If you take a look at Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, you will find that they’re located very close together. In fact, there are only really separated by the Mississippi River and there’s a bridge in between them. However, even though they’re close geographically, and referred to as the’ Twin Cities’ they’re actually worlds apart. It is very curious that two cities that are located next to each other are so entirely different. However, there are some reasons behind this phenomenon. Here is a closer look at the Minneapolis St. Paul rivalry, where it started, and the things that appear to keep it going on today.
If you take a look at the Twin Cities early on, you will find that there beginnings were entirely different. Minneapolis and St. Paul are set astride the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers and the downtown areas are actually only about 13 km from each other and they’re on the shores of the Mississippi. When the Louisiana Purchase was made, the area was then occupied by the U. S. Army and Fort Snelling was built in 1819.
In the early 1840s, there were already two different villages that were in the area. One was referred to as the village of Minneapolis on the West Bank of Mississippi River, and then the village of St. Anthony was located on the East Bank of the Mississippi. These two villages later came together and a suspension bridge connected them.
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Bottineau spent his later years in the west of Minnesota known as the Red River Valley, an area that drains to the north, though it was related to the Mississippi through the famous Pembina Ox-cart Trail. That trail also passed through Elk River, adding to its importance as a commercial hub during its early history.
St. Paul had a little bit of a different start. Pierre Parrant, a trapper who was retired, decided to open up a tavern and was not allowed to set it up on the earth owned by the Fort. So, he set up his tavern, known as the ‘Pig’s Eye’ on the Northern Side of the river. It seemed for some time that this new town may end in place with the name ‘Pig’s Eye,’ but Father Lucien Galtier came to the area as a missionary and saved the city from that name. His favorite patron saint was St. Paul, and he promoted the name and the name of the city was changed to St. Paul in 1841.
The fact that St. Paul was the furthest point to the north that the large cargo boats could go on the Mississippi, also kept the cities apart from each other. Even though the cities are only separated by a little river, this made a huge difference. There are some locks available today that make it possible for ships to travel to Minneapolis, but because the trip is so time consuming, many don’t make the trip.
Over the years, there’s been a whole lot of competence and rivalry between the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In fact, since the beginning, they have competed against each other, with each city trying to build bigger buildings and even more extravagant buildings. Each of the cities have a University of Minnesota campus in the city. Later, in 1915 St. Paul would build and complete a beautiful Cathedral, and Minneapolis had to keep up and they built their Basilica of St. Mary just a number of years later. Interestingly enough, during the United States Census of 1890, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul kept kidnapping and arresting the census takers from the other city, trying to hold the other city from growing bigger.
In some things in the past, the rivalry of Minneapolis St. Paul, MN actually ended up leading to violence. When the baseball teams from the two cities, the St. Paul Saints and the Minneapolis Millers, played against each other in 1923, violence broke out. The two cities would build rival stadiums in the 1950’s as well, as they competed to get a franchise for major league baseball.
The development of Minneapolis and St. Paul is also very distinct. Minneapolis is, known for using new architecture with an avant garde touch, on the one hand. However, on the other hand, St. Paul brings in new buildings as well, but places them as part of the Victorian and classical styles of buildings that are already found in the old city.
To some extent, between the two cities there is a certain social segregation as well. Usually you will find that those who live in one city usually stay in that city and socialize with individuals in their city as well. Sure, only a bridge and, naturally, the Mississippi River separates the two rivers, but when it is a question of socialization, both cities seem to stay far apart as a general rule.
While one would think that two cities that are so close together would eventually merge together, this isn’t true when it is a matter to Minneapolis St. Paul. The two cities have been different and worlds apart from their beginnings, and yet today they remain that way, with no evidence of change in sight.