settlements as a trading and transportation center, the city rose to prominence when it was named the capital of the Minnesota Territory in 1849. The Dakota name for Saint Paul is "Imnizaska". Though Minneapolis (Bdeota) is better-known nationally, Saint Paul contains the state government and other important institutions.[7] Regionally, the city is known for the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild,[8] and for the Science Museum of Minnesota.[9][10] As a business hub of the Upper Midwest, it is the headquarters of companies such as Ecolab.[11] Saint Paul, along with its Twin City, Minneapolis, is known for its high literacy rate. It was the only city in the United States with a population of 250,000 or more to see an increase in circulation of Sunday newspapers in 2007.[12]

The settlement originally began at present-day Lambert's Landing, but was known as Pig's Eye after Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant established a popular tavern there. When Lucien Galtier, the first Catholic pastor of the region, established the Log Chapel of Saint Paul (shortly thereafter to become the first location of the Cathedral of Saint Paul), he made it known that the settlement was now 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".[13]


A burial mound at Indian Mounds Park

Burial mounds in present-day Indian Mounds Park suggest that the area was originally inhabited by the Hopewell Native Americans about two thousand years ago.[14][15] From the early 17th century until 1837, the Mdewakanton Dakota, a tribe of the Sioux, lived near the mounds after fleeing their ancestral home of Mille Lacs Lake from advancing Ojibwe.[14][16] They called the area I-mni-za ska dan ("little white rock") for its exposed white sandstone cliffs.[17][18]

Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, a U.S. Army officer named Zebulon Pike negotiated approximately 100,000 acres (40,000 ha; 160 sq mi) of land from the local Dakota tribes in 1805 in order to establish a fort. The negotiated territory was located on both banks of the Mississippi River, starting from Saint Anthony Falls in present-day Minneapolis, to its confluence with the Saint Croix River.[19] Fort Snelling was built on the territory in 1819 at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, which formed a natural barrier to both Native American nations. The 1837 Treaty with the Sioux ceded all local tribal land east of the Mississippi to the U.S. Government.[20] Taoyateduta (Chief Little Crow V) moved his band at Kaposia across the river to the south.[21][22] Fur traders, explorers, and missionaries came to the area for the fort's protection. Many of the settlers were French-Canadians who lived nearby. However, as a whiskey trade flourished, military officers banned settlers from the fort-controlled lands. Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, a retired fur trader-turned-bootlegger who particularly irritated officials,[23] set up his tavern, the Pig's Eye, near present-day Lambert's Landing.[18] By the early 1840s, the community had become important as a trading center and a destination for settlers heading west. Locals called the area Pig's Eye (French: L'Œil du Cochon) or Pig's Eye Landing after Parrant's popular tavern.[23]

Joe Rolette was responsible for preventing the capital of Minnesota from moving to Saint Peter.

In 1841, Father Lucien Galtier was sent to minister to the Catholic French-Canadians and established a chapel, named for his favorite saint, Paul the Apostle, on the bluffs above Lambert's Landing.[24][25] Galtier intended for the settlement to adopt the name Saint Paul in honor of the new chapel.[23] In 1847, a New York educator named Harriet Bishop moved to the area and opened the city's first school.[26] The Minnesota Territory was formalized in 1849 and Saint Paul named as its capital. In 1857, the territorial legislature voted to move the capital to Saint Peter. However, Joe Rolette, a territorial legislator, stole the physical text of the approved bill and went into hiding, thus preventing the move.[27] On May 11, 1858, Minnesota was admitted to the union as the thirty-second state, with Saint Paul as the capital.

