The sculpture gardens of the North High Bridge Park
The City of St. Paul was founded as a settlement out of Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. One of St. Paul's more famous characters, Pig's Eye Parrant, was driven out of the fort in 1838 for bootlegging liquor, settled down river in Fountain Cave, and continued operations from there.
Later Pig's Eye relocated down river to the "lower levee" and the little settlement took his name until Fr. Lucien Galtier renamed it after the Apostle St. Paul in 1841. Settlement continued by steamboat and soon an "upper levee" settlement competed for immigration. St. Paul, including both levees, was designated the capital of the Minnesota Territory with its creation March 4, 1849. As population grew, settlement expanded across the Mississippi River in West St. Paul, Dakota County. West St. Paul was incorporated in 1858, the same year that Minnesota became the 38th State, with about 400 people living on the flats on the "West Side" across from downtown St. Paul. River traffic was by ferry until the St. Paul Bridge (later the Wabasha Bridge) was completed in 1859.
In 1874 St. Paul annexed the West Side, which actually was south due to a bend in the river. The West Side lay across the river, and was incorporated for two reasons: "to aid law enforcement--criminals could escape St. Paul authorities by crossing to the West Side and Dakota County--and to eliminate the Wabasha Street Bridge tolls which were inhibiting development on the West Side..."
The area of St. Paul, currently the downtown area, was "literally bursting at its seams and the Upper West Side was valuable and desirable land for business and residential districts... Credit for providing this link goes in large part to the man responsible for the building of the High Bridge, Robert Smith."