Skip to main content

No bluffing: St. Paul tearing down a pair of riverfront fixtures

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Some buildings that are literally a built-in part of downtown St. Paul are disappearing this summer.

The former Ramsey County jail and the old West Publishing building are being demolished.

The structures are built into the side of the Mississippi River bluff under a busy downtown street (Kellogg Blvd.) that's now being rebuilt. The property has been for sale but the county expects that once the unused buildings are demolished, private developers will take more of an interest in the riverfront real estate.

County officials provided a final tour of the old buildings on Friday. The Pioneer Press offers a gallery of images.

Ramsey County jail

MPR News notes that when the Adult Detention Center (aka jail) opened in 1979 its computerized locks and windows instead of bars were innovative for the time.

A former sheriff's deputy tells the radio network of the time when inmates tried to break a window in hopes of lowering themselves to the riverbank on tied-together sheets – only to be thwarted by shatter-resistant glass.

Correctional News observes that with its rooftop plantings and public plaza (right), the jail actually contributed to a downtown riverfront revival.

So by the time the county realized it needed a bigger jail, the site had become "one of the nation's most valuable pieces of riverfront real estate" and there was no interest in turning more of it over to inmates.

A new jail opened a couple of miles away in 2003.

West Publishing buildings

Since West Publishing was founded in St. Paul in 1872, it provided untold numbers of books to law school students and attorneys.

In more than a century of expansion on the river, it grew to include six adjacent buildings. The site was turned over to the county in 1991 when West moved to a campus in Eagan and was subsequently purchased by Thomson Reuters.

Thomson Reuters provided a series of photos from West Publishing's history at the St. Paul site. MPR has a gallery of them here.

Next Up

Carson McCoy

Charges: Man stole handgun from house, fired at motorcyclists from car

A chaotic scene that led to a police chase unfolded after an alleged burglary in Ham Lake.

Mounds view 7 - crime scene

BCA's Uniform Crime Report shows violent crime in MN spiked in 2021

The report details violent crime trends in the seven-county metro and Greater Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 4.49.22 PM

Search for vulnerable man, 66, missing from Brooklyn Park

Alex Ramirez was last seen in the early hours of Thursday morning.

St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times writing staff hit by Gannett budget cuts

Mass layoffs were expected at Gannett-owned outlets across the country.

PoolScammerLawsuitAG

Pool company sued by AG for allegedly scamming homeowners out of $1M-plus

According to the lawsuit, 17 Minnesota homeowners were affected by this scam.

image

Late cancellation of music festival leaves bad blood in Two Harbors

The cancellation announcement says the promoter walked away from the gig after being harassed by some local residents.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 1.58.08 PM

Fatal crash shuts down southbound I-35 north of Twin Cities

A massive backup has built in wake of the fatal crash.

Christopher Keyes

Prolific speeder charged in crash that killed woman, 75, in Plymouth

The man has seven speeding tickets dating back to 2019.

minneapolis police

Hunt for suspect who broke into apartment, fatally stabbed man

The homicide is the 57th to happen this year in the city.

Related