That year, more than 1,000 steamboats were in service at Saint Paul,[26] making the city a gateway for settlers to the Minnesota frontier or Dakota Territory. Natural geography was a primary reason that the city became a landing. The area was the last accessible point to unload boats coming upriver due to the Mississippi River Valley's stone bluffs. During this period, Saint Paul was called "The Last City of the East."[28] Industrialist James J. Hill constructed and expanded his network of railways into the Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railway, which were headquartered in Saint Paul. Today they are collectively part of the BNSF Railway.[28]

On August 20, 1904, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes damaged hundreds of downtown buildings, causing USD $1.78 million ($46.96 million present-day) in damages to the city and ripping spans from the High Bridge.[29] In the 1960s, during urban renewal, Saint Paul razed western neighborhoods close to downtown. The city also contended with the creation of the interstate freeway system in a fully built landscape.[30] From 1959 to 1961, the western Rondo neighborhood was demolished by the construction of Interstate 94, which brought attention to racial segregation and unequal housing in northern cities.[31] The annual Rondo Days celebration commemorates the African American community.[32]

Downtown had short skyscraper-building booms beginning in the 1970s. 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.[33] 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.[34] Saint Paul is the location of the Hmong Archives.[35]


The Meeker Island Lock and Dam was the first lock and dam on the Mississippi River in 1902.

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 undercut the river valleys.[36] 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, although 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.[1]


Saint Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development divides Saint Paul into seventeen Planning Districts, created in 1979 to allow neighborhoods to participate in governance and utilize Community Development Block Grants. With a funding agreement directly from the city, the councils share a pool of funds.[37] The councils have significant land-use control, a voice in guiding development, and they organize residents.[38] The boundaries are adjusted depending on population changes; as such, they sometimes overlap established neighborhoods.[39] Though these neighborhoods changed overtime, many of their historically significant structures have been saved by preservationists.

The city's seventeen Planning Districts are:


The city skyline from the southwest in the winter

Saint Paul has a continental climate typical of the Upper Midwestern United States. Winters are frigid and snowy, while summers are hot and humid. On the Köppen climate classification, Saint Paul falls in the hot summer humid continental climate zone (Dfa). The city experiences a full range of precipitation and related weather events, including snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and fog.[40]

Due to its northerly location in the United States and lack of large bodies of water to moderate the air, Saint Paul is sometimes subjected to cold Arctic air masses, especially during late December, January, and February. The average annual temperature of 47.05 °F (8.36 °C) gives the Minneapolis−Saint Paul metropolitan area the coldest annual mean temperature of any major metropolitan area in the continental U.S.[41]

Climate data for Saint Paul, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 57
Average high °F (°C) 26
Daily mean °F (°C) 16.5
Average low °F (°C) 7
Record low °F (°C) −29
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.79
Source #1: U.S. climate data [42]
Source #2: The Weather Channel[43]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015300,851[44]5.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[45]
2015 Estimate[46]
Demographic profile 2010[47] 2000[48] 1990[49] 1970[49]
White 60.1% 67.0% 82.3% 95.4%
 Non-Hispanic 55.9% 64.0% 80.4% 93.6%[50]
Black or African American 15.7% 11.7% 7.4% 3.5%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 9.6% 7.9% 4.2% 2.1%[50]
Asian 15.0% 12.4% 7.1% 0.2%

The earliest known inhabitants from about 400 A.D. were members of the Hopewell tradition who buried their dead in mounds (now Indian Mounds Park) on the bluffs above the river. The next known inhabitants were the Mdewakanton Dakota in the 17th century who fled their ancestral home of Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota in response to westward expansion of the Ojibwe nation.[16] The Ojibwe would later occupy the north (east) bank of the Mississippi River.

By 1800, French-Canadian explorers came through the region and attracted fur traders to the area. Fort Snelling and nearby Pig's Eye Tavern also brought the first Yankees from New England and English, Irish, and Scottish immigrants who had enlisted in the army and settled nearby after discharge. These early settlers and entrepreneurs built houses on the heights north of the river. The first wave of immigration came with the Irish who settled at Connemara Patch along the Mississippi, named for their home in Connemara Ireland. The Irish would become prolific in politics, city governance, and public safety, much to the chagrin of the Germans and French who had grown into the majority. In 1850, the first of many groups of Swedish immigrants passed through Saint Paul on their way to farming communities in northern and western regions of the territory. A large group settled in Swede Hollow, which would later become home to Poles, Italians, and Mexicans. The last Swedish presence had moved up Saint Paul's East Side along Payne Avenue in the 1950s.[51]

