Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Neighborhood/s within: West 7th, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States

West 7th Saint Paul Ramsey County


Historic Irvine Park

In 1849 John Irvine deeded land for the park to the village of Saint Paul. In 1871 the park was graded; with the job taking forty-five days with a team of oxen. On March 5, 1872 , the square was officially named Irvine Park in honor of its donor. It was in the year 1881 that the Pendergast brothers installed the fountain at a cost of $900.

Development of Irvine Park brought dramatic changes. Its deterioration, by contrast, was gradual. Early evidence of that decline was the city’s recommendation in 1917 to downgrade the park to a “playground.” Ten years later the fountain was removed and the metal scrapped.

Although occasional plantings and maintenance were done over the next decades, by the 1970’s the park was the local depository for retired playground equipment and a regular stopping point for vagrants. Over 96 percent of the area’s housing was classified as substandard. Public acquisition of property for urban renewal was already underway when neighbors and planners began to recognize the area’s historic significance. The Irvine Park District was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in October 1973. Since 1981 Irvine Park has been a St. Paul Heritage Preservation District. This designation requires that the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission review plans to alter building exteriors in order to assess their impact on the area’s historic nature.

In 1978, in conjunction with the redevelopment plans for the entire district, the Robinson Iron Company of Alexander City, Alabama, cast a new fountain. The fountain is not an exact replica of the original but resembles it in height and general design. The most obvious difference is that the new fountain spouts water from gargoyles instead of dogs’ heads. The cost of the replacement fountain roughly 100 years after the original was approximately $40,000. The bronze leaves near the top of the fountain were a gift from the Historic Irvine Park Association.

Mayor George Latimer formally dedicated the restored Irvine Park on October 1, 1978 , in the presence of Irvine family descendants. Now the scene of weddings, quiet picnics and band concerts, Irvine Park has slipped graciously and gracefully back into its earlier role as the green space at the edge of downtown, protected by the Mississippi River and its bluffs from the rush of progress and the congestion of traffic. Its specialness is in its range of architectural styles and the richness of its history. If you do nothing more than stroll through the area, enjoying the view and the quiet perspective on modern-day Saint Paul that Irvine Park affords, you will have realized part of that richness. But we think the parts that make up this whole are too interesting to miss. We invite you to savor them individually.

If you wish to learn more about the park, as well as the history of the individual homes in Irvine Park, you may wish to purchase the booklet “A Brief History of the Irvine Park District:” which is available at the Alexander Ramsey House. Walking tours are also available at certain times of the year.

Please note* The above text was derived from the booklet.

Alexander Ramsey House 265 South Exchange Street Saint Paul , MN 55102

Email: Phone: (651) 296-8760 or (651) 296-0100


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    Buildings in Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    # Street
    Armstrong-Quinlan House, 227 Eagle Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 227227 Eagle Street
    Eaton-Myler House, 53 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota 5353 Irvine Park
    Forepaugh-Hammond House, 276 South Exchange Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 276276 Exchange Street S
    Horn House, 50 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota 5050 Irvine Park
    John McDonald House, 56 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota 5656 Irvine Park
    Justus Ohage House, 59 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota 5959 Irvine Park
    Murray - Lanpher House, 35 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota 3535 Irvine Park
    Panama Flats, 226 - 234 S. Exchange Street, Saint Paul,Minnesota 226226 Exchange Street S
    Parker-Marshall House, 30 Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota 3030 Irvine Park
    Wright-Prendergast House, 223 Walnut Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 223223 Walnut Street

    Structures in Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    Sites in Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    Tours in Irvine Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    Bridge Trail Walking Tour
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