Layers of history give Lowertown its unique appeal. The Saint Paul neighborhood that sprouted at the "Lower Landing" on the Mississippi River grew into a major warehouse and distribution center serving the entire Upper Midwest. Lowertown's railroad, manufacturing, and wholesaling companies expressed their sense of pride and permanence in the structures they erected nearly a century ago. In 1983 Lowertown was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, giving the area protection under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The next year, the City of Saint Paul created The Lowertown Heritage Preservation District. Thanks to restoration and adaptive use, Lowertown enjoys new vitality in the mix of commercial and residential activities that make up this urban village.
This tour begins in front of the Union Depot on Fourth Street between Sibley and Wacouta. Finish your tour by surveying the buildings in Lowertown as they preside over the banks of the Mississippi River. Modern air and automobile travelers miss the impressive view that greeted steamboat and rail passengers in the last century, but in the historical fabric of lowertown, they can still find evidence of the energy and enterprise that built Saint Paul.