In terms of people who specified European ancestry in the 2005-2007 American Community Survey, the city was 26.4% German, 13.8% Irish, 8.4% Norwegian, 7.0% Swedish, and 6.2% English. There is also a visible community of people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, representing 4.2% of Saint Paul's population. By the 1980s, the Thomas Dale area, once an Austro-Hungarian enclave known as Frogtown (German: Froschburg), became home to Vietnamese people who left their war-torn country. Soon after a settlement program for the Hmong diaspora came, and by 2000, the Saint Paul Hmong were the largest urban contingent in the United States.[52][53][54] Mexican immigrants have settled in Saint Paul's West Side since the 1930s, and have grown enough that Mexico opened a foreign consulate in 2005.[55][56]

The majority of residents claiming religious affiliation are Christian, split between the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations. The Roman Catholic presence comes from Irish, German, Scottish, and French Canadian settlers who, in time, would be bolstered by Hispanic immigrants. There are Jewish synagogues such as Mount Zion Temple and relatively small populations of Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.[57] The city has been dubbed "paganistan" due to its large Wiccan population.[58]

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 66.5% of Saint Paul's population; of which 62.1% were non-Hispanic whites, down from 93.6% in 1970.[49] Blacks or African Americans made up 13.9% of Saint Paul's population; of which 13.5% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.8% of Saint Paul's population; of which 0.6% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 12.3% of Saint Paul's population; of which 12.2% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of Saint Paul's population. Individuals from some other race made up 3.4% of Saint Paul's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 3.1% of Saint Paul's population; of which 2.6% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 8.7% of Saint Paul's population.

As of the 2000 U.S. Census,[59] there were 287,151 people, 112,109 households, and 60,999 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 67.0% White, 11.7% African American, 1.1% Native American, 12.4% Asian (mostly Hmong), 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.8% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.9% of the population.

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, 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 of any race were 9.6% of the population.

There were 111,001 households of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.2% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.33.

The median age in the city was 30.9 years. 25.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 13.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.6% were from 25 to 44; 22.6% were from 45 to 64; and 9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.


The Minneapolis–Saint Paul–Bloomington area employs 1,570,700 people in the private sector as of July 2008, 82.43 percent of which work in private service providing-related jobs.[60]

Major corporations headquartered in Saint Paul include Ecolab, a chemical and cleaning product company[61] which was named in 2008 by the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal as the eighth best place to work in the Twin Cites for companies with 1,000 full-time Minnesota employees,[62] Securian Financial Group Inc.[63] and Gander Mountain, a retailer of sporting goods which operates 115 stores in 23 states.[64]

The 3M Company is often cited as one of Saint Paul's companies, though it is located in adjacent Maplewood, Minnesota. 3M employs 16,000 people throughout Minnesota.[65] St. Jude Medical, a manufacturer of medical devices, is directly across the municipal border of Saint Paul in Little Canada,[66] though the company's address is listed in Saint Paul.[67]

The city was home to the Ford Motor Company's Twin Cities Assembly Plant, which opened in 1924 and closed at the end of 2011. The plant was in Highland Park on the Mississippi River, adjacent to Lock and Dam No. 1, Mississippi River, which generates hydroelectric power.[68] The site is now being cleared of all buildings and tested for contamination to prepare for redevelopment.[69]


Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a free public greenhouse and urban zoo open year-round.

In winter months, Saint Paul hosts the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, a tradition that originated in 1886 when a New York reporter called Saint Paul "another Siberia." Attended by 350,000 visitors annually, the event showcases ice sculpting, an annual treasure hunt, winter food, activities, and an ice palace.[70] The Como Zoo and Conservatory and adjoining Japanese Garden are popular year-round. The historic Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul hosts cultural and arts organizations. The city's notable recreation locations include Indian Mounds Park, Battle Creek Regional Park, Harriet Island Regional Park, Highland Park, the Wabasha Street Caves, Lake Como, Lake Phalen, and Rice Park, as well as several areas abutting the Mississippi River. The Irish Fair of Minnesota is also held annually at the Harriet Island Pavilion area. And the country's largest Hmong American sports festival, the Freedom Festival, is held the first weekend of July at McMurray Field near Como Park.

