On This Date In Twin Cities History - January 7, 1850
On this date in 1850, St. Paul landowner, John R. Irvine, obtains a license to operate a ferry across the Mississippi River at St. Paul’s Upper Landing located at the foot of what is today Chestnut Street. One of St. Paul’s earliest settlers, Irvine was born in Dansville, New York in 1812 and made his was to St. Paul via Prairie Du Chien by August of 1843. Upon his arrival, he purchased 240 acres in St. Paul for $300. Much of the area in today’s downtown St. Paul west of Wacouta Street, south of Interstate 35E, east of Grand Avenue and north of the river was included in the land Irvine purchased. While living in St. Paul, Irvine was involved in farming, milling and store-keeping. Irvine Park in St. Paul is named for him and some of the city’s oldest homes still still stand near the park.
Irvine Park – St. Paul circa 1888 (MHS)