The Original Name of St. Paul and 12 More Fun Facts about the Twin Cities and Rochester

September 21, 2015


Everyone knows that St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota, iconic musician Prince calls Minneapolis his hometown, and Rochester is the site of the world-famous Mayo Clinic. But there are a number of lesser-known, fascinating facts that help to make up the unique personalities of these cities. Have fun sharing these with your family, friends and Springs Apartments neighbors!

Civics and Geography

Which twin is older? That would be St. Paul, the laid-back elder city that came along 13 years earlier than its flashier sibling. Combined, they comprise the 16th largest metropolitan area in the United States.

St. Paul's Rice Park, located downtown, predates Central Park in New York City.

Rochester is located in one of only four counties in Minnesota without a natural lake.

St. Paul was once known as "Pig's Eye" or "Pig's Eye Landing" after a popular tavern founded in the mid-1800s by bootlegger and one-time fur trader Pierre Parrant.

Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester are the three most populous cities in Minnesota in that order.

Rochester is the namesake of settler George Head's one-time home town in New York state. The Zumbro River rapids reminded him of that city's Genesee River.

Several of the streets in Northeast Minneapolis are named after presidents in order of their terms of office. This came about as a way to help immigrant residents of the neighborhood prepare for the citizenship test.

Arts and Entertainment

Popular singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams married her husband, Minneapolis native Tom Overby, on stage at First Avenue, the city's renowned nightclub. The ceremony took place in 2009 between Williams' regular set and encore.

One of Minnesota's favorite sons, the legendary Bob Dylan, once lived in Minneapolis above what is now the Loring Pasta Bar in the Dinkytown district before heading to New York and musical history.

Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis served as the inspiration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's classic poem, "The Song of Hiawatha," despite the fact that he had never actually seen the falls in person.

Thanks to its abundance of libraries, bookstores and newspapers, Minneapolis ranks as the most literate city in the United States. In 2015 it finally leapfrogged Washington, D.C. and Seattle, the previous top two. St. Paul is in fourth place. 

Business and Industry

The Twin Cities have contributed to the national lifestyle with creations such as Post-It notes, cellophane tape, rollerblades, Cream of Wheat and Tonka Toys.

In 1912, the country's first Better Business Bureau was established in Minneapolis.

Do you have any fun facts to add to this list? Share them in the comments for people who may be moving to the Twin Cities or Rochester!

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