The city is associated with the Minnesota State Fair in nearby Falcon Heights just north of Saint Paul's Midway neighborhood and southeast of the University of Minnesota Saint Paul Campus. Though Fort Snelling is on the Minneapolis side of the Mississippi River bluff, the area including Fort Snelling State Park and Pike Island is managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources headquartered in the city.[71]

The Minnesota Centennial Showboat is permanently anchored in the Mississippi River along Harriet Island.

Saint Paul is the birthplace of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts), who lived in Merriam Park from infancy until 1960.[72] Schulz's Snoopy cartoon inspired giant, decorated Peanuts sculptures around the city, a Chamber of Commerce promotion in the late 1990s.[73] Other notable residents include writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, playwright August Wilson, who premiered many of the ten plays in his Pittsburgh Cycle at the local Penumbra Theater, painter LeRoy Neiman, and photographer John Vachon.[74]

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts hosts theater productions and the Minnesota Opera is a founding tenant.[75] RiverCentre, attached to Xcel Energy Center, serves as the city's convention center. The city has contributed to the music of Minnesota and the Twin Cities music scene through various venues. Great jazz musicians have passed through the influential Artists' Quarter, first established in the 1970s in Whittier, Minneapolis, and moved to downtown Saint Paul in 1994.[76] Artists' Quarter also hosts the Soapboxing Poetry Slam, home of the 2009 National Poetry Slam Champions. At The Black Dog, in Lowertown, many French or European jazz musicians (Evan Parker, Tony Hymas, Benoît Delbecq, François Corneloup...) have met Twin Cities musicians and started new groups touring in Europe. Groups and performers such as Fantastic Merlins, Dean Magraw/Davu Seru, Merciless Ghosts, and Willie Murphy are regulars. The Turf Club in Midway has been a music scene landmark since the 1940s.[77] Saint Paul is also the home base of the internationally acclaimed Rose Ensemble.[78] As an Irish stronghold, the city boasts popular Irish pubs with live music, such as Shamrocks, The Dubliner, and O'Gara's. The internationally acclaimed Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is the nation's only full-time professional chamber orchestra.[79] The Minnesota Centennial Showboat on the Mississippi River began in 1958 with Minnesota's first centennial celebration.[80]

Saint Paul hosts a number of museums, including the University of Minnesota's Goldstein Museum of Design,[81] the Minnesota Children's Museum,[82] the Schubert Club Museum of Musical Instruments,[83][84] the Minnesota Museum of American Art,[85][86] the Traces Center for History and Culture,[87] the Minnesota History Center, the Alexander Ramsey House, the James J. Hill House, the Minnesota Transportation Museum, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and The Twin City Model Railroad Museum.


The Xcel Energy Center hosts hockey, other professional sports, concerts, and other events.

The Saint Paul division of Parks and Recreation runs over 1,500 organized sports teams.[88] In addition, the Parks and Recreation department is responsible for 160 parks and 41 recreation centers.[89]

Saint Paul hosts a number of professional, semi-professional, and amateur sports teams. The Minnesota Wild[8] play their home games in downtown Saint Paul's Xcel Energy Center, which opened in 2000. The Wild brought the NHL back to Minnesota for the first time since 1993, when the Minnesota North Stars left the state for Dallas, Texas.[8] (The World Hockey Association's Minnesota Fighting Saints played in Saint Paul from 1972 to 1977.) Citing the history of hockey in the Twin Cities and teams at all levels, Sports Illustrated called Saint Paul the new Hockeytown U.S.A. in 2007.[90]

The Xcel Energy Center, a multipurpose entertainment and sports venue, can host concerts and accommodate nearly all sporting events. It occupies the site of the demolished Saint Paul Civic Center. The Xcel Energy Center hosts the Minnesota high school boys hockey tournament, the Minnesota high school girls' volleyball tournament, and concerts throughout the year. In 2004, it was named the best overall sports venue in the US by ESPN.[91]

