Clarence “Cap” Wigington: Architect’s beautiful, elegant buildings endure in St. Paul

Clarence Wigington left his mark all over Saint Paul, yet his work was largely unattributed during his lifetime. Even today few recognize his many architectural accomplishments. In a sense, he was an invisible man. Wigington, known as “Cap,” was the mastermind behind the Highland Park Water Tower,* the Harriet Island Pavilion, the [now] Roy Wilkins … Continue reading Clarence “Cap” Wigington: Architect’s beautiful, elegant buildings endure in St. Paul

The Saint Paul Curling Club: Longtime home of “good play” serves curlers from near and far

Casting stones is usually considered a bad thing to do, but not at 476 Selby Avenue in the heart of Saint Paul: the Saint Paul Curling Club. Here, courtesy and respect are the order of the day when stones are thrown (pushed, actually) in the game of curling. Perhaps that sporting attitude is in part … Continue reading The Saint Paul Curling Club: Longtime home of “good play” serves curlers from near and far

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

The University Club of Saint Paul: Tradition proudly endures

Perched among the mansions of elegant Summit Avenue, where Ramsey Street intersects the avenue at the top of what is rumored to be St. Paul’s steepest hill, the University Club poses a question: why a “University Club” when there’s no university nearby, much less adjacent? Turns out the University Club is one of St. Paul’s … Continue reading The University Club of Saint Paul: Tradition proudly endures

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

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

Oxford: City of fiction and fantasy

“If God Himself on earth abode would make/He Oxford, sure, would for his dwelling take.” – Dan Rogers The famed spires of Oxford’s colleges stand tall amid the hustle and bustle of the city, above the fray. Oxford’s 150,000 residents, including 33,000 students, seem to accept the herds of tourists as a necessary part of … Continue reading Oxford: City of fiction and fantasy