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Saint Paul was founded by bar owner Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant, a former fur trapper and bootlegger. The village that grew up around Parrant’s bar was also known as Pig’s Eye until, according to local lore, a Catholic priest named Lucien Galtier “converted” the town and renamed it Saint Paul.

In 1857, the Minnesota Territorial Council passed a bill that would have moved the capital from Saint Paul to Saint Peter. A legislator named Joe Rolette stole the bill’s text and went into hiding with it, preventing the move.