Two Circus Juventas students on silks

The St. Paul Saints is the city's independent league baseball team. There have been several different teams called the Saints over the years. Originally founded in 1884, they were shut down in 1961 after the Minnesota Twins moved to Bloomington. The St. Paul Saints were brought back in 1993 as an independent baseball team in the Northern League, moving to the American Association in 2006. Their home games are played at the open-air CHS Field in downtown's Lowertown Historic District.[92] Four noted Major League All-Star baseball players are natives of Saint Paul: Hall of Fame outfielder Dave Winfield, Hall of Fame infielder Paul Molitor, pitcher Jack Morris, and catcher Joe Mauer. The all-black St. Paul Colored Gophers played four seasons in Saint Paul from 1907 to 1911.[93]

The St. Paul Twin Stars of the National Premier Soccer League play their home games at Macalester Stadium.[94] The first curling club in Saint Paul was founded in 1888. The current club, the St. Paul Curling Club, was founded in 1912 and is the largest curling club in the United States.[95] The Minnesota RollerGirls are a flat-track roller derby league based in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Minnesota's oldest athletic organization, the Minnesota Boat Club, resides in the Mississippi River on Raspberry Island.[96] Saint Paul is also home to Circus Juventas, the largest circus arts school in North America.[97]

On March 25, 2015, Major League Soccer announced that it had awarded its 23rd MLS franchise to Minnesota United FC, a team from the lower-level North American Soccer League. Bill McGuire and his ownership group, which includes Jim Pohlad of the Minnesota Twins, Glen Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves, former Minnesota Wild investor Glen Nelson, and his daughter Wendy Carlson Nelson of the Carlson hospitality company, had intended to build a privately financed soccer-specific stadium in Downtown Minneapolis near the Minneapolis Farmer's Market, but their plan was met with heavy opposition from Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who said her city was suffering from "stadium fatigue" after building three stadiums, for the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, within a six-year span.[98] On July 1, 2015, after failing to reach an agreement with the city of Minneapolis, McGuire and his partners turned their focus to St. Paul.[99]

On October 23, 2015, Bill McGuire of Minnesota United FC and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced that a privately financed soccer-specific stadium would be built on the vacant Metro Transit bus barn site in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood near the intersection of Snelling Avenue and University Avenue. It is midway between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. The stadium will open in 2018 and seat 20,000. The team will play in the MLS in 2017.[100]

The Timberwolves, Twins, Vikings, and Lynx all play in Minneapolis.[101]

Professional sports in Saint Paul
Club Sport League Venue (Capacity) Championships
Minnesota Wild Ice hockey National Hockey League Xcel Energy Center (17,954)
Minnesota United FC Soccer Major League Soccer Minnesota United FC Stadium (20,000) NASL: 2011[102] and 2014[103]
St. Paul Saints Baseball American Association CHS Field (7,210) NL: 1993, 1995, 1996, and 2004

Government and politics

Saint Paul has a variation of the strong mayor-council form of government.[104] The mayor is the chief executive and chief administrative officer for the city and the seven-member city council is the legislative body.[105][106] The mayor is elected by the entire city, while members of the city council are elected from seven different geographic wards of approximately equal population.[107][108] Both the mayor and council members serve four-year terms.[109] The current mayor is Chris Coleman (DFL), who is no relation to former mayor Norm Coleman. Coleman is Saint Paul's ninth Irish-American mayor since 1900. Aside from Norm Coleman, who became a Republican during his second term, Saint Paul has not elected a Republican mayor since 1952.[110]

The city is also the county seat of Ramsey County, named for Alexander Ramsey, the state's first governor. The county once spanned much of the present-day metropolitan area and was originally to be named Saint Paul County after the city. Today it is geographically the smallest county and the most densely populated.[5] Ramsey is the only home rule county in Minnesota; the seven-member Board of Commissioners appoints a county manager whose office is in the combination city hall/county courthouse along with the Minnesota Second Judicial Courts.[111][112] The nearby Law Enforcement Center houses the Ramsey County Sheriff's office.

