The New International Encyclopædia/Saint Paul
SAINT PAUL. The capital of Minnesota and the county-seat of Ramsey County, situated on the Mississippi, just below Fort Snelling, at the mouth of the Minnesota River (Map: Minnesota, F 6). It is about nine miles below the Falls of Saint Anthony, reckoning from the City Hall, and about seven miles from the celebrated Minnehaha Falls. It is at the foot of the rapids and practically at the head of navigation, about 2300 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi. This point was naturally a trade centre in pioneer days. It tapped the great fur-bearing region through the Minnesota River, thus becoming an important station of the Hudson's Bay Company, and it was a natural depot for supplies brought up by river boats, and for produce taken back. This river traffic gave Saint Paul its first impetus as a centre of trade and transportation, just as the water-power of the falls a little farther up stream made Minneapolis preëminently a manufacturing point.
Saint Paul is picturesquely situated. Rising from both shores of the Mississippi 676 feet above sea level at low water, it extends over a series of terraces to the hills, from 100 to 200 feet higher. The first level on the left bank of the river is occupied by the Union Station, railroad yards and terminals, wholesale houses, and factories: on the second level are the retail stores, public buildings, and hotels; and crowning the upper terrace are the principal residential streets. Similarly on the right bank the first level is taken up by railroad yards and manufacturing plants; higher up are some retail business blocks, and then comes the residential section. The two banks are now connected by three fine wagon bridges and two railway bridges. Three more bridges span the Mississippi at Saint Paul, one at Fort Snelling, and two farther up connecting with Minneapolis. There is a splendid system of street railways operated by electricity generated mostly at the falls in Minneapolis. The lines in the two cities are operated practically as one system. Two double-track interurban routes join the network in the two cities, and a single line runs to Wildwood and Stillwater.
The city embraces an area of about 56 square miles. Of this area 1,204.42 acres, in 48 separate tracts, are devoted to park purposes. The largest and most beautiful is Como Park, between the Twin Cities, with an area of 415 acres, 142 of which are occupied by the pretty Lake Como. Como Park has a close rival in the Indian Mounds Park on the banks of the Mississippi below the city. Here on a bluff 200 feet high are several conical mounds, the summits of which command a view of the river as it sweeps by in a majestic curve. The park systems of the Twin Cities are connected by drives extending along the magnificent wooded gorge and the series of rapids below the Falls of Saint Anthony.
Saint Paul has numerous striking buildings. The finest is the new State Capitol, of white Georgia marble, standing on a lofty eminence. It has a magnificent dome and entrances. The new Post-Office, opposite Rice Park, and the massive City Hall and Court House, occupying an entire square on Wabasha and Fourth streets, are other edifices of merit. This city was among the first to construct tall, massive office buildings, good examples of which are the Pioneer Press, Germania Life Insurance, New York Life Insurance, Gilfillan Block, the Manhattan, and Endicott buildings. Among other fine structures may be mentioned the Ryan Hotel, Newspaper Row, Capital Bank, and Crescent Creamery Company's building.
There are three free libraries: the City Library, of 54,550 volumes; the State Law Library, of 30,000 volumes; and the State Historical Library, with 70,000 volumes and a complete file of newspapers for Minnesota. The Agricultural College of the State University, with its model farm of 243 acres, and the Minnesota State Fair, are at Saint Anthony Park. There are, besides these public educational institutions, many private schools and colleges, among which are Hamline University (Methodist), Macalester College (Presbyterian), College of Saint Thomas and Saint Paul Seminary (Catholic), Concordia College (German Lutheran), Saint Paul's College (German Methodist), and two Lutheran seminaries.
Commerce and Industry. Saint Paul is a great railroad centre. Twenty trunk lines operated in ten systems furnish transportation for the vast traffic going through the city. The steamboat business has shrunk to very small proportions, even the rafting of logs and lumber having fallen off greatly with the denudation of the northern pine forests. The Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha roads have large repair shops here, these and the smaller shops of four other roads employing about 2500 men. Saint Paul is most important as a wholesale and jobbing centre, but it also has large manufacturing interests, ranking second among the cities of the State. It leads in the manufacture of boots and shoes, and of men's clothing. Among the large establishments are publishing houses, breweries, foundries and machine shops, and fur houses. In the census year of 1900 the various industries were capitalized at $28,208,389, and had an output valued at $38,541,030.
Government. Under a home rule provision inserted in the State Constitution in 1898, allowing all cities to frame their own charters through a commission of 15 freeholders appointed by the District Court, Saint Paul adopted a new charter in 1900. This kept the board plan which had been found to suit the city's needs. The council is bicameral, consisting of an assembly of nine members elected at large, and a board of eleven aldermen, chosen by wards, one from each. The city elections occur on the first Tuesday in May of the even-numbered years, when the voters choose a mayor, treasurer, comptroller, four justices of the peace, three constables, and the members of the council. At every other election, beginning with 1902, two municipal judges also are elected. The city departments are in charge of nine appointive boards: water-works, parks, police, fire, workhouse, public works, almshouse and hospitals, education, and library. The first five have five members each appointed by the mayor for five-year terms, one member going out of office each year, and are not paid. The two following are paid, there being three members on each board, one appointed by the mayor every year. The board of education has seven members, serving without pay for three years, being appointed by the mayor in rotation. The library board consists of nine members, who serve without pay, three being appointed by the District Court every year. The boards have as a rule entire charge of their respective departments. The council fixes the aggregate amount which each may spend annually, and beyond this no board can go. The mayor has, besides his large appointive powers, a veto on all acts of the council, which may be overruled on ordinary matters by a two-thirds vote in each Chamber; in matters requiring a two-thirds vote to pass, by a four-fifths vote; and on a measure to bond the city not to be ratified by the people, it is final.
The water-works were constructed in 1870 and acquired by the city in 1880 at a cost of $4,049,854. Their value is now estimated at $6,000,000. The water comes from a chain of spring-fed lakes on the high land north of the city, and is distributed through 252 miles of mains. The city has also an excellent sewer system, 176 miles in length, an efficient system of food and health inspection, two hospitals, and public baths.
Finance. The bonded debt on January 1, 1903, was $7,878,100, and the floating debt $1,674,042.50. The sinking fund was $664,039.73. Real estate was assessed at $73,790,715, and personalty at $16,289,440, making a total of $90,089,155. The tax rate was $31.00 per thousand. The total receipts from all sources for 1902 were $5,263,470.98, while the disbursements were $4,861,260.78, leaving a cash balance of $402,201.20 on January 1, 1903.
Population. Saint Paul has had an extraordinary growth. In 1850 there were 1112 inhabitants; in 1860, 10,401; in 1870, 20,030; in 1880, 41,473; in 1890, 133,156; and in 1900, 163,065. The census of 1900 showed the foreign population to be 28.7 per cent, of the total, distributed as follows: German, 27 per cent. of the total foreign born; Swedish, 21 per cent.; Irish, 10.4 per cent.; and the remainder distributed among 20 otiier nationalities. As many as 72.6 per cent, of Saint Paul's population were children of foreigners. Only 2263 were negroes.
History. Saint Paul derived its name from a rude log chapel erected near the corner of Third and Minnesota Streets, in 1841, by Father Lucien Galtier, a Catholic missionary sent here by Bishop Loras of Dubuque, who had visited the place in 1839. Previously the site had been known as Imnijiska, the Indian for ‘White Rock,’ also Saint Peter, from the river at whose mouth it stood, now called the Minnesota. It also bore the name of ‘Pig's Eye,’ after a certain evil-eyed French voyageur and border ruffian who erected a hut on the site in 1838 and engaged in selling spirits surreptitiously to the Indians and to the soldiers at the fort. The first steamboat visited Fort Snelling in 1823, bringing the Indian agent, Captain Taliaferro. In the next three years no less than fifteen steamers visited the place. The land was opened for settlement in 1837, and the following year Edward Phalen, William Evans, and John Hays, three discharged soldiers from the fort, took up claims in what is now the heart of the city. In 1848 Minnesota was cut from Wisconsin and left without a government. The settlers at Saint Paul called a meeting to assemble at Stillwater, and there it was agreed to ask Congress for a Territorial organization, and a compact was made giving Saint Paul the capital, Stillwater the prison, and Saint Anthony, now East Minneapolis, the university. Saint Paul received its first charter from the Territorial Legislature in 1854, its population then being 3000. Three years later the first constitutional convention met here to draft the present Constitution. Consult: Andrews, History of Saint Paul (Syracuse, 1890); Williams, A History of Saint Paul and of Ramsey County (Saint Paul, 1876); and Warner and Foote, History of Ramsey County and City of Saint Paul (Minneapolis, 1881).