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This is a contributing entry for Irvine Park History Walk and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

You’re gazing upon heavily-trafficked streets, the Science Museum parking lot, the Excel Center, condos, and the river down below. It’s not exactly a scenic vista, so why look? Because this is the oldest section of the city of St. Paul. It is where St. Paul began. And it is where you will begin your walk. Soooooo, why start a city here?


  • Exchange and Chestnut

The River

Downhill from where you are standing there was once a boat landing that transformed this place into the head of navigation on the Mississipi River at a time when steamboats were the fastest way to travel and the Mississippi was the busiest "highway" in North America.

Why is it called Uppertown?

St. Paul actually had two boat landings, the lower and upper. This area between the Upper Landing and the High Bridge on Smith Avenue was nicknamed Uppertown. Everywhere you walk today is located in Uppertown.

Uppertown and Irvine Park are the oldest sections of the vast West 7th or West End neighborhood that stretches from Seven Corners (the Xcel Energy Center) to Montreal Avenue where West 7th becomes Hwy 5.

Millett, Larry. Lost Twin Cities (MNHS Press, 1992)

Image Sources(Click to expand)

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