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Pilot Knob. Mouth of the St. Peters River,
Seth Eastman, 1846-48, MHS collections.
Depicts the Mississippi/Minnesota River junction.

Fort Snelling

In 1805 the U.S. Army ordered Lt. Zebulon Pike to explore the Mississippi River and select sites for potential military posts. When he arrived at the junction of the Mississippi and St. Peters (present-day Minnesota) rivers, Pike made a treaty with several Dakota representatives to acquire land on which he promised a U.S. fort and government "factory" (trading post) would be built. The trading post was never constructed, but following the War of 1812 the U.S. government sought to stamp out British influence in the Northwest Territory by building a fort at the river junction. The first troops arrived in 1819 under the command of Lt. Col. Henry Leavenworth and began construction on the stone fort the following year. Col. Josiah Snelling arrived in 1820 to supervise construction, and by 1825 the fort was completed. Initially called Fort St. Anthony, the post was renamed "Fort Snelling" by the U.S. War Department in honor of Snelling’s efforts.


                                                                                      Fort Snelling, Seth Eastman, 1833, MHS collections.

During its early years, Fort Snelling's primary duties were to protect U.S. interests in the region’s booming fur trade, to maintain peace in the region by both deterring advances by the British in Canada and enforcing boundaries between the region’s American Indian nations, and to prevent encroachment by European-American immigrants until the U.S. government could make official treaties to gain land from American Indian nations.  The early 1800s were a relatively peaceful time in the Northwest Territory, and the fort's garrison spent the majority of its time farming nearly 400 acres of field crops and gardens and cutting enough firewood to last through the long winters.

Fort Snelling remained in service for nearly 40 years, until 1858 when Minnesota became the 32nd state.  By then the U.S. government had established forts further west and Fort Snelling was no longer considered necessary, so the post was officially closed later that same year. The fort and its military reservation was purchased from the government by Franklin Steele, a local entrepreneur and former Fort Snelling sutler, who intended to plot and sell off lots for a new city named "Fort Snelling."  During this time, the post was turned into pasture and Steele's sheep were frequently seen grazing on the fort's old parade ground.


Horace W. S. Cleveland


Horace W. S. Cleveland was a pioneer landscape architect. His greatest achievement was designing a system of parks and parkways in Minneapolis. He advocated preserving spaces for parks in the rapidly growing cities of the American West. Cleveland was especially influential in preserving the banks of the Mississippi River gorge in St. Paul and Minneapolis as parkland. Learn more about Horace’s impact here.



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Want to learn more about the history of Ford in our area?

Read “Author recounts glory days of Ford Motor in Minnesota” informational article here.

Ford Book



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Highland Village Apartments


Everyday life is quite different now than when construction was completed here in 1939, but Highland Village Apartments is still today what it has always been – a close knit community of friends, family, and neighbors enjoying one of St. Paul's finest neighborhoods and highest quality rental properties.

Of course, there have been some notable changes in the last seventy-plus years. Cleveland Avenue is now a paved street, to start. Power's Department Store has been built and demolished, as have our private tennis courts and on-site nursery school. The Twin Cities have grown over the years to meet at the Mississippi River, and Highland Park can no longer be considered a "suburban" neighborhood as we so advertised in 1940.

We've had to add some digits to our telephone number since the '40s (please note we can no longer be reached by dialing DeSoto 3897), not to mention some extra digits on our rental prices as well (note also that one-bedroom apartment rates, regrettably, have increased from the $50/month we offered in 1940).

But the years have been kind to Highland Village Apartments, and if you visit us today you might not believe that St. Paulites have called these buildings home for the better part of a century. Our original Oak hardwood floors are beautifully maintained, gleaming as they did in 1939. Thick green ivy still clings to the red brick buildings and filters the sunlight through French pane windows in every room.

Designed by renowned architect Perry Crosier to "preserve light and air," Highland Village's unique three-story walk-up design exemplifies the ideal meeting point between charm and efficiency. The architecture itself encourages both a sense of community and a respect for privacy seldom seen in modern design.

Yet, the abundance of green space and open courtyards are perhaps the most distinguishable characteristics of Highland Village, and in this way it is the absence of structure that defines our property. Residents are encouraged to plant flower gardens, and have plenty of lawn-space to grill-out, lay-out, throw the ball around, or just sit and enjoy the shade of an old oak tree.

The truth is, they just don’t build things like they used to. Our property represents a moment in time when quality and style were paramount to architectural design and construction. Come visit us and see for yourself why Highland Village Apartments is the most reputable and attractive place to live in the Twin CitiesJanuary 1941

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