As the heads of river navigation, the Lower and Upper Landings provided a destination not just for goods but also for entrepreneurs and adventurers who were ready for a new territory and the hope of a new start. Early Saint Paul’s population expanded rapidly.
The settlement of Saint Paul was established in 1849, the same year as was the Minnesota Territory. Early settlers John Irvine, whose ferryboat dock was at the Upper Landing, and Henry Rice, a fur trader who quickly made a fortune in real estate, each donated lands for future parks. These donations may have been the first real sign that a community was about to grow here.
Saint Paul became an incorporated city in 1854. Rapid development centered at Seven Corners, the major intersection that included Third Street (the “third up from the river,” now Kellogg Blvd.), Seventh Street and Eagle Street. As the population increased, the direction of development was westward along Fort Road through Uppertown. John Irvine’s land donation became Irvine Park, and many newly rich land developers and businessmen began to build homes and businesses.