Rice Park in downtown St. Paul was closed for a year and a half or so for renovations. The park is the center of many events throughout the year. It just wasn’t the same having Winter Carnival events in Kellogg Plaza Park.
There will be an official grand re-opening on June 11th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM
The park has a long history, it is 170 years old and St. Paul sprouted up around it. It is seven years older than Central Park in New York City. Before it became a park, Rice Park was used as an open space to dry laundry and graze animals. The land was eventually made into a “public square” in 1849 by John R. Irvine, a territorial pioneer and Henry M. Rice, territorial delegate and United States Senator. In May of 1914, a Woman suffrage rally was held in the park.
The revitalized park doesn’t look all that different, and this isn’t the first time it has been renovated. The landscaping has been changed, and the lighting has been improved. There are fewer trees and more concrete. The fountain is still in place. Statues were moved around but they are all still there.
My memories of Rice Park go way back. During summer vacations we used to ride the bus downtown and go to the Library, which is across the street from Rice Park. We would check out some books and sometimes sit in the park and read them.
Part of what makes the park so special is the Saint Paul Public Library on one side and the Landmark Center on the other.
I looked through my pictures of the park and most of them were taken in winter during the winter carnival. Last week I got some new pictures just before the park was filled with tents and people ready to add to the history of the park.
Go to StPaul.gov for more information about the recent renovations at the park and future events. – Click on the pictures for a larger view.