Welcome to Saint Peter
Saint Peter is a warm and welcoming community located in the scenic Minnesota River Valley.
The City of Saint Peter was incorporated in 1873 and is located approximately 60 miles south of Minneapolis/Saint Paul in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley (10 miles north of Mankato). Our city has a population of over 11,400 and was originally intended to be the capitol of the State of Minnesota. As the legislators were preparing to vote on the location of the capital, Joe Rolette stole the bill that would have named Saint Peter as capital and he hid with it until after the legislature voted for Saint Paul.
Even though Saint Peter was not named the capital, visitors can see how our founding fathers planned for that designation by platting extra wide streets in town. In addition, the capitol building would have been located in Minnesota Square Park which is adjacent to Highway 169 on the south end of our City.
The City is rich in historical buildings and besides having about a dozen structures on the National Register of Historic Places, our entire downtown area was also given that designation. Many of the old buildings downtown still maintain the historical features that have been lost on other buildings.
Past Governors & More
Saint Peter has the distinction of being home to five past governors of the State of Minnesota and we are the county seat of Nicollet County. We are also home to the internationally renowned Gustavus Adolphus College and we have hosted the King of Sweden and his family as they visited the college on numerous occasions. Saint Peter is also the headquarters of the Alumacraft Boat Company, the Minnesota School Board Association, Scholarship America (formerly known as Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of America) and a state treatment facility.
Interesting Tidbits About Saint Peter
Jesse James and his gang spent the night in a Saint Peter hotel before they robbed the bank in Northfield; President Grover Cleveland gave a speech from the balcony of the Nicollet Hotel building at one time while he campaigned for president; and the founder of Saint Peter, Captain William Dodd along with his wife and young daughter, are buried behind one of the local churches.
Traverse des Sioux
Just north of Saint Peter is the site of the former Traverse des Sioux. Loosely translated this means "crossing of the Sioux". The town was located on the banks of the Minnesota River at a crossing place for the Dakota Indians. Following the Indian uprising in the 1800’s, when hundreds of settlers and Indians were killed, a peace treaty was signed near Traverse des Sioux and a marker is in place today commemorating that treaty. Although none of the buildings exist at the site of the old town, you can still see some building foundations and historical markers have been placed in the area. This area is also home to the Treaty Site History Center.
Saint Peter is also proud to host several large celebrations each year. On July 4th over 10,000 people visit town to take part in the Old Fashioned Independence Day celebration picnic, view the 2 hour parade, attend the drum and bugle corps event and watch the fireworks. In September the annual Rock Bend Folk Festival takes place in Minnesota Square Park and in October Gustavus hosts the world famous Nobel Conference. Students and dignitaries from all over the world come to participate in this week long event.
Although a dubious distinction, one "claim to fame" was the March 29, 1998 tornado which destroyed almost two-thirds of our community. We have fully recovered from the devastation of that afternoon and our community is better than ever.
This is just a little taste of Saint Peter and we invite you to visit soon. We’d love for you to see what we’ve done with the place!