Union Depot: City’s historic center is getting back on track

St. Paul’s Union Depot at 215 Fourth Street may be on the last leg of a long round trip, heading back, though slowly, toward becoming a bustling transit hub again. Traces remain of the station’s glory days, since the most recent restoration in 2010-2012. The former ticket windows are visible behind the bar, the oversize … Continue reading Union Depot: City’s historic center is getting back on track

Cass Gilbert: Architect’s Minnesota State Capitol moved him to national fame

Cass Gilbert “changed the face of St. Paul," according to Leigh Roethke in Minnesota’s Capitol. After moving to Saint Paul as a child, he left to learn his trade but returned to grow his architectural practice and stayed for 27 years. Then he left again, this time for New York City where his national reputation … Continue reading Cass Gilbert: Architect’s Minnesota State Capitol moved him to national fame

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

Mickey’s Diner: Everybody knows Mickey’s

Long before “24/7” became a popular phrase, Mickey’s Diner was operating in that mode. Mickey’s has been operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week since it opened in 1939. Mickey’s Diner is a prominent St. Paul landmark, highly visible at the corner of 9th and St. Peter in downtown, a must-see for visitors. … Continue reading Mickey’s Diner: Everybody knows Mickey’s

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

St. Paul’s George Latimer Central Library: Classic building still serves as a center of learning

Serene as it appears both outside and in, the George Latimer Central Library building bordering Rice Park is something of a monument to survival. The library often struggled in its early years and even had to close during the Depression for a short time. Yet for every dip in its fortunes, the library experienced a … Continue reading St. Paul’s George Latimer Central Library: Classic building still serves as a center of learning

James J. Hill Center: Stately historic library melds the old and the new

James J. Hill is often associated with railroads, but his biggest contribution to Saint Paul was more mental than mechanical. The James J. Hill Center, formerly the James J. Hill Reference Library, has been called Hill’s “living gift” to the city and the most significant and visible civic legacy of its legendary founder. Yet, sharing … Continue reading James J. Hill Center: Stately historic library melds the old and the new

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

Amelia Earhart in St. Paul: A brief stay was marred by sad times

Over a hundred years ago, high school students in Saint Paul were enjoying Central High School’s new location at Marshall and Lexington. A new school building, designed by local architect Clarence H. Johnston, had been erected in 1912. Little did those students know that in their midst was a woman who would become one of … Continue reading Amelia Earhart in St. Paul: A brief stay was marred by sad times