West Seventh includes some of the oldest buildings in the city as well as some of the newest. Once an important industrial district and transportation hub, it is now largely residential and commercial. Its population has declined and evolved from the early twentieth century but remains home to a mixture of middle and working class households.
The West 7th Neighborhood stretches southwest of Downtown St. Paul, bordered by I-35E, the Mississippi River, and Eagle Street - with the additions of Kipp’s Glen and Upper Irvine Avenue beyond.
Compare West 7th today with 1891 using this interactive map. Take a peek into the past of the West 7th neighborhood. This interactive map allows you to directly compare the streets of 1891 to present day satellite imagery. Explore, and see the transformations 125+ years have brought to West 7th.
Tour Maps - The tour takes explorers on a circuitous journey through the streets of the neighborhood, revealing the Federation's impact on the landscape over the past 40 years. The Federation and Macalester College Geography Department developed these self-guided tours.
What's Unique about West 7th
West 7th is both the oldest commercial corridor in the state and home to St. Paul’s entertainment district. New and long-time residents describe it as vibrant, small town, eclectic.
Small, independent businesses line West 7th Street, with an emphasis on great food. Craft breweries large and small are in West 7th, from Summit Brewing Co., to Vine Park Brewing, the first Hmong owned brewery in the US.
- About 11,000 people call West 7th home, about 50/50 homeowner / renter, 72/28 white / BiPOC, with a median household income of $57,700.
- Explore this demographic atlas of the neighborhood from 1950-2010 by Macalester College intern Gabrielle Anderson.
History of West 7th
"The confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, Bdote, held special significance as a spiritual home for the Dakota. However, no archeology or oral history places native villages, lodges or hunting sites in the West End itself. The land was marshy, there was little access from the river due to the bluffs, and early peoples found settlement sites down river toward St. Paul and the lakes of Minneapolis.
As a U.S. Army Lieutenant, Zebulon Pike explored the Mississippi River and established relations with native Dakota, French and Métis traders. When he arrived at Bdote, he negotiated an unauthorized treaty with the Dakota for 100,000 acres including what was to become the West End of St. Paul, as well as 51,000 acres at the St. Croix River. Of the seven Indian leaders present at the negotiations, none could read English and were uncertain of the terms. Only two signed the treaty. Pike valued the land at $200,000, but no specific dollar amount was written in the treaty. The U.S. Senate approved the treaty, agreeing to pay only $2,000 for the land. With the treaty, the U.S. took the right to use much of what is now St. Paul and Minneapolis, including the West End, as a future military “reservation” in the heart of Dakota territory.
Between the fort and the emerging city of St. Paul (incorporated in 1854) stretched the Reserve Township that became the West End—a plateau of limestone, wetlands and marshes above the bluffs of the river. The area was unincorporated and reserved for the fort’s use until 1858. The Reserve’s settlers cut trees beyond Randolph known as the “Big Woods,” drained marshes and developed farmland and gardens along “Fort Road.” In 1862, the State Legislature added the “West End” as the city’s fourth ward, and what became our state’s first neighborhood commercial district." - From the 2019 West End Neighbors' Garden and History Tour
Explore the History and Evolution of West 7th Street
Take a peek into the past of the West 7th neighborhood. This interactive map allows you to directly compare the streets of 1891 to present day satellite imagery. Explore, and see the transformations 125+ years have brought to West 7th.