St. Peter, Minnesota

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St. Peter
Downtown St. Peter
Downtown St. Peter
"Where History & Progress Meet"
Location of the city of St. Peter within Nicollet County in the state of Minnesota
Location of the city of St. Peter
within Nicollet County
in the state of Minnesota
Coordinates: 44°20′00″N 93°58′00″W / 44.33333°N 93.96667°W / 44.33333; -93.96667
CountryUnited States
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorShanon Nowell
 • Total6.24 sq mi (16.16 km2)
 • Land6.06 sq mi (15.70 km2)
 • Water0.17 sq mi (0.45 km2)
768 ft (234 m)
 • Total12,066
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,900/sq mi (750/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)507
FIPS code27-58036
GNIS feature ID0651004[4]

St. Peter is a city in Nicollet County, Minnesota, United States. It is 10 miles north of the Mankato – North Mankato metropolitan area. The population was 12,066 at the 2020 census.[2] St. Peter is the county seat of Nicollet County[5] and home to Gustavus Adolphus College.

U.S. Highway 169 and Minnesota State Highways 22 and 99 are three of the city's main routes.

St. Peter's sister city is Petatlán, Guerrero, Mexico.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 6.24 square miles (16.16 km2), of which 6.06 square miles (15.70 km2) is land and 0.17 square miles (0.44 km2) is water.[6]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2021 (est.)11,707[3]−3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2020 Census[2]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census of 2010,[8] there were 11,196 people, 3,491 households, and 2,150 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,002.9 inhabitants per square mile (773.3/km2). There were 3,697 housing units at an average density of 661.4 per square mile (255.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.1% White, 3.3% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 2.3% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.

There were 3,491 households, of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.4% were non-families. 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99.

The median age in the city was 27.5 years. 19.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 27.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22% were from 25 to 44; 19.9% were from 45 to 64; and 11.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,747 people, 2,978 households, and 1,843 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,797.3 people per square mile (694.3/km2). There were 3,129 housing units at an average density of 577.0 per square mile (222.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.17% White, 1.57% African American, 0.43% Native American, 1.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.25% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.04% of the population.

There were 2,978 households, out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 19.8% under the age of 18, 30.6% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 16.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,344, and the median income for a family was $51,157. Males had a median income of $33,618 versus $25,789 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,634. About 4.2% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.


St. Peter was founded in 1853 by Captain William Bigelow Dodd, who claimed 150 acres (0.61 km2) north of what is now Broadway Avenue. He named the new settlement Rock Bend because of the rock formation at the bend of the Minnesota River. Daniel L. Turpin platted and surveyed the town site in 1854. In 1855, a group of St. Paul businessmen interested in promoting the town formed the Saint Peter Company, and the town was renamed St. Peter. The president of the company was Willis A. Gorman, Territorial Governor of Minnesota. Many of St. Peter's streets were named after streets in New York City, including Park Row, Chatham, Broadway, Nassau, and Union. Dodd was originally from Bloomfield, New Jersey. His second wife, Harriett Newell Jones, a native of Cabot, Vermont, was living in New York at the time of their marriage at the Church of the Holy Communion in New York City, which helped fund the church in St. Peter that shares its name.

The Broadway Bridge connects St. Peter to the east via Minnesota State Highway 99

In 1857, an attempt was made to move the Territory of Minnesota's capital from St. Paul to St. Peter. Gorman owned the land on which the bill's sponsors wanted to build the new capitol building, and at one point had been heard saying, "If the capitol remains in Saint Paul, the territory is worth millions, and I have nothing." At the time, St. Peter, in the territory's central region, was seen as more accessible to far-flung territorial legislators than St. Paul, which was in the extreme east of the territory, on the east bank of the Mississippi River. A bill passed both houses of the Territorial Legislature and was awaiting Gorman's signature. The chairman of the Territorial Council's Enrolled Bills Committee, Joseph J. Rolette of Pembina, took the bill and hid in a St. Paul hotel, drinking and playing cards with some friends as the city police looked fruitlessly for him, until the end of the legislative session, too late for the bill to be signed.[citation needed] Rolette came into the chamber just as the session ended. Today, St. Paul is the state's second-largest city (after neighboring Minneapolis), while St. Peter is a relatively small rural town.

The Church of the Holy Communion is one of several St. Peter structures on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1851 the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was signed between the Sioux (Dakota) and the U.S. Government one mile (1.6 km) north of St. Peter. The Nicollet County Historical Society-Treaty Site History Center is near the site of the signing. But the treaty's promises were not kept. The Dakota became angered and the Dakota War of 1862 began in Cottonwood County. In August 1862 the Dakota attacked the German settlement of New Ulm. A company of volunteers from St. Peter, headed by Dodd, St. Peter's founder, went to New Ulm's defense. Dodd was killed on August 23, 1862, and briefly buried in New Ulm. On November 11, 1862, Dodd was buried with high military honors in St. Peter on the grounds of the Church of the Holy Communion, Episcopal, on land he donated to the church. Dodd, his wife Harriet and two children are buried behind the present stone church built in 1869–70 at 118 North Minnesota Avenue.

In 1866, the legislature established the first "Minnesota Asylum for the Insane" in St. Peter. It was later known as the St. Peter State Hospital, and is now called the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center.

On July 1, 1892, the Sontag Brothers, John Sontag and George Contant, and their partner, Chris Evans, tried to rob a train between St. Peter and Kasota along the Minnesota River. The bandits acquired nothing of value, but their activities came under the review of Pinkerton detectives, and both were apprehended in June 1893 in what is called the Battle of Stone Corral in California.[9]


St. Peter is known as the home of five governors:

The John A. Johnson House is listed on the NRHP.