State and federal

Saint Paul is the capital of the state of Minnesota. The city hosts the capitol building, designed by Saint Paul resident Cass Gilbert, and the House and Senate office buildings. The Minnesota Governor's Residence, which is used for some state functions, is on Summit Avenue. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (affiliated with the Democratic Party) is headquartered in Saint Paul. Numerous state departments and services are also headquartered in Saint Paul, such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The city is split into four Minnesota Senate districts (64, 65, 66 and 67) and eight Minnesota House of Representatives districts (64A, 64B, 65A, 65B, 66A, 66B, 67A and 67B), all of which are held by Democrats.[113][114]

St. Paul is the heart of Minnesota's 4th congressional district, represented by Democrat Betty McCollum. The district has been in DFL hands without interruption since 1949. Minnesota is represented in the US Senate by Democrat Amy Klobuchar, a former Hennepin County Attorney, and Democrat Al Franken, a former comedian and political commentator.

Minnesota House and Senate districts
Senate House
Name First Elected Party Name First Elected Party
64 Dick Cohen 1986 DFL 64A Erin Murphy 2006 DFL
64B Dave Pinto 2014 DFL
65 Sandy Pappas 1990 DFL 65A Rena Moran 2010 DFL
65B Carlos Mariani 1990 DFL
66 John Marty* 1992 DFL 66A John Lesch 2002 DFL
66B Alice Hausman* 1989 DFL
67 Foung Hawj 2012 DFL 67A Tim Mahoney 1998 DFL
67B Sheldon Johnson 2000 DFL

*District also includes Falcon Heights, Lauderdale and Roseville .


1930s-era students at Hamline University taking finals

Saint Paul is second in the United States in the number of higher education institutions per capita.[115] Higher education institutions that call Saint Paul home include three public and eight private colleges and universities and five post-secondary institutions. Well-known colleges and universities include the Saint Catherine University, Concordia University, Hamline University, Macalester College, and the University of St. Thomas. Metropolitan State University and Saint Paul College, which focus on non-traditional students, are based in Saint Paul, as well as a law school, Mitchell Hamline School of Law.[116]

The Saint Paul Public Schools district is the state's second largest school district and serves approximately 42,000 students. The district is extremely diverse with students from families speaking 70 different languages, although only four languages are used for most school communication: English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali. The district runs 82 different schools, including 52 elementary schools, twelve middle schools, seven high schools, ten alternative schools, and one special education school, employing over 6,500 teachers and staff. The school district also oversees community education programs for pre-K and adult learners, including Early Childhood Family Education, GED Diploma, language programs, and various learning opportunities for community members of all ages. In 2006, Saint Paul Public Schools celebrated its 150th anniversary.[117] Some students attend public schools in other school districts chosen by their families under Minnesota's open enrollment statute.[118]

A variety of K-12 private, parochial, and public charter schools are also represented in the city. In 1992, Saint Paul became the first city in the US to sponsor and open a charter school, now found in most states across the nation.[119] Saint Paul is currently home to 21 charter schools as well as 38 private schools.[120] The Saint Paul Public Library system includes a Central Library and twelve branch locations.[121]


Minnesota Public Radio headquarters in downtown Saint Paul

Residents of Saint Paul can receive 10 broadcast television stations, five of which broadcast from within Saint Paul. One daily newspaper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, two weekly neighborhood newspapers, the East Side Review and City Pages (owned by The Star Tribune Company), and several monthly or semimonthly neighborhood papers serve the city. Several media outlets based in neighboring Minneapolis also serve the Saint Paul community, including the Star Tribune. Saint Paul is home to Minnesota Public Radio, a three-format system that broadcasts on nearly 40 stations[122] around the Midwest. MPR locally delivers news and information, classical, and The Current (which plays a wide variety of music). The station has 110,000 regional members and more than 800,000 listeners each week throughout the Upper Midwest, the largest audience of any regional public radio network.[123] Also operating as part of American Public Media, MPR's programming reaches five million listeners, most notably through A Prairie Home Companion, hosted by Garrison Keillor, who also lives in the city.[123] The Fitzgerald Theater, renamed in 1994 for St. Paul native and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, is home to the show.[124]


