Saint Paul’s status as the hub of transportation, goods and services for America’s Great Northwest was tied to the advent of railroads here. For more than 100 years, countless Frogtown residents provided the labor that kept railroads operating.
Today’s Great Northern Business Parks, Empire Builder Business Park and the Minnesota Transportation Museum are the remnants of what was once a vast area of rail and roundhouse facilities, a foundry and suppliers for the railroads. The promise of jobs for the railroads was a key to growth and development for both Frogtown and the North End. The promise of work led to housing development and new residents, which in turn led to decisions to build neighborhood churches and schools and extend the street grid. The presence of railroads also played a role in expansion of city utilities and the streetcar system.