Saint Paul (abbreviated St. Paul) is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2018, the city's estimated population was 307,695. Known as the "Twin Cities", the two form the core of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.6 million residents.
St. Paul’s historic importance in the development of the Upper Midwest was as a commercial centre that utilized its strategic location on the Mississippi. Furs were its first products for the outside market. In 1862 the first train left the city on the 10-mile (16-km) track of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. In 1883 a great celebration marked the completion of the Northern Pacific Railway from St. Paul to the West Coast, and 10 years later the Great Northern Railway, under the leadership of James J. Hill, was completed, with St. Paul as the eastern terminus (both railways are now part of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation). These railroad developments made the city the gateway to the Pacific Northwest and spurred its growth. In 1886 the St. Paul Union Stockyards were established, and the livestock market (later moved to suburban South St. Paul) became one of the world’s largest. Meatpacking plants also flourished in the city, but during the 1970s the market dramatically declined in size, and most major packing plants closed.
In the 1920s and ’30s, St. Paul became known as a safe haven for gangsters from other Midwestern cities; some of the locales formerly associated with them have become tourist attractions. Economic difficulties and migration to the suburbs contributed to a decline in the central city in the mid-20th century, but, beginning in the mid-1970s, the city undertook large-scale urban-renewal projects, redeveloping downtown business and residential areas.
St. Paul’s population grew steadily during the first half of the 20th century, nearly doubling between 1900 and the peak year of 1960 (when it reached 313,411).
St. Paul is a major education, health care, government, financial, and industrial centre. Highly diversified manufactures include automobiles, chemicals, computer products and software, tools, machinery, and medical equipment. Insurance, high-technology industries, food processing, oil refining, and convention business are also important.
From quaint small town celebrations to one of the largest state fairs in the nation, there’s an event to attend every weekend no matter the time of year. Simply delighting in local craft beer or enjoying a savory dish from a local food truck can be cause for celebration.
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