Lowertown: Former steamboat landing experiences another boom

The fact that Lowertown, in downtown Saint Paul at the foot of Robert Street, is north of Uppertown, at the foot of Chestnut Street near Irvine Park, may seem puzzling, but it actually makes perfect sense. The Mississippi River takes a few turns as it passes through the area, forming a sort of sideways S-curve … Continue reading Lowertown: Former steamboat landing experiences another boom

Alnwick, England: A town of many centuries and stories (Part II)

Even though it’s a small town, Alnwick, England, has quite a few locations of interest both right in the town and in the surrounding area. It merits a visit of a few days at least. In addition to Alnwick Castle, The Alnwick Garden, the Playhouse and Barter Books, which are the four best-known attractions, some … Continue reading Alnwick, England: A town of many centuries and stories (Part II)

Irvine Park: The Years Have Been Kind to This Early Settlement

In the shadows of downtown St. Paul lies one of the city’s loveliest and oldest areas, Irvine Park. It dates from 1849, the year Minnesota became a territory. Its peaceful atmosphere and graceful homes, clustered around a small square with a fountain, belie its urban surroundings. In its early years St. Paul, without a sister … Continue reading Irvine Park: The Years Have Been Kind to This Early Settlement

Como Park’s Marjorie McNeely Conservatory: Serving St. Paul, preserving nature

The “Jewel in the Crown” of Saint Paul’s Como Park celebrated its hundredth year in 2015. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory grew from makeshift greenhouses that protected Como Park’s popular tropical plants during the winter into the much-loved, magnificent building that adorns the park today. Over the years it’s endured much adversity to survive, and now … Continue reading Como Park’s Marjorie McNeely Conservatory: Serving St. Paul, preserving nature

Como Park: Historic acreage creates urban oasis

Como Park has weathered the years much as its home city St Paul has. Just as St. Paul was an outpost for the country in its early days, so Como Park was an outpost for the city, located out on its far edges. Both are centered around a body of water, Como by the lake … Continue reading Como Park: Historic acreage creates urban oasis

Rice Park: Gathering place at heart of St. Paul has undergone several facelifts since 1849

Rice Park really should be named Central Park, given its situation as a hub of Saint Paul. Bounded by Fourth, Fifth, Market and Washington streets, it was one of the city’s first parks. Even today, it’s central to many of the city’s activities, surrounded as it is by the Saint Paul Hotel, Landmark Center, the … Continue reading Rice Park: Gathering place at heart of St. Paul has undergone several facelifts since 1849

Summit Lookout Park: Idyllic corner atop Ramsey Hill provides premium view of city

This tiny 0.43-acre public area at the intersection of Ramsey Street and Summit Avenue is emblematic of St. Paul and its history. The decorative metal railing was salvaged from the historic Selby Avenue Bridge in 1989 and is more than a hundred years old. The retaining wall comprises stones from the High Bridge that was … Continue reading Summit Lookout Park: Idyllic corner atop Ramsey Hill provides premium view of city

Fort Snelling State Park: An oasis in the Cities

Hundreds of acres of wilderness sit peacefully in the middle of the Twin Cities. The 2900-hundred-acre Fort Snelling State Park is adjacent to the Twin Cities International Airport on Post Road off State Highway 5. The park offers a pastoral setting in an urban center, a number of recreational opportunities, and nearly as much historical … Continue reading Fort Snelling State Park: An oasis in the Cities

Harriet Island: Not a real island but a longtime center for recreation in Saint Paul

Harriet Island is one of St. Paul’s oldest parks, dating from 1900, when Justus Ohage, the city’s Commissioner of Public Health, donated the property to the city. He had raised money and mortgaged his own house to acquire the island and create a healthy recreation site for the city’s citizens. Ohage believed, “In the health … Continue reading Harriet Island: Not a real island but a longtime center for recreation in Saint Paul

The Capitol Mall: Historic memorials and tributes adorn the capitol lawn

There’s much more to the Capitol Mall than meets the eye. If you’ve driven by and never stopped to explore, you likely think it’s a large grassy lawn with some run-of-the-mill statues where not much changes over the years: an attractive open space leading up to the Capitol building. In fact, the statues and memorials … Continue reading The Capitol Mall: Historic memorials and tributes adorn the capitol lawn