Interstate and roadways

I-94 as it enters downtown Saint Paul from the west

Residents utilize Interstate 35E running north-south and Interstate 94 running east-west. Trunk highways include U.S. Highway 52, Minnesota State Highway 280, and Minnesota State Highway 5. Saint Paul has several unique roads such as Ayd Mill Road, Phalen Boulevard and Shepard Road/Warner Road, which diagonally follow particular geographic features in the city. Biking is also gaining popularity, due to both the creation of more paved bike lanes that connect to other bike routes throughout the metropolitan area[125] and the creation of Nice Ride Minnesota, a seasonally operated nonprofit bicycle sharing and rental system that has over 1,550 bicycles and 170 stations in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul.[126] Downtown Saint Paul has a five mile (8 km) enclosed skyway system over twenty-five city blocks.[127] The 563-mile (906 km) Avenue of the Saints connects Saint Paul with Saint Louis, Missouri.

The layout of city streets and roads has often drawn complaints. While he was Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman,[128] and remarked that the streets were designed by "drunken Irishmen".[129] He later apologized, though people had already been complaining about the fractured grid system for more than a century by that point.[129] Some of the city's road design is the result of the curve of the Mississippi River, hilly topography, conflicts between developers of different neighborhoods in the early city, and grand plans only half-realized. Outside of downtown, the roads are less confusing, but most roads are named, rather than numbered, increasing the difficulty for non-natives to navigate.[130]

Mass transit

Metro Transit provides bus service and light rail in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. The METRO Green Line is an 11-mile (18 km) light rail line that connects downtown Saint Paul to downtown Minneapolis with 14 stations in Saint Paul. The Green Line runs west along University Avenue, through the University of Minnesota campus, until it links up and then shares stations with the Blue Line in downtown Minneapolis. Construction began in November 2010 and the line began service on June 14, 2014.[131] Roughly 45,000 people rode on the first day; an average 28,000 riders are expected per day.[132]

Metro Transit opened the A Line, Minneapolis–Saint Paul's first arterial bus rapid transit line, along Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway. The A Line connects the Blue Line at 46th Street station to Rosedale Center with a connection at the Green Line Snelling Avenue station. The A Line is the first in a series of planned arterial bus rapid transit lines and is set to open in early 2016.[133]


Amtrak's Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle stops once daily in each direction at the newly renovated Saint Paul Union Station.[134] Ridership on the train is increasing, about 6% from 2005 to over 505,000 in fiscal year 2007.[135] Increased ridership has prompted southern Minnesota leaders to plan for an expansion of Amtrak's service in the area.[135] Saint Paul is the site of the Pig's Eye Yard, a major freight classification yard for Canadian Pacific Railway.[136] As of 2003, the yard handled over 1,000 freight cars per day.[136] Both Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe run trains through the yard, though they are not classified at Pig's Eye.[136] Burlington Northern Santa Fe operates the large Northtown Yard in Minneapolis, which handles about 600 cars per day.[137] There are several other small yards located around the city.

Saint Paul Downtown Airport (Holman Field)


Saint Paul is served by the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), which sits on 3,400 acres (14 km2)[138] southwest of the city on the west side of the Mississippi River between Minnesota State Highway 5, Interstate 494, Minnesota State Highway 77, and Minnesota State Highway 62. The airport serves three international, twelve domestic, seven charter, and four regional carriers[139] and is a hub and home base for Delta Air Lines, Mesaba Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.[140] Saint Paul is also served by the St. Paul Downtown Airport located just south of downtown, across the Mississippi River. The airport, also known as Holman Field, is a reliever airport run by the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The airport houses Minnesota's Air National Guard and is tailored to local corporate aviation.[141] There are three runways that serve about 100 resident aircraft and a flight training school. The Holman Field Administration Building and Riverside Hangar are on the National Register of Historic Places.[141]

Sister cities

Saint Paul has eight sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International: [142][143]

Notable residents

See also


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