The best-known of these, Johnson, was born in St. Peter to Swedish-born parents on July 28, 1861. Because of family circumstances, he offered to help his mother raise the family. He left school at a young age and held a variety of jobs. In 1887, he was hired as editor of the St. Peter Herald, the local newspaper. In 1899, he was elected to the State Senate, and served until 1903. In 1904, he was elected Minnesota's 16th governor. He was reelected in 1906 and 1908. He was considered as a possible candidate in the 1912 presidential election, but died as the result of an operation for intestinal adhesions in Rochester, Minnesota, on September 21, 1909. Drs. William James Mayo and Charles Horace Mayo, who came from Le Sueur and were friends with Johnson, performed the operation. After lying in state in the Capitol rotunda, his body was taken to St. Peter for burial. The funeral, held at Union Presbyterian Church, was St. Peter's largest ever, and he was buried near his parents in Greenhill Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Elinore "Nora" Preston Johnson.



On March 29, 1998, a tornado struck St. Peter, killing six-year-old Dustin Schneider, injuring dozens more, and damaging much of the town's housing, commercial, and civic buildings. The tornado destroyed 156 single-family houses and 51 apartment units. An additional 362 houses and apartments suffered serious damage and 1,383 houses or apartments had minor damage. The town's three trailer parks were largely spared with no mobile homes destroyed and just two seriously damaged. Major losses included the Old Central School, St. Peter Arts and Heritage Center, St. Peter's Catholic Church, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Johnson Hall at Gustavus Adolphus College.


  • Bethany Alliance Church (Christian & Missionary Alliance) Established in 1961, Present church built in 1965, Church renamed Living Truth Fellowship in 2015.
  • Calvary Baptist Church Established in 1963, Present Church built in 1977
  • Church of St. Peter (Roman Catholic) Established in 1856, Present church built in 2001
  • Church of the Holy Communion (Episcopal) Established in 1854 Present church built in 1869-1870
  • First Lutheran Church (ELCA) Established in 1857 Present Church built in 1965
  • Good Samaritan United Methodist Church Established in 2010, no church at present time
  • Sunrise Assembly of God Established in 1934, present church built in 1988
  • St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (WELS) Established in 1867, Present church built in 1999
  • River of Life Lutheran Church (LCMS) Established in 2013 by Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Mankato, has been a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod since 2016.
  • Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA) Established in 1892, Present church built in 1988
  • Union Presbyterian Church Established in 1869 as a result of the union of two congregations, the First Free Presbyterian Church of Traverse des Sioux Established in 1853, and the First Presbyterian Church of St. Peter Established in 1857. The present church was built in 1871.
  • Christ Chapel (ELCA) Built from 1959-1961, inaugurated in 1962. On the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.


The Old Main building at Gustavus Adolphus College

St. Peter is the home of Gustavus Adolphus College, a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and founded in 1862. The public high school is St. Peter High School. There are two parochial schools in St. Peter: John Ireland Catholic School (K-6), which is associated with the Church of St. Peter, and St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran School (K-8), which along with the church is associated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Veritas et Lux Preparatory School is a private non-denominational (K-12) school.

The first class graduated from St. Peter High School in 1880. The first superintendent of St. Peter Public Schools was Andrew Ryan McGill, who served from 1865 to 1868. McGill was Minnesota's 10th governor from 1887 to 1889.

Scholarship America is based in St. Peter.


Community health care is provided by St. Peter Community Hospital. In 2009 St. Peter Community Hospital was renamed River's Edge Hospital. That same year the construction of a new clinic was begun adjoining the hospital. There is now the River's Edge Clinic and the St. Peter Community Clinic, part of the Mayo Health System.

St. Peter is home to the Minnesota Security Hospital, where those the state declares mentally ill and dangerous are committed.

Benedictine Health Care Center, formerly known as St. Peter Community Health Care Center, is part of the River's Edge Hospital complex. Near the hospital Pheasants' Ridge is an assisted living facility that has a section for patients suffering from memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Other health care facilities in St. Peter include Grandview Good Samaritan Center on Sunrise Drive.

River Valley Birth Center opened in St. Peter in the summer of 2014. It is the region's first free-standing birth center.


St. Peter
Crime rates* (2020)
Violent crimes
Aggravated assault7
Total violent crime13
Property crimes
Motor vehicle theft3
Total property crime116

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: FBI Crime Data Explorer 2020
Type 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Murders 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Rapes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 5 3 8 1 7 5 6
Robberies 1 3 1 2 0 2 3 2 0 1 2 2 2 0
Assaults 12 12 15 13 11 7 7 14 6 10 7 6 7 10
Burglaries 59 41 39 50 28 35 28 36 33 26 20 12 14 13
Thefts 268 296 244 237 215 233 225 191 140 143 129 128 131 112
Auto Thefts 9 13 10 2 5 12 2 10 6 6 8 9 7 3
Arson 3 4 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 0
Crime index 240.3 242.5 216.9 230.0 184.0 194.4 182.6 177.0 121.6 143.3 85.0 119.5 106.4 103.3




The following routes are within St. Peter:

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Explore Census Data File". Explore Census Data. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2021". United States Census Bureau. June 19, 2022. Retrieved June 19, 2022.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  7. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  8. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  9. ^ "The Sontag Brothers: Southern Minnesota's Own Train Robbers". Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  10. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°20′00″N 93°58′00″W / 44.333333°N 93.966666°W / 44.333333; -93.966666