About UsThe Rice Street Festival is the annual celebration of our community. We come together to celebrate our neighborhood, our history and our diversity. The first Rice Street Festival was held in 1910, and took place on a vacant piece of land just north of University Avenue. Through the years the festival has moved and changed to reflect our time, but always it is a time for us to come together and celebrate who we are today.
Rice Street is named for Henry M. Rice a fur trader and realtor. He was Minnesota’s first delegate from the Minnesota Territory to the United States Senate. Nearby Matilda Street is named for his wife. They are buried in Oakland Cemetery, Saint Paul’s first cemetery established on Jackson Street in the North End in 1853.
The North End has always welcomed immigrants since it was first settled in the mid to late 1800’s. In the 1880’s people came from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and Poland. They came to set up shops along Rice Street, and they came to worship. North Emanuel Lutheran church was established in 1891 for Swedish immigrants. Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church was incorporated in 1890 to minister to the German Catholics. In 1890 the area between Western and Jackson, Hatch and Maryland was known as Little Bavaria because of the many Austrian and German immigrants living there.
The railroad played a prominent role in establishing the neighborhood. Many of the original homes were built to house immigrants who worked in the railroad shops. Railroad magnate James J, Hill, who founded the Great Northern Railway, lived on Summit Avenue and traveled Rice Street to reach his farm in what is now North Oaks, where Rice Street ends.
Chinese immigrants came to work on the celery farms, including Linder’s, that provided celery for the many Chinese restaurants in the area. Later, around 1910 immigrants arrived from Romania and established businesses on the street. St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church was founded in 1914.
By the 1960’s Native Americans and Latinos had arrived. Today, the North End is home to a large number of Hmong families and people of African descent. Most recently the Karen and Karenni people from Burma have come to our community.
Information gathered from the Ramsey County Historical Society, from the book,”The Street Where You Live” by Donald Empson, and from people in the neighborhood.
|Rice Street Festival Royalty Director
|Rice Street Festival Parade Director