An Urban Biography
Author Bill Lindeke
Minnesota Historical Society Press (July 20, 2021)
A concise history of St. Paul, featuring stories that are familiar, surprising, and sure to change the way you see Minnesota’s capital city.
How did the city of St. Paul come to be where and what it is, and what does that show us about the city today? Bill Lindeke provides intriguing insights and helpful answers. He tells the stories of the Dakota village forced to move across the Mississippi by a treaty—and why whiskey sellers took over the site; the new community’s close ties to Fort Snelling and Winnipeg; the steamboats and railroads that created a booming city; the German immigrants who outnumbered the Irish but kept a low profile when the United States went to war; the laborers who built the domes over the state capitol and the Cathedral of St. Paul; the gangsters and bootleggers who found refuge in the city; the strong neighborhoods, shaped by streets built on footpaths and wagon roads—until freeway construction changed so much; and the Hmong, Mexican, East African, and Karen immigrants who continue to build the city’s strong traditions of small businesses.
This thoughtful investigation of place helps readers to understand the city’s hidden stories, surrounding its residents in plain sight.
In the Media:
"Through detailing the lives St. Paul’s history makers, much like a novelist might, Lindeke paints the past with a colorful brush and forces readers to take a second look at their surroundings, be those public parks or other landmarks, like the Peanuts statues scattered throughout the city. "
Excerpted in MinnPost and Racket.
perspective on the factors that have shaped our city. There is much to learn from
St. Paul’s blended history; this book offers a fascinating look at where we’ve been
and where we can dare to go.”
Melvin Carter, mayor of St. Paul
“Examining the intersection of people and place, Bill Lindeke’s St. Paul uses powerful
stories that speak to the complex history of our beloved capital city—the growth of its
people, neighborhoods, economy, and more. The book is an essential read for those
who want to imagine and build a future St. Paul.”
“Bill Lindeke brings the heft and deftness of an engaged scholar to this project while
writing a book that is a pleasure to read. By showing how diverse communities, from
the Dakota to the Hmong and Somali, not only live here but also make sense out of
their experiences here, Lindeke provides a history that lives up to his dictum that
‘the uneven geography of St. Paul is best understood from contrasting perspectives.’”
Peter Rachleff, co–executive director, East Side Freedom Library
Bill Lindeke is an urban geographer and writer who focuses on how our environments shape our lives. He writes MinnPost’s "Cityscapes" column, blogs at Twin Cities Sidewalks, and has written articles on local food and drink history for City Pages and the Growler. He has also taught urban geography at the University of Minnesota and Metro State University. He is the author of Minneapolis–Saint Paul: Then and Now and the coauthor of Closing Time: Saloons, Taverns, Dives, and Watering Holes of the Twin Cities.
- This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
- 192 pages
- 50 B&W photos
- 6 x 9 inches
- ISBN: 9781681342009