The city has a complex history. It was one of the fastest growing cities in the country in the late 19th century, before becoming a gangster haven in the 1930’s, and is now one half of the thriving Twin Cities metro area. St. Paul has been, and still is, unique to the world in more than one category. Test your knowledge of the city below.
St. Paul trivia, facts, and firsts
- The skyway connecting the First National Bank Building’s 17th floor to the Merchant Bank Building’s 16th floor is said to be the very first skyway in the world.
- St. Paul has the most Mississippi River shoreline of any city in the country.
- Upon its completion in 1890, the Pioneer Press Building at 4th and Robert Street was the tallest building in America west of Chicago. It is now home to Revival (the wine, beer, and spirits store, not the restaurant), Legacy Chocolates, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
- Summit Avenue boasts the longest stretch of Victorian architecture in the country. The Governor’s mansion and James J. Hill house are on Summit. Literary icons F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis both had homes along the avenue as well, and Garrison Keillor lives there currently.
- Charles Schultz, creator of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang, was also born and raised in St. Paul, and worked at the Pioneer Press.
St. Paul is second only to Boston in number of higher-education institutions per square foot.
- Downtown has more than five miles of continuous skyways. The system was started in 1967 (First National Bank building’s notwithstanding), although Donaldson’s department store lays claim earlier than that, creating a floating walkway to its parking ramp in 1951. It is the second-longest skyway system in the world.
- Downtown’s Rice Park is older than Central Park in New York.
- Irish politics: Every St. Paul mayor from 1938-1960 was Irish. There were only two from 1932-1972 that weren’t. St. Paul’s current mayor, Chris Coleman, is also of Irish descent.
- On December 4, 1928, “Dapper” Dan Hogan, St. Paul’s most notorious mob boss, and owner of the Green Lantern saloon, was one of the first gangsters ever to be killed by a car bomb.
- Upon its completion in 1908, the Noyes Brothers and Cutler Wholesale Drug Warehouse, now the Park Square Court building that houses Barrio, Bulldog, Public, and Handsome Hog, was the largest drug warehouse in the world.
The First National Bank Building was being built at the same time as the Empire State Building and had to compete for materials. Both buildings were completed in 1931.
- Diverse cuisine: The Black Sea Restaurant on Snelling Avenue was the state’s first Turkish restaurant. Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant was the first Kurdish restaurant in the country.
- The Spot, established in 1885 on Randolph Avenue, lays claim as the oldest bar in the city.
Bill Murray is part-owner of the St. Paul Saints. He wore a St. Paul Saints baseball hat for his role in the 1996 classic Space Jam.
- The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is the only full-time orchestra in the U.S.
- St. Paul is home to the World’s Largest Lite-Brite installation (as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records), currently housed at St. Paul’s Union Depot.
For the sake of concision, sources are not included in the article. If you find anyone of our trivia entries suspect, or want to discuss them further, please let us know by hitting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read this next: St. Paul’s 50 Best Restaurants (The ultimate list)