“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Saint Paul in Ramsey County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Irvine Park / Irvine Park Historic District

Irvine Park marker (obverse) image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, May 29, 2019
1. Irvine Park marker (obverse)
Inscription.  Pioneer land developer John Irvine established the Upper Landing for steamboats where Chestnut Street meets the Mississippi River. In 1849 he deeded this square to the village of Saint Paul as a public park. Its earliest use as public grazing land eventually gave way to a more formal urban space under pressure from prominent residents of the area, headed by merchant Joseph Forepaugh. Officially named Irvine Park in 1872, it was soon graded by ox team and landscaped with walks and flower beds. Park furniture and a gazebo were added, and in 1881 an ornate fountain was installed.

As the surrounding area began to deteriorate in the twentieth century, so did Irvine Park. In 1927 the original fountain was removed and the metal scrapped.

In conjunction with the city of Saint Paul's redevelopment plan for the historic district in the 1970s, a new fountain, replicating the original, was cast and installed. The bronze leaves near the top of the fountain are a gift from the Historic Irvine Park Association. Park walks were designed in a hexagon pattern simulating the original hexagon tiles, and the gazebo and general park plan are also faithful

Irvine Park Historic District marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, May 29, 2019
2. Irvine Park Historic District marker (reverse)
to the original design. Restored Irvine Park was dedicated in 1978.

This marker is dedicated to the memory of those who built, protected, preserved, and cherished this neighborhood.


Saint Paul's only remaining frontier neighborhood, the Irvine Park Historic District, was built in the area overlooking the Upper Landing on the Mississippi River. Among the district's historic structures are eight homes built before 1853, including the city's oldest surviving building, the Symonds House at 234 Ryan Avenue (1850). From 1870 to 1890 the district saw not only the development of the park but the construction of homes in the Italianate, Queen Anne, Romanesque, and Stick styles. After the turn of the century, a number of homes in the Midwest Square style were added.

As the area aged its buildings deteriorated, and by the 1970's the larger homes had become tenements and were slated for urban renewal clearance. Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the Irvine Park district was preserved and restored in a cooperative program between private individuals and the city of Saint Paul. New residential structures were designed to be compatible with the historic houses, consistent with the designation as a St. Paul Heritage Preservation district. Today the residences of early Minnesota governors, Civil War generals, lawyers, and financiers stand

Marker on the edge of Irvine Park image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, May 29, 2019
3. Marker on the edge of Irvine Park
beside those of merchants and harness makers in a district that offers a visual summary of architectural and social history.

Erected 1988 by Historic Irvine Park Association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 44° 56.465′ N, 93° 6.185′ W. Marker is in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in Ramsey County. Marker is at the intersection of N. Walnut Street and Irvine Park when traveling south on N. Walnut Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 251 Walnut Street, Saint Paul MN 55102, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Alexander Ramsey House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Freedom House Station 51 (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Saint Paul Public Library (approx. 0.3 miles away); The James J. Hill Reference Library (approx. 0.4 miles away); Rice Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Market Street Methodist Episcopal Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); James J. Hill / The James J. Hill House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Summit–Selby Neighborhood (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Saint Paul.
Also see . . .  Irvine Park Historic District on Wikipedia. (Submitted on May 31, 2019, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota.)

Marker at the intersection of Walnut Street and Irvine Park image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, April 23, 2019
4. Marker at the intersection of Walnut Street and Irvine Park
Credits. This page was last revised on June 1, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 31, 2019, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 75 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 31, 2019, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 2, 2021