On This Date In Twin Cities History - March 17, 1851

St. Patricks Day Parade in St. Paul circa 1978 (MNHS)
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in St. Paul circa 1978 (MNHS)

On this date in 1851, Minnesota’s first St. Patrick’s Day celebration is held in St. Paul. 

According to the Minnesota Pioneer (from March 20, 1851), “The Sons of the Emerald Isle, and our citizens generally, joined an impromptu celebration of the anniversary of St. Patrick on Monday last.” 

“In the forenoon, the stars and stripes were elevated to the peak of the liberty pole, in front of the Central House.”  the article goes on to state that speeches were made from the steps of the Central House” by a number of prominent local citizens including David Olmsted and Martin McLeod.

In the evening, a large company assembled at Barney Rogers’ for a supper at which “sentiments were offered.”   After supper, a procession was formed, headed by a band of music and numbering some three-hundred, which marched through the principal streets, visiting the residnces of many of our citizens.”

When the company finally dispersed it was “highly pleased,” said the editor, “with the first celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Minnesota.  May there be many such!” 

St. Patrick's Day celebration on West 7th Street in St. Paul
St. Patrick’s Day celebration on West 7th Street in St. Paul