Ramsey County History magazine offers a wide variety of articles on the people, places and history of Ramsey County.
Volume 21, Number 1: 1986
The Mississippi and St. Paul—Change Is Constant for the River and the City That Shaped It
Author: Paul Donald Hesterman
The article’s theme is how today’s Mississippi River is different from the mid-19th century river “in virtually every way, from the contours of its banks to the chemical composition of its water to the variety of species which inhabit it. Within St. Paul, the Mississippi is an urban river, reshaped by the city that stretches along it,” the author reports. He examines the changes to the river’s natural state that humans have made over a period of 150 years by filling, dam building, and polluting. The article looks at the river over eight time periods: Frontier to 1850; Steamboat to Iron Horse, 1850–1870; Rail City, 1875–1920; Redevelopment, 1920–1965; and 1965 to the Present. It also documents several themes including Government and the Riverfront; Diversity of Economic Uses; Working on the River; Neighborhood River; the Upper Levee; the West Side; and the Recreational River.
PDF of Hesterman article