- The City of St. Peter was founded in the year 1853 by Captain William Dodd. It is one of the oldest cities in Minnesota, and has the largest concentration of historic places in a downtown area in the state.
- St. Peter is the county seat of Nicollet County. Major Highways in St. Peter include: 169, 99, and 22.
- St. Peter is alongside the Minnesota River. It is also near Swan Lake.
- In 1858 the Minnesota Legislature designated St. Peter the state capital. The original bill was awaiting the governor’s signature when it was stolen by Joe Rolette of Pembina. Since Rolette had the bill outside of St. Peter for more than 48 hours, it lost that designation, and St. Paul was made the capital.
- The St. Peter Company was formed in the year 1856. A site south of Traverse Des Sioux was the company’s preferred location.
- While the City of St. Peter was founded in the year 1853, the city was not officially incorporated for 20 years, in 1873.
- St. Peter is home to the Traverse Des Sioux Historic Treaty Site. The treaty between the US Government and the Sioux Indians was signed in 1851, and opened up much of the Minnesota River Valley to settlement. The Treaty Site is located off Highway 169 on the north side of St. Peter.
- St. Peter is the hometown of 5 former Minnesota governors, more than any other town in the state. Willis Gorman, Henry Swift, Horace Austin, Andrew McGill, and John Johnson were all from St. Peter.
- Two famous opera singers are St. Peter natives: Olive Fremstad and Jussi Bjorling.
- Prior to bridges being built across the Minnesota River, St. Peter was the site of a few ferries across the river. One of them was operated by the founder of the town, William Dodd, for many years.
- St. Peter is home to Independent School District Number 508. Their nickname is the Saints.
- St. Peter is home to the Regional Treatment Center State Hospital, a large employer in the area. There is also a museum which traces the hospital’s history all the way back to 1866.
- A mainstay in St. Peter is Gustavus Adolphus College. The 4-year school was founded in 1875, but residents began raising money for the school in 1858. Gustavus is known as one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the nation.
- Some of St. Peter’s major industries and employers include: Alumacraft Boat Company, makers of boats and canoes; the headquarters of both Scholarship America and the Minnesota School Board Association; the St. Peter Hospital; and a company called Intelliserve, which does tele-marketing.
Festivals & Events
- St. Peter’s Winterfest takes place in February. The 10-day long festival includes numerous events, such as the “Freeze Your Buns Run,” fireworks, a fish house parade, dances, an ice fishing contest, the “Hairy Legs Contest” and much more, including the annual Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics.
- St. Peter celebrates St. Patrick’s Day the way it was meant to be – with a parade. The annual event draws thousands of Irish and non-Irish alike.
- St. Peter celebrates our nation’s birthday with An Old Fashioned 4th Of July.
- The Nicollet County Fair is held in St. Peter every August.
- Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter hosts a Nobel Conference once a year. Scholars from around the world visit the campus. The event typically takes place in October.
- Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter in St. Peter hosts the Christmas In Christ’s Chapel concert every December. People from around the region gather at the chapel to hear performances by the Gustavus Choir.
- The E. Saint Julien Cox House in St. Peter is a fully restored Victorian house once owned by one of the most colorful and eccentric figures in Minnesota history. Escorted tours are available in period dress. In December, “Christmas At The Cox House” lets you experience a Victorian Christmas.
- The City of St. Peter has a population of approximately 10,000 people. The Mayor is Tim Strand.
- The City of St. Peter joined the Sister City International Program in recent years, and is officially partnered with the City of Petatlan, Mexico. The Mexican town was chosen as St. Peter’s Sister City because it is similar in size to St. Peter, and also has a college.
- The finishing touches were put on the newly-reconstructed Highway 169 through downtown St. Peter in 2010, and the project earned the Minnesota Department of Transportation a national award. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials presented Mn/DOT the “Best Recovery Act” Award for its work renovating the highway through St. Peter.
- A St. Peter teen won a $10,000 grand prize in 2010 for coming up with an unorthodox use for bubble wrap. 13-year-old Matthew Huber came up with the idea to use bubble wrap as an alternative to conventional glass Petri dishes for science experiments. He entered the idea in a contest sponsored by Sealed Air Corp, the Elmwood Park, New Jersey company that makes bubble wrap. Matthew got to show off his invention on the CBS Early Show.
- A huge expansion project was approved for Gustavus Adolphus College in 2010. Work included building a 125,000 square-foot academic building just west of Christ’s Chapel. The 44-million dollar project also included the renovation of the A.H. Anderson Social Science Building and a new mall connecting everything to campus.
- The Gustavus Adolphus College Symphony Orchestra held a series of concerts in South Africa in early 2012. The group played 4 concerts in Capetown and 2 in Johannesburg over the course of the trip. The group of approximately 60 Gutavus students also delivered clothing, shoes, books, and school supplies to schools in South Africa townships.
- A St. Peter High School student was named the KNUJ Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 2012. Katy Kuiper was honored during the Player of the Year Banquet in March.
- Nearly a hundred Gustavus Adolphus College students in 2012 spent their Spring Break helping out Habitat for Humanity chapters across the country. A total of 40 Gustavus students were in Laredo, Texas, 27 headed to Pensacola, Florida, and 27 students were in Maryville, Tennessee. Gustavus staff members accompanied the students as well.
- Student volunteers from St. Peter High School bagged more than 30,000 meals for hungry children around the world in May of 2012. The Kids Against Hunger event was organized by the St. Peter High School National Honor Society, FFA, and Student Council. The students raised more than $8,500 to finance the project as well.
- After 4 years of fundraising, the City of St. Peter’s new Dog Park opened to the public in August of 2012. The 43,000 square-foot park is located just outside of St. Peter at the intersection of Rabbit Road and Highway 99. The park features one area for small dogs and another for larger ones. It became a reality thanks to around $10,000 in donations from businesses and individuals as well as in-kind donations from the city.
- Gustavus Adolphus College was again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in 2012 by US News & World Report.
- The King and Queen of Sweden visited the City of St. Peter in October of 2012. King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia were at Gustavus Adolphus College to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the college, which was founded by Swedish immigrants. The royal couple met school and city officials, and there was a walking procession to the college chapel with the route lined by St. Peter school children. Formal ceremonies included the dedication of the new Sesqucentennial Plaza at Gustavus Adolphus, among other events.
- St. Peter High School inducted 3 people into the school’s Hall of Fame in October of 2012. Cambria President Marty Davis, former NASA engineer Susan Keswani and the late St. Peter insurance man Bill Pell were honored.
- A 19-year-old St. Peter man was on the FOX television show “The X-Factor” in 2012. Gustavus Adolphus College Sophomore Ben Westphal submitted an online audition tape in May and made it to the show’s “Boot Camp” round after successfully auditioning in front of the show’s all-star judges in Kansas City, Missouri.
- The superintendent of the St. Peter School District was named the 2013 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year in October of 2012. Jeff Olson was honored by the Minnesota Association of School Administrators based on his communication skills, professionalism and community involvement. Olson has been with St. Peter Public Schools since the year 1975, and has been superintendent since 2003.
- St. Peter’s Rock Bend Folk Festival received a grant for $18,500 in 2012. It came from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
- The students of St. Peter High School crowned new Homecoming Royalty in October of 2012. Named Homecoming King was Darrick, and crowned Homecoming Queen was Kathy Brinkman.
Click on the title below to listen to the Town Days Podcasts
20 Jan 15