City of St. Paul Park 

on the Mississippi

How We Began


History of St. Paul Park


History tells us Minnesota became a territory on April 3, 1849.  Washington County, named after the “Father of his Country”, came into being on October 27, 1849. Shortly thereafter, on May 11, 1858, we entered statehood.  St. Paul Park was founded as an incorporated village in Newport Township in 1887-1888 with about 1300 acres.


Joseph Hugenin, R.S. Snow and William and Giles Fowler were among the earliest settlers.  Other prominent people in this area were the Seamer, Willoughby and Charles Parker families.


William Fowler settled here in 1852 and soon became a prominent farmer and a successful stockman.  His farm, which cost around $2,500 in 1852, was sold in 1887 to the St. Paul Park Improvement Company for about $80,000.  Thus began the future of St. Paul Park.


A promotional piece, published by the St. Paul Park Improvement Company ca. 1888 stated:


“Where the city of St. Paul now stands, in 1843, was nothing but a trading post.  Where her sister city, Minneapolis stands, in 1855, was nothing to be seen but a vast prairie.  Today, these cities are recognized as two of the most thriving and prosperous cities of this country: each having a population of over 200,000. 


On the east bank of the Mississippi River and about the same distance east of St. Paul as Minneapolis is west of it, is located the new and promising City of St. Paul Park.  It consists of 3,000 acres of land fronting on the river, and is owned by the St. Paul Park Improvement Co., and having a capital of $2,000,000.  The first house was erected and the first sale was made in June of 1887, and today, one year in its history, it has a population of some 1,200, with its churches and schools.


Its streets are graded and sidewalks laid and has over 200 beautiful residences, a large and well kept hotel and numerous stores, besides having located on its private railroad tracks twelve flourishing manufactories in successful operation, a list of which is given below:



Goods produced


Factory cost

St. Paul Knitting Works

Woolen goods



J. L. Spencer & Co.

Carriages & sleighs



St. Paul Park Carriage & Sleigh Co.

Carriages & sleighs



Henry A. Muckle Co.

Fine sleighs



Mankato Mattress Co.




Minnesota Harvester Co.

Farm machinery



W.R. Church Cart Co.




McArthur Brothers, Const.




St. Paul Park Broom Co.

Brooms & dusters



H. A. Peterson

Agricultural Implem.



Globe Engine & Boiler Works

Steam engines



John Dudley Lumber Co.

Lumber yard




And to other manufacturers we would say that St. Paul Park has unequalled facilities for manufacturing and that the Company will make the most liberal inducements to others to locate on the private tracks.  St. Paul Park has two of the principal railroads of the Northwest: The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and The Chicago, Burlington & Northern.  The latter of which runs two trains to and from St. Paul, thus making it very desirable place for residence.  Being but a 25-minute ride from the Union Depot in St. Paul, for a fare of only 6 cents.


A few hundred dollars invested in St. Paul or Minneapolis a few years ago would have made the investor wealthy.  The same chance that existed then in investing in St. Paul and Minneapolis exists today in St. Paul Park, the young and rival city.  Lots for housing are $400 to $500.  For maps and other information, address George H. McCammon, 317 Jackson St., St. Paul, Mn.”


Many more factories joined the community.  They were: The Dewey Harvester Works, a terra cotta factory, a baby carriage and rattan factory, Chicago Sleigh and Carriage Works, Boorman and McDowell Sash and Door, Mankato Mattress Co., Carroll Bros. Sash and Blind Factory, McArthur Car Shops, an excelsior mill and Black Hawk Mills.


The Village of St. Paul Park incorporated in 1909.  The population was now at about 1,200 people.  Free land to potential companies and $100 cash incentives to employees was offered.  Housing costs were between $4,000 and $5,000.  Our town had many boarding and rooming houses.  The best hotel in town was the Parker House, located on the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Broadway, near the Broadway Depot.  It was built and managed by Charles Parker.  Some of the other boarding houses and hotels were: the Bell House, the Union House, the Johnson House, the Arlington Hotel and the Central House.  All of these were destroyed by fire, except the Parker House, which was moved to Newport and later raised by fire.


With so many factories in town, a shortage of local workers existed.  Recruiting workers from St. Paul was implemented.  Realizing this, the Chicago, Burlington & Northern, (renamed the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in 1900), ran a special commuter train, from St. Paul to St. Paul Park, called “The Burlington Motor.”  Trains ran on the hour and would drop off commuters at either the Broadway and Fifth Street station or the Pullman Avenue Station.  If you wanted to shop in St. Paul, you would catch the Burlington Motor.


If you are interested in learning more on our area's history, attend a meeting of the South Washington Heritage Society.  We meet the second Saturday of each month in the DeForth Community Room at City Hall.  We gather at 9:00 AM to discuss the history of our area.  All are welcome.  Hope to see you there!


City of St. Paul Park, 600 Portland Avenue, St. Paul Park MN 55071