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St. Peter, Minnesota
Location in the state of Minnesota.
Country United States
State Minnesota
Counties Nicollet County
 - Mayor Tim Strand
 - Land 5.4 sq mi (13.82 km2)
Population (2004)
 - Total 10,631
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

St. Peter is a city in Nicollet County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 9,747 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Nicollet County[1].

St. Peter is part of the MankatoNorth Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area.



St. Peter was founded in 1853 by Captain William Bigelow Dodd, who claimed 150 acres (0.61 km2) north of what is now Broadway Avenue. He named the new settlement Rock Bend because of the rock formation at the bend of the Minnesota River. The town site was platted and surveyed in 1854 by Daniel L. Turpin. In 1855 a group of St. Paul businessmen interested in promoting the town formed the Saint Peter Company, and the town was renamed St. Peter. The president of the Company was Willis A. Gorman, Territorial Governor of Minnesota. Many of the streets in St. Peter were named after streets in New York City; Park Row, Chatham, Broadway, Nassau, Union for example. Captain Dodd was originally from Bloomfield, New Jersey, his second wife Harriett Newell Jones, a native of Cabot, Vermont was living in New York at the time of their marriage at the Church of the Holy Communion in New York City, that church helped fund the church in St. Peter which shares the same name.

In 1857 an attempt was made to move the capitol from St. Paul to St. Peter. Gov. Gorman owned the land on which the bill's sponsors wanted to build the new capitol building, and at one point had been heard saying, "If the capitol remains in Saint Paul, the territory is worth millions and I have nothing." At the time, St. Peter - a city in the central region of the territory - was seen as more accessible to the far-flung territorial legislators than St. Paul, which was in the extreme eastern portion of the territory, on the east bank of the Mississippi River. A bill was passed in both houses of the Territorial Legislature and was awaiting Governor Gorman's signature. A member of the Territorial Council (Senate) Joseph J. Rolette of Pembina (now in North Dakota), the son of a Canadian fur trapper and chairman of the enrollment committee, took the bill and hid in a St. Paul Hotel, drinking and playing cards with some friends as the City Police looked fruitlessly for him, until the end of the legislative session, too late for the bill to be signed. Rolette came into the chamber just as the session ended. One might say that the bill was an attempt to "rob Paul to pay Peter". Today, St. Paul is the second largest city in the state (second only to neighboring Minneapolis), while St. Peter is a relatively small rural town.

The Church of the Holy Communion is one of several St. Peter structures on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1851 the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was signed between the Sioux (Dakota) and the U. S. Government just one mile (1.6 km) north of St. Peter. The Nicollet County Historical Society—Treaty Site History Center is located near the site of the treaty signing. The promises of the treaty were not kept. The Dakota became angered and the Dakota War of 1862 began in Cottonwood County. In August 1862 the Dakota attacked the German settlement of New Ulm. A company of volunteers from St. Peter, headed by Captain William B. Dodd, St. Peter's founder, went to the defense of New Ulm. Captain Dodd was killed on August 23, 1862, and was briefly buried in New Ulm. On November 11, 1862, Captain Dodd was buried with high military honors in St. Peter on the grounds of the Church of the Holy Communion (Episcopal), on land he donated to the church. Captain Dodd, his wife Harriet and two children are buried behind the present stone church built in 1869-70 at 118 North Minnesota Avenue.

In 1866 the Legislature established the first "Minnesota Asylum for the Insane" in St. Peter. Later it was known as the St. Peter State Hospital and now as St. Peter Regional Treatment Center.



St. Peter is known as the home of five Governors:

The John A. Johnson House is listed on the NRHP.

The most famous governor, John Albert Johnson, was born in St. Peter in July 28, 1861, to Swedish-born parents. Because of family circumstances, John offered to help his mother raise the family. He left school at a young age and held a variety of jobs. In 1887 he was hired as editor of the St. Peter Herald, the local Democratic paper. In 1899 he was elected to the State Senate, and served until 1903. In 1904 he was elected as Minnesota's 16th Governor. He was reelected in 1906 and 1908. In 1912 he was being considered as a possible candidate for President of the United States, but he died as the result of an operation for intestinal adhesions in Rochester, Minnesota on September 21, 1909. Dr. William James Mayo and Dr. Charles Horace Mayo, who came from Le Sueur, nine miles (14 km) north of St. Peter, and friends of the Governor performed the operation. After lying in State in the state capitol rotunda, Governor Johnson's body was taken to St. Peter for burial. The funeral held at the Union Presbyterian Church was the largest ever in St. Peter, he was buried near his parents in Greenhill Cemetery in St. Peter. He was survived by his wife Elinore "Nora" Preston Johnson.


  • Eugene St. Julien Cox 1865-1867 (Served in the State Legislature and as District Court Judge)
  • Francis E. Lange 1868-1869
  • William Schimmell 1870-1872 (First president of First National Bank)
  • Albert Knight 1873-1875 (Knight Street is named after him)
  • Addison L. Sackett 1876-1878 (Served as County Auditor and in the State Legislature)
  • Azro A. Stone 1879 (Served as Sheriff, Stones' Way and Stones' Park is named after him)
  • Philip Dick, Sr. 1880-1882
  • Gustav W. Steinke 1883-1884
  • Gideon S. Ives 1885 (Son-in-law of Gov. Henry A. Swift, Served as Lieutenant Governor 1891-1893)
  • Joseph A. Mason 1886-1888
  • Philip Dick, Sr. 1889-1893
  • Henry Moll 1894-1895 (Served as Probate Judge)
  • Dr. Lewis M. Erickson 1896-1898
  • Melville G. Hanscome 1899-1900
  • William H. Mueller 1901-1905
  • William H. Rounseville 1906
  • Philip Dick, Sr. 1907-1909
  • Edward Bornemann 1910-1912
  • Philip E. Dick, Jr. 1913-1914
  • Edward Bornemann 1915
  • Adolph Bornemann 1916-1917
  • William Haesecke 1918-1920
  • Lillien M. (Cox) Gault-Wolfe 1921-1922 (First Woman Mayor in Minnesota, daughter of E. St. Julien Cox)
  • Edward Woehler 1921-1930
  • Dr. Arthur H. Bittner 1931-1933 (Died in Office)
  • Floyd B. Johnson 1933-1935 (Athletic Field at St. Peter High School is named after him)
  • Otto T. Miller 1936-1937
  • Reuben R. Seibert 1938-1940
  • Otto T. Miller 1941-1943
  • John R. Faust 1944-1945
  • Henry E. Wiest 1946
  • Clifford J. Nutter 1947-1948
  • Elmer J. Kleifgen 1949-1951
  • Prof. George W. Anderson 1951-1952 (English Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College)
  • Richard Konechne 1953-1956
  • Leighton R. Swenson 1957-1958
  • Mark W. Schaus 1959-1960
  • George W. Martens 1960-1961
  • Arthur W. Cook 1962-1963
  • Lamar Hay 1964-1965
  • George W. Martens 1966-1970
  • Douglas C. Pyan 1971-1985
  • William A. Wettergren 1986-1989
  • Peter J. Rheaume 1990-1991
  • Ellery O. Peterson 1992-1995
  • Jerry K. Hawbaker 1996-2005
  • Timothy J. Strand 2006-Present


On March 29, 1998, a tornado struck St. Peter, killing six-year old Dustin Schneider, injuring dozens more, and leaving half the city in ruins.


Gustavus Adolphus College.

Saint Peter is the home of Gustavus Adolphus College, a Lutheran-affiliated private liberal arts college founded in 1862. The public high school is St. Peter High School. There are two parochial schools in St. Peter: John Ireland Catholic School (K-6), which is associated with the Church of St. Peter, and St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran School (K-8), which along with the church is associated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

The first class to graduate from St. Peter High School was the class of 1880. The first Superintendent of St. Peter Public Schools was Andrew Ryan McGill who served from 1865 to 1868, he served as Minnesota's Tenth Governor from 1887 to 1889.


Saint Peter is home of the Minnesota Security Hospital where those declared by the state to be mentally ill and dangerous are committed. Community health care is provided by St. Peter Community Hospital. In 2009 St. Peter Community Hospital was renamed River's Edge Hospital. That same year the construction of a new clinic was begun adjoining the hospital. There is now the River's Edge Clinic, and the St. Peter Community Clinic which is part of the Mayo Health System. Previously, there had only been the Community Clinic. Benedictine Health Care Center, formerly known as St. Peter Community Health Care Center is part of the River's Edge Hospital complex. Near the hospital Pheasants' Ridge is an assisted living facility which has a section for patients suffering from memory loss due to Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. Other health care facilities in St. Peter include Grandview Good Samaritan Center on Sunrise Drive.


The Broadway Bridge, listed on the NRHP, connects St. Peter to the west via Minnesota State Highway 99.

U.S. Route 169 and Minnesota State Highways 22 and 99 are three of the main arterial routes in the city.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.6 square miles (14.4 km2), of which, 5.4 square miles (14.0 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km2) of it (2.52%) is water.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 9,747 people, 2,978 households, and 1,843 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,797.3 people per square mile (694.3/km2). There were 3,129 housing units at an average density of 577.0/sq mi (222.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.17% White, 1.57% African American, 0.43% Native American, 1.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.25% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.04% of the population.

There were 2,978 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 30.6% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 16.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,344, and the median income for a family was $51,157. Males had a median income of $33,618 versus $25,789 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,634. About 4.2% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.


Type 2001 2002 2003 2008
Murders 0 0 0
Rapes 7 7 4
Robberies 1 2 0 1
Assaults 18 15 11
Burglaries 27 31 34
Larceny Counts 305 263 284
Auto Thefts 10 12 17

Notable residents

  • Olive Fremstad, Opera Singer, Metropolitan Opera
  • Steve Neils, Football Player, St. Louis Cardinals
  • James M. McPherson, Civil War historian and author
  • Rick Rude, professional wrestler
  • Camilla Hall, SLA member
  • Lillien M. (Cox) Gault-Wolfe, First Woman Mayor in Minnesota
  • Gideon S. Ives, Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
  • George A. Engesser, Vaudeville and Circus Entertainer
  • Maximillian Dick, Violinist, New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera
  • Myer Skoog, Inventor of the Jump Shot

See also


External links

Coordinates: 44°20′00″N 93°58′00″W / 44.333333°N 93.966666°W / 44.333333; -